NEW DELHI: The Covid-19 pandemic seems to be proving difficult particularly for women in India as the latest report by the National Commission for Women (NCW), confirming the early indications, shows that it recorded over 25 per cent complaints by aggrieved women as compared to the previous year.
In 2020-21, the commission received 26,513 complaints from women, marking a sharp rise from the 20,309 complaints registered in 2019-20, which means an increase of 25.09 per cent in the complaints, a recently compiled report by the NCW shows. The maximum number of complaints received by the NCW was registered as a violation of the right to live with dignity and in 2020-21 8,688 women approached the Commission saying that this right was violated.
There was also a steep rise in the cases of domestic violence and 6,049 women, nearly double than the previous year, recorded their complaints with the commission in 2020-21. Other categories that saw a worrying rise against women included cybercrime and harassment due to dowry.
Women activists have said the Covid-induced lockdowns, that saw men staying at home for longer hours, and financial volatility that families have undergone due to worsening of the economic situation may have a major role to play in increasing violence against women.
Chairperson of the NCW Rekha Sharma said while there had been a worrying rise in crimes against women, she also pointed out that the panel had made it easier for women to reach out and complain.
“At one point during the lockdown, our team was working in three shifts to record and address the complaints of aggrieved women,” she told The New Indian Express. Sharma also assured that through a real-time dashboard, the women’s rights body has kept a track of each of the complaints and has been taking up suitable follow-up action in all the cases.
A parliamentary panel, led by Congress MP Anand Sharma, in its report tabled in March, had recommended that cash transfers and a moratorium on loan repayments be continued to empower women.
“The committee notes that there was a sudden spurt in domestic violence and trafficking of women and children during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic outbreak,” said the report adding that this was mainly due to disruption in economic activities, work from home and family spending more time at home during lockdowns.