Gender equality and the well-being of children go hand in hand. When women are empowered to live full and productive lives, children prosper. This is the main conclusion of the UNICEF report released on Tuesday in the Capital.
The State of the World's Children 2007 report says that the Millennium Development Goal 3 — promoting gender equality and empowering women — will reap the dividend of bettering the lives of both women and children and will also contribute to achieving other goals, from reducing poverty and hunger to ensuring universal education.
Praising India’s efforts in investing in women’s leadership, the report says that quota for women in panchayats has helped in the welfare of children. It quotes a study in 165 villages of West Bengal that showed that participation of women in panchayats led to a decrease in the gap between boys and girls attending school. Not only that, these villages also witnessed twice the investment in drinking water, increased visits by government health workers, and 20 per cent improvement in major roads, the report released on UNICEF's 60th anniversary says.
The results were similar in Rajasthan.
In another survey covering 100 villages in the state, it was found that a village having a woman pradhan had higher immunisation for kids, higher participation of girl child in schools and better healthcare for women.