INTRODUCTION:

When it comes to empowering women, India has more and more done a lot to bring in gender parity. After opening up of the Indian economy nearly three decades ago and the establishment of several corporates in India, it has given varied opportunities to the women. India possesses almost one-fifth of the total population of the world. Unfortunately, India continues to be one of the most patriarchal societies in the world. Although the things have improved significantly within the past twenty years, loads have to be done. As per the most recent Corporate Gender Gap report, India, in distinction to a number of the countries within the west remains one with all-time low share of women employees. The lower percentage of women indicates that there is an urgent need of women empowerment in India with a holistic approach in areas of social, political, economic and health. For a much better and brighter tomorrow equal and full participation of each men and women square measure needed. Sense of shared responsibility for each productive and generative life is what it’s needed in not just for the upkeep of the social unit however society at giant. So empowering women is important for discrimination and prejudice free yet as spiritually and materialistically flourishing society. While there are several NGO’s and self-help groups that are working in the direction of women empowerment and are bringing real change, corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities have also turned out to be very productive for the social welfare including areas relating to the upliftment of women. Recently, the Indian Parliament made CSR as statuary compliance on the part of the corporates.

The term corporate social responsibility (CSR) describes / elucidates the business which has an obligation to society that extends beyond its obligation towards its shareholders or owners. The philosophy is essentially to provide back to the society, what it’s taken from it; throughout profit-maximization and wealth creation it might take the shape of community relationship, volunteer’s help programmes, health care initiatives, education coaching programme and scholarship, preservation of cultural heritage and surroundings etc. CSR also called as CR or corporate citizenship and responsible business CSR is a concept whereby we can consider the interest of society by taking responsibility of the impact for their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities, and other stakeholders and the environment.

Women’s empowerment has to be a core part of any development strategy as, apart from being denied equal status; women bear the brunt of poverty in poor societies. In many, if not most rural poor families in India, women do more physical labor than men, eat less, have less access to health and education facilities, get less wages, and bear the major part of the responsibility of bringing up children and looking after the family. This enormous contribution goes largely unrecognized. Women are even denied a task in household decision-making. Empowering women is thus clearly a basic human rights issue. It is also an issue linked closely to reducing poverty. There is a large body of evidence to show that empowerment of women leads to better progress in poverty reduction.

In developing countries like India, CSR for number of companies has revolved around community-based development approach. Many have actively worked towards the economic and social empowerment of women. Some of them have promoted the formation of self-help groups which were supported to take up income generating livelihood activities after sufficient training and capacity building.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

The history of CSR in India has its four phases which run parallel to India’s historical development and has resulted in different approaches towards CSR. However the phases are not static and the features of each phase may overlap other phases. In the first phase charity and philanthropy were the main drivers of CSR. Culture, religion, family values and tradition and industrialization had an influential effect on CSR. In the preindustrialization period which lasted till 1850, wealthy merchants shared a part of their wealth with the wider society by way of setting up temples for a religious cause. In the second phase, during the independence movement, there was increased stress on Indian Industrialists to demonstrate their dedication towards the progress of the society. This was when Mahatma Gandhi introduced the notion of “trusteeship”, according to which the industry leaders had to manage their wealth so as to benefit the common man. The third phase of CSR (1960–80) had its relation to the element of “mixed economy”, emergence of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and laws relating labour and environmental standards. During this period the private sector was forced to take a backseat. The public sector was seen as the prime mover of development.

In the fourth phase (1980) until the present) Indian companies started abandoning their traditional engagement with CSR and integrated it into a sustainable business strategy. In 1990s the first initiation towards globalization and economic liberalization were undertaken. Controls and licensing system were partly done away with which gave a boost to the economy the signs of which are very evident today.

The Companies Act, 2013, signals the start of a new chapter in the history of CSR in India. It is hoped that effective implementation of this Act will enable a number of companies to work towards CSR, with long-term goals. Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, is a landmark provision in defining the sphere of activities that corporates should focus upon to identify, partner and execute CSR projects, creating a visible impact on the lives of millions of people.

EXISTING CSR INITIATIVES BY CORPORATE INDIA TOWARDS WOMEN EMPOWERMENT:

Majority of the business houses in the sample had spent some of the allocated CSR budgets towards improving the welfare of women, though the thrust varied with few having a major emphasis, while, for many, it was one among the many areas of intervention. Some of the corporate houses emphasised on education (for example P&G was committed towards improving the facilities with regard to education through its project ‘Shiksha’ which had a special emphasis on the education of the girl child), environment (PepsiCo had its attention on water replenishment) and health (RIL).

