Young wives in Kerala look to women’s panel for support, but its condition equally fragile

The quasi-judicial body was formed in 1996 with the sole objective of addressing the issues faced by women in society.

Published: 24th June 2021 06:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2021 06:34 AM   |  A+A-

domestic violence

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The dowry-related deaths have brought to the fore not just the plight of women in the state but also the sorry state of affairs of the Kerala Women’s Commission (KWC). In the last four years, more than 22,000 cases of various nature were registered with the commission but only 46% of them reached a logical end. As many as 169 of them were dowry-related cases, but half of them are pending.

The quasi-judicial body was formed in 1996 with the sole objective of addressing the issues faced by women in society. However, the recent deaths of young housewives following domestic violence, patriarchy and dowry torture, have raised question marks about the panel’s functioning and efficiency.
KWC’s former chairperson KC Rosakutty said the commission should increase its outreach by collaborating with various government and non-governmental agencies to empower women, especially the divorced and single mothers.

“In some cases, it’s better for women to call off their marriage because continuing with the partner means continuing to suffer. Fear of losing social acceptance stops many women from taking such a step,” said Rosakutty.

‘Women’s panel treated shabbily by all govts’

“They feel insecure about their future too. The commission should liaison with other stakeholders and prepare an action plan keeping in mind the welfare of single mothers and divorcees,” said Rosakutty. Separate rescue/boarding homes must be set up to accommodate them, she said. 

“We have lots of mahila mandirams that provide boarding and lodging to needy women. Food and accommodation are not enough for separated woman and single mothers. They have more needs and KWC should ensure they are taught new skills,” she said.

Muslim League leader and lawyer Noorbeena Rasheed, who was member of the commission, said KWC has been getting a shabby treatment.“Women and KWC face the same issue: Lack of acceptance. Whichever party rules the state, KWC is overlooked. From allocating staff to providing infrastructure, the commission always gets a shabby treatment.” Serving member Shahida Kamal said the Women’s Commission Act should be amended to enable it to deal with the new-generation issues. She also said KWC should be delegated more powers and given more manpower, district-wise offices and local investigation officers to conduct probes.


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