Bihar, with its 105 million population is slowly but surely emerging to be a strong developmental partner in keeping with India’s emerging image as one of the strong economic power in the 21st century. The challenges of development in Bihar are enormous due to neglect which has resulted in persistent poverty, lack of infrastructure and weak governance structures. No doubt, strong and serious efforts have been initiated in the recent years for a resurgent Bihar with renewed focus on improved law and order, improved physical infrastructure and improved governance. However, it is evident from recent data that the state is still lagging behind on key social indicators; the current situation of women and girls is marked by poor literacy levels, low enrolment rates in school, high drop outs from school; poor health and nutrition status, reflected in poor access to and use of quality health and nutrition services and inadequate information during all phases of life; high fertility in general-poor access to services/options, reflected in low contraceptive prevalence and high unmet need in the state; high incidence of physical and sexual violence against women and poor recourse to remedial measures by them-including widespread use of sex selective practices and imbalanced sex ratio, weak decision-making role at family level and non-availability or poor access to credit. The above analysis recognizes that these indicators not only adversely affect the women’s overall quality of life but also hinders the overall development of the individual, society, state and nation.
In this backdrop, priority action has been warranted towards inclusive growth and development including understanding the situation faced by women and girls in Bihar. Addressing these inequalities and challenges is the prime concern of the state in its efforts to create an equal and gender just society where all are equally assured of their fundamental rights. Undoing the suppression of centuries, the state has adopted a positively discriminatory stance towards girls and women by providing them equal opportunities, safe spaces and creating a favourable environment where they can develop to the fullest potential. The state is also currently in the state of developing and implementing many women empowerment programmes and schemes for achieving improved and gender equal status in the state. However, one of the institutional mechanisms desired to take proactive steps to address this area of concern is the creation of Gender Resource Centre at state level which is expected to take care of all dimensions related to women empowerment in a holistic manner.
Gender Resource Centre is an initiative aimed to provide technical support to the existing women empowerment programmes and schemes being implemented in the state through collaboration and coordination with various nodal departments.
Gender Resource Centre-state is envisaged to provide technical support specifically in the areas of advocacy, innovative research and studies, creation of data base, communications-IEC/BCC, creation of training pool and acting as a training and capacity building resource; provide technical know-how in terms of that will support implementation process, enable effective monitoring and evaluation systems, support and building up on these experiences and will work in close coordination with various Government Departments, NGOs, Academic Institutions and international agencies working on similar issues. It will provide resource support for engaging with various stakeholders to promote women empowerment schemes in the state and enhance reach and access of women and girls to such schemes.
GRC will co-ordinate the efforts of different sections of society and the government to make a noticeable difference to women’s lives in the state and to serve as a nodal agency for all gender related initiatives in the state. GRC will attempt to develop and make available the resources at a single place to share them across organizations in order to make their efforts in the sector more streamlined, efficient and effective. GRC would aims to sensitize and facilitate Government Departments, NGOs, Academic Institutions, International agencies and Independent experts in planning, implementing and evaluating gender sensitive programs, policies, laws and schemes.
The GRC would undertake research, impact assessment studies of policies, programmes and schemes of the Government, and liaise with existing structures/institution relating to women’s empowerment. The GRC would also device media strategies to highlight the programmes and schemes of the Government as well as awareness generation programmes to focus on retrograde social practices affecting the society. It will assist the Women & Child Development Corporation and work in synergy with concerned department in planning, implementing, monitoring and reviewing the programmes relating to women’s empowerment.
With the context and background cited above, Gender Resource Centre will function with the following objectives-
GRC will have the following roles and functions in collaborating and coordinating with departments on the action plan-