India/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies

It is widely recognised that if the cultural/creative sector can be defined in terms of the diversity of traditional economies, and domestic and community practices, then an overwhelming number of persons working in this sector are at or even below subsistence-level; they often come from the lowest strata of society and a large number of those employed in this sector are women.

Women, it is widely admitted, form an unusually high percentage of cultural labourers. There is considerable legal recognition of this fact, but little practical strategy at the level of policymaking. Legal recognition of this fact includes the provision of a separate cell in the Ministry of Labour, whose tasks include implementing guidelines drawn up by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, implementation of the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, and to follow up action on the Supreme Court Judgement in the matter of prevention of sexual harassment of women at their work place. Among the broad legal acts that are of relevance are the Beedi & Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966 and the Inter State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, both of which ensure availability of crèches and specify employment timing. The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, which requires women to be represented on building and construction worker welfare boards. There are no quota schemes or specific strategies.

Statistical data of women in places of power in cultural institutions would be hard to put together.

With regard to Ministers, India presently has a total of 74 Central Ministers (31 Cabinet Ministers, of whom 2 are women; 7 Ministers of State with Independent Charge, of whom 2 are women; and 36 Ministers of State of whom 4 are women). 

Chapter published: 22-04-2014