Will conduct gender audit, ensure equal pay for women: Pinarayi Vijayan

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at LDF protest meet against Centre in Delhi. Photo: Manorama

In a strategic move to attract women voters before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced a commitment to gender equality in the workplace. At a recent interaction at Chief Minister's Face-to-Face Programme, Vijayan declared that his government would be instituting a gender audit across workplaces to bolster equitable treatment and remuneration. He emphasized the need for jobs to be more accommodating to women, ensuring they receive equal pay to their male counterparts.

"Until recently, the emphasis was only on educating women. But they also need to be convinced of the need for them to participate in the (formal) workforce from now on. Jobs should be made more favorable for women. For that, gender audit will be conducted in workplaces and equal pay will be ensured," Vijayan said.

Highlighting the women-friendly policies of his government, he said, "Kerala has become a role model in the country by introducing menstrual leave for students in all state universities under the Department of Higher Education."

As per the National Survey on Higher Education, the state has the highest participation of women in the higher education sector, he said, adding to his point about how it must also translate to more women joining the formal workforce. Kerala was also the first to implement gender budgeting for women in 1997 in local government bodies, the chief minister pointed out.

Criticising the central government, saying it follows gender budgeting just for namesake, Vijayan said not even once has the figure gone above six per cent of the total budget. "In Kerala, the gender budget is 21.5 per cent of the total budget this year. Since 2017-18, the annual gender budget has been introduced every year along with the state budget," he added.

Addressing the massive crowd at the CIAL convention centre here, the Left leader said women are the driving force behind the Sanitation Mission and the Green Army of the state. He said women can also manage the "social waste" of communalism which pollutes the entire society. "Communalism pollutes the entire society. One should be able to draw a distinction between faith and communalism at a time when there are attempts to communalise beliefs. The attempts to showcase matters related to beliefs into symbols of aggressive communalism must be resisted. Women play a major role in making sure that even children understand these attempts," he added.

Speaking about women's growing role in the startup space, Vijayan said that out of the newly launched startups in Kerala, 40 per cent entrepreneurs are women and out of the Rs 8,000 crore investment in startup sector, Rs 1,500 crore are from women entrepreneurs. "Women need financial freedom to gain social progress," he asserted.

(With PTI inputs.)

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