Empowering women and encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit was a vital aspect of CSR for business houses like the Tatas, HUL, Vedanta, Hindalco, Jindals and many others. The interventions were mostly carried out in the surrounding areas of the main operational regions, particularly in villages situated closer to the factory location. In the case of Jindal Steel, the CSR activities was concentrated around Hisar (Haryana), Jajpur (Odisha), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), and Gurgaon in the National Capital Region. The direct interventions were carried out either by in-house CSR specialist teams, or by professional CSR teams. Partnerships had also been made with non-profit organizations and specialised agencies in some cases. Some of the companies like Tata steel, over the last 15 years had supported the formation of more than 500 rural enterprises in agriculture, poultry, livestock and community entrepreneurship. It continued to work untiringly towards furthering empowerment by facilitating the formation of around 200 women SHGs every year, who were encouraged to venture in to income generating activities. Tata Steel also held regular competitions for identifying women leaders who could be role models through its programme ‘Tejaswini’. The Kamalnayan Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation (KJBF) founded by the Bajaj family states its mission is to “empower the rural community for efficient and judicious use of human and natural resources. It is actively involved in sustainable agricultural development in about 200 villages of Wardha district where the farming community has been motivated to adopt integrated farming practices.

STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND THEIR CURRENT POSITION:

The Government of Asian nation has declared 2001 as Women’s authorization year. The national policy of authorization of women has set bound clear-cut goals and objectives. The policy aims at upliftment, development and authorization in socio-economic and politico– cultural aspects, by making in them awareness on varied problems in relevancy their authorization. The subsequent square measures the particular objectives of National Policies notably of rural people on authorization of ladies;

i. Making Associate in nursing atmosphere through positive economic and social policies for full development of ladies to alter them to understand their full potential.

ii. The de-jure and de-facto enjoyments of all human rights and elementary freedom by girls on equal basis with men all told political, economic, social, cultural and civil spheres.

iii. Equal access to participation and deciding of ladies in social political and economic lifetime of the state.

iv. Equal access to girls to health care, quality education in the slightest degree levels, career and business steerage, employment, equal remuneration, activity health and safety, social insurance and public life etc.,

v. Strengthening legal systems geared toward elimination of all types of discrimination against girls.

vi. Ever-changing social attitudes and community practices by active participation and involvement of each men and girls.

vii. Attending a gender perspective within the development method.

viii. Elimination of discrimination and every one types of violence against girls and also the woman kid.

The main objective is building and strengthening partnerships with civil society, notably women’s organizations. The National policy for authorization of ladies envisaged introduction of a gender perspective within the budgeting method as Associate in nursing operational strategy. Many laws and legislations square measure enforced strictly for effective and correct implementation of this policy. Despite some recent positive momentum, the pace of progress in realizing women’s safety, protection and direction has not been adequate. This is often mirrored within the National Crime Records Bureau information, that highlighted that three, 09,546 incidents of crime against girls (both beneath Indian legal code and different laws) were rumored throughout the year 2013, as against the 2, 44,270 cases rumored throughout 2012, showing a rise of twenty six.7% (despite the actual fact that not all crimes against girls area unit reported). The policy commitment to making sure the security, security and dignity of girls NAVDISHA- National Thematic Workshop on Best Practices for girls and kid Development 20-21 January 2015 pitched battle, Haryana unionized by Ministry of girls and kid Development Government of Bharat and Government of Haryana.

Ministry of ladies and kid Development and girls publically and personal areas was reaffirmed – together with through the Twelfth arrange provisions, the legal code (Amendment) Act, 2013 and therefore the harassment of girls at geographic point (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013.

Ensuring women’s social, economic and political direction, fulfillment of their rights, promoting their participation and leadership needs comprehensive gender-responsive measures at totally different levels, together with through legal, policy and institutional frameworks. The 73rd Constitutional change Act has given a replacement dimension to the method of women’s direction, with girl’s panchayat members rising in several settings as amendment leaders. Currently increasingly, many countries area units earmarking five hundredth reservations for girls in panchayati dominion establishments. A serious thrust for economic direction has been through the formation of thrift and credit primarily based assistance teams (SHGs) shaped by girls – with states like state demonstrating effective ways that of creating this a mass movement, SHGs within the National Rural bread and butter Mission and in MGNREGA with women having a share of one hundred fifteen. 54 (53%) large integer person days in 2013-14 are positive developments. In linkages between SHGs and Micro-finance establishments like RMK, NABARD, and SIDBI besides personal microfinance establishments have helped in generating extra financial gain, jobs and in making little enterprises for girls.

LEGAL ASPECTS:

• The Constitution of India guarantees to all Indian women- Equality (Article 14),

• No discrimination by the State (Article 15(1), Equality of opportunity (Article 16),

• Equal pay for equal work (Article 39(d)).

• Special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women and children (Article 15(3)), Renounces practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e),

• Provisions to be made by the State for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. (Article 42).

