Thiruvananthapuram: India has witnessed a surge in rape cases since 2001, when the crime more than doubled, an International Conference on Gender Equality was told.
Besides, cruelty against married women has risen nearly 2.5 times, the report on 'Status of Women in India', released at the International Conference on Gender Equality at Kovalam said.
While rape cases registered between 2001 and 2014 rose from 16,075 to 36,735, cases of cruelty against married woman jumped from 49,170 to 1,22,877, the report said.
"If you look at it, 'home' is the first sanctuary of violence against women in the form of incest and early marriage," Pam Rajput, Chairperson of a High-Level Committee (HLC) on the Status of Women in India, said at the Conference.
The HLC report was an attempt to recommend policy interventions based on contemporary assessment of women's economic, legal, political, education, health and socio-cultural needs, she said.
The report notes that globally India ranks second-last (141 out of 142 countries) in health and wanted that public health spending be increased to 4.5 per cent. It was 40 years ago on the eve of the foremost UN world conference of women that the first report on the status of women in India was submitted.
Rajput noted that India has one of the worst gender gaps in the world workforce participation, with only 25 per cent (15 per cent in urban areas and the rest in rural areas).
"This can be revised only by integrating macroeconomic policy with social policy and examining the situation of underpaid women working in public services as voluntary or social workers," she said.
"Despite the economic growth and the increase in the level of education, women find it very difficult to make free choices," she said.