National Commission for Women

National Commission for Women
The National Commission for Women (NCW) is an autonomous statutory body established under the provisions of the National Commission for Women Act by the Central Government through an official Gazetted Notification in the year 1990.

It was set up to prevent violence and abuse against women in a patriarchal society where women are left vulnerable.

Basic Facts

  • Established on January 31, 1992.
  • Headquarters – Nirbhaya Bhavan, New Delhi.
  • Total Members 5 (Chairman & 4 members).
  • Jayanti Patnaik
    First Chairperson of NCWJayanti Patnaik.
  • Current Chairperson of NCW Rekha Sharma (9th).
  • Current Member Secretary of NCW Meeta Rajivlochan.
  • First Male Member of NCW – Alok Rawat.
  • Longest-served Chairperson of NCW – Girija Vyas (2 terms; 6 years; 5th chairperson).
  • Newsletter published by NCW – Rashtra Mahila (Monthly; English & Hindi).


Prior to National Commission for Women, the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare appointed a special committee called the Committee on the Status of Women in India (CSWI) in 1971 to the status and condition of women in Indian society.

This committee was set up as a part of UN's mandatory requirement to assess the social conditions of women in association with International Women’s year celebrations in 1975.

It brought forward many of the issues faced by the women in the society such as gender gap, declining sex ratio, higher female infant mortality, wage inequality, and women’s access to literacy, education, and livelihood, and submitted its report "Towards Equality" to the UN.

This may be considered as the stepping stone for the formation of the National Commission for Women, an effort from the Government level to safeguard women and their rights.

Many panels/committees thereafter emphasized the need for an apex body for women. So in 1990, the central govt decided to set up a statutory body after consulting with various NGOs, social workers, experts in the relevant fields, etc.

The National Commission for Women Bill was presented in the Lok Sabha on May 22, 1990. The proposed bill had many limitations regarding the powers and functions of the commission. It was therefore re-drafted and reintroduced in Parliament on 10 August 1990.

The revised bill was subsequently passed by the Parliament and, following the signature of the President, came into force on 30 August 1990.

Structure of NCW

The national commission for women is comprised of 5 members (Section 3). Out of which one is chairperson, a member secretary and the other are 4 full-time members. At least one member must belong to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.

All the members of the Commission are nominated by the Central Govt. of India.
  • Appointed by – Central Govt. of India.
  • Term3 years or till the age of 65 years.
  • Removed byCentral Govt. of India.

List of Chairpersons of NCW

The Former chairpersons of the National Commission for Women were as follows:

Sl. No.NameTerm

Jayanti Patnaik

3 Feb 1992 30 Jan 1995


Dr. V. Mohini Giri

21 July 199520 July 1998


Vibha Parthasarathy

18 Jan 199917 Jan 2002


Poornima Advani

25 Jan 200224 Jan 2005


Girija Vyas

16 Feb 200515 Feb 2008


Girija Vyas

9 April 2008 8 April 2011


Mamta Sharma

2 Aug 2011 1 Aug 2014


Lalitha Kumaramangalam

29 Sep 2014 28 Sep 2017


Rekha Sharma

7 Aug 2018 Incumbent

Powers & Functions of the NCW

The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:—
  • investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other law;
  • present to the Central Government, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
  • make in such reports recommendations for the effective implementation of those safeguards for improving the conditions of women by the Union or any State;
  • review, from time to time, the existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments thereto so as to suggest remedial legislative measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies, or shortcomings in such legislations;
  • take up the cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities;
  • look into complaints and take Suo moto notice of matters relating to—
    • deprivation of women’s rights;
    • non-implementation of laws enacted to provide protection to women and also to achieve the objective of equality and development;
    • non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines, or instructions aimed at mitigating
    • hardships and ensuring the welfare and providing relief to women,
  • and take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities;
  • call for special studies or investigations into specific problems or situations arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women and identify the constraints so as to recommend strategies for their removal;
  • undertake promotional and educational research so as to suggest ways of ensuring due representation of women in all spheres and identify factors responsible for impeding their advancement, such as lack of access to housing and basic services, inadequate support services and technologies for reducing drudgery and occupational health hazards and for increasing their productivity;
    • (i) participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of women;
  • evaluate the progress of the development of women under the Union and any State;
  • inspect or cause to be inspected a jail, remand home, women’s institution or other places of custody where women are kept as prisoners or otherwise, and take up with the concerned authorities for remedial action if found necessary;
  • fund litigation involving issues affecting a large body of women;
  • make periodical reports to the Government on any matter pertaining to women and in particular various difficulties under which women toil;
  • any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.


  • Lack of real legislative authority.
  • Depends on financial assistance from the Central Government.
  • Does not possess the power to choose its own members.
The National Commission for Women submits its annual report and audit report to the Central Government and then presented in the each House of the Parliament.

1min Youtube Video Link with Main Points:


  • International Women's Day – March 8.
  • National Women's Day – February 13 (Birthday of Sarojini Naidu, first Governor of an Indian State).
  • Nirbhaya Day December 16.
  • Nirbhaya Act came into force on – April 3, 2013.
  • Dowry Prohibition Act was enacted on – July 1, 1961.
  • Domestic Violence Act was enacted on – October 26, 2006.
  • International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women – November 25.
  • Online portal for women empowerment NARI(National Repository of Information for Women).
  • Union Minister of Women & Child Development – Smriti Zubin Irani.
  • Ministry of Women & Child Development came into existence on – January 30, 2006.
    • Headquarters – Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi.
    • Earlier it was Dept. of Women & Child Development under Ministry of Human Resource Development since 1985.
  • "The year for the empowerment of women" declared by the Government of India in  – 2001.
  • Author of 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' Mary Wollstonecraft (considered as the first feminist of Britain).
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