LANDMARK CASES:

In the land mark case of C.B. Muthamma v. Union of Asian country (1979), an official document petition was filed by Ms Muthamma, a senior member of the Indian bureau, complaintive that she had been denied promotion to Grade I illicitly and unconstitutionally. She realized that many rules of the government officials were discriminatory against girls. At the terribly threshold she was suggested by the Chairman of the UPSC against connection the bureau. At the time of connection she was needed to offer an endeavor that if she married she would resign from service. Below Rule eighteen of the Indian bureau (Recruitment, Cadre, Seniority and Promotion) Rules, 1961, it absolutely was only if no married person shall be entitled as of right to be appointed to the service. Rule 8(2) of the Indian bureau (Conduct and Discipline) Rules, 1961, a lady member of the service was needed to get permission of the govt. in writing before her wedding was solemnized. At any time when the wedding she can be needed to resign if the government was confirmed that her family and domestic commitments were possible to return within the method of the due and economical discharge of her duties as a member of the service. On various occasions the petitioner had to face the results of being a lady and therefore suffered discrimination, tho’ the Constitution specifically below Article fifteen prohibits discrimination on grounds of faith, race, caste, sex or place of birth and Article four provides the principle of equality before law.

CSR and Women Empowerment in India

In another case Madhu Kishwar v. State of Bihar, the Supreme Court treated the validity of the Chotanagpur residence Act, 1908 of province that denied the correct of succession to scheduled Tribe girls as offensive of the correct to resource. The bulk judgment but upheld the validity of legislation on the bottom of custom of inheritance/succession of scheduled Tribes. Dissident with the bulk, Justice K. Ramaswamy felt that the law created a gender- based discrimination which it profaned Articles fifteen, sixteen and twenty one of the Constitution. In his dissident judgment he said: “Legislative and government actions should be conformable to and for feat of the elemental rights secure partially III, Directive Principles enshrined partially IV and therefore the Preamble of the Constitution that represent the conscience of the Constitution. Covenants of the global organization add impetus and urgency to eliminate gender-based obstacles and discrimination. Legislative action ought to be devised befittingly to represent economic direction of girls in socio-economic reconstitute for establishing egalitarian social order.” Gender equality becomes elusive within the absence of right to measure with dignity. Article 21 of life and private liberty and “no person shall be deprive of his life or personal liberty except in line with procedure established by law. Denial of right of succession to girls of scheduled Tribes amounts to deprivation of their right to resource below article 21.

CONCLUSION:

Corporate responsibility involves a commitment by a company to manage its role in society – as producer, employer, marketer, customer and citizen – in a responsible and sustainable manner. The objective of CSR activities is not only to have brand recognition but to mark an impact in the society. The success of any strategy of women empowerment depends upon the various factors:

  •  Education
  •  Upgrading social custom
  •  Family planning
  •  Health and sanitation
  •  Initiating livelihood
  •  Environment, tree growing, kitchen gardening.
  • Collective strategies by the organizations and various NGO’s at the ground level is required to be build which is beyond micro-credit to increase the endowments of the women, enhance their exchange outcomes vis-à-vis the family, markets, state and community, and socio-cultural and political spaces that are required for both poverty
    reduction and women empowerment.

We are living in the 21st century and still, we can witness deep-rooted gender inequalities in societies across the world. These gender inequalities have resulted in lack of access to work and occupation, education and health to women. Consequently, women are underrepresented in almost every sphere including political and economic decision making. Very often, gender inequalities even take the shape of extreme situations where women become victims of violence and discrimination.

Empowering the women is a way to unleash the true spirit of shared responsibility where women and men can live in the society as partners in the complete absence of prejudice, bias and discrimination. This would help in fostering the process of achieving the future we want. In India, CSR can prove to be a catalyst in the process of holistic empowering of Indian women. At present, the Indian economy is growing with a rapid stage and the private sector is flourishing. Hence, corporates have an important role play in the area of women empowerment in India.

At this juncture, empowerment and autonomy of women and the importance of uplifting their political, social, economic and health status cannot be undermined. The governments need to integrate policies that will improve the access of women to secure livelihoods and economic resources. The authorities must remove legal impediments for the participation of women in public life. The significance of raising social awareness through effective programs of education and mass communication must be realized at all levels to bridge the gap in the long run.

SUGGESTIONS:

1. Corporate social responsibility is more than a topic to discuss about it is changing fate and face of society but it should be adopted by all the business houses voluntarily.

2. Country like India should specially advocate for corporate social responsibility as it can be possible remedies for many issues like illiteracy, poverty, child labour, unemployment and rural development.

3. Women related issues need important attention from government, society and especially from corporate sector.

4. Corporate can provide finance to overcome some unsolved issues if properly utilized.

5. India is developing in all possible areas but there are certain areas where development is almost stagnant gender discrimination is one of them.

6. Corporate can definitely empower women right from encouraging them to get education till getting respectable livelihood to become productive citizens.

7. Women related issues at work like sexual harassment though comes under legal framework but it can be stopped by corporate if internal control within organization gives due importance to women related rules.

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