Arunachal unsafe for women, lowest in Gender Vulnerability Index

[Nellie N Manpoong]

ITANAGAR, Nov 3: A report released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on Wednesday revealed that Arunachal Pradesh ranks the lowest among North East states in the first-ever Gender Vulnerability Index (GVI) of the country, and sits at the bottom pile.
The findings of the GVI are expected to help identify the challenges women face with respect to four parameters – education, health, poverty and protection against violence – and assist policy makers mark out priorities.
In a list of all 30 Indian states, Arunachal stands at a poor rank of 26th in the GVI, placed slightly ahead of states like Bihar and Delhi, which are known to make headlines for atrocities against women and children.
Goa and Kerela are the top two in the GVI, with North Eastern states of Mizoram, Sikkim and Manipur following right behind and setting an example with their health benefits and education system.
Nagaland and Tripura sit somewhere in between, while the states of Meghalaya and Assam are also in the last 10 slot along with Arunachal.
Speaking to the Arunachal Times, Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women Chairperson, Mitali Tingkhatra said that Arunachal’s rank could be attributed to the low literacy rate of women, and the customary practices which are mostly male-dominated.
“Women are yet to get equal property rights in the state”, she said.
She also attributed poor health care of women as one of the reasons.
“The state government can take a cue from other states, like Sikkim and provide better health facilities to women if they want the condition of women to improve in the true sense.”
Under the GVI, Arunachal is also one the worst five performers in the education sector as has been seen in the recent past, and is categorised to be one of the least safe places in the country, along with Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Bihar.
Sharing her inputs on ways to improve the situation, independent filmmaker and musician, Karry Padu said that it was necessary to involve women in the process of decision making, whether in politics or community organisations as equals, instead of creating different sections or wings to accommodate them merely for the sake of it.
“Involving women in the true sense can give the state a very different perspective of how a woman, as creator of another human being, views a certain situation”, she adds.
The findings of the report reflect how women-friendly the states across the country are and hopefully serve as a way to examine and identify parameters that aid in making the country safer and women-friendly.
This index is expected to be useful in understanding the situation in states, as it ranks each state in every dimension of gender vulnerability. The index scores are determined on a scale of zero to one, and the performance is better when the score is nearer to one.
The state government has been making strong attempts to showcase Arunachal as a tourist hotspot, but the GVI in the long run could also determine whether tourists would prefer visiting states which are ranked low and consequently be a threat for them during visits.