Status of Women in India is believed to have achieved equality under the constitution, but as a matter of fact, women are still suffering as the male-dominated traditions still prevail in this country. Did you know that the regional average score of the country’s equality is said to be just 55?
Jawaharlal Nehru once stated how it’s easy to tell the condition of a Nation just by looking at the status of its women. Today, women in India earn just 64% of their male counterparts – if they have the freedom to work.
So, what is the status of women in India compared to its history? How can we improve the economic and social indicators for women in India? What are the issues poor women in India face today?
India is a country where people around us still feel pity if we give birth to a female child. Though “prenatal sex discrimination” has been banned and is now considered a criminal offence, many Indian families are either unaware of it or don’t even bother about it. This is one law that is literally impossible to enforce in the Indian society.
Social strata too have a crucial role to play with respect to discrimination against women. And this discrimination starts even before birth, as an infant, as a teenager and an adult. Did you know that in rural India, women continue to lag behind in education compared to boys? The political data also shows that more girls drop out of schools than boys. However, on the plus side, in urban India, data shows that girls are more on par with boys.
Indian women also have to deal with other problems like inadequate school facilities, gender bias and more. Published reports show that literacy rates of women continue to remain low – a trend somewhat mirrored globally in many parts of the world.
While technology has helped made lives better for Indian women, there is still a long way to go. Selective abortions have become something so contagious that it cannot be banned, no action can be taken against it. About 10 to 11 million abortions take place every year and about 20,000 women die due to complications annually. The status of women in India is sometimes, abysmal.
Discrimination of a female infant leading to murdering and abandonment is quite high. As a child, it is shown in the form of insufficient care taken, with respect to food and education which consequently is leading to malnutrition (anemia and low weight) which further becomes a cause for risky pregnancies, complications in childbearing and deaths.
The undeniable power of patriarchy leads to a decrease in the number of girls per 1000 children. Not a lot of women are allowed to make it to the university. And the search for justice is increasing day by day.
Though taking dowry was prohibited and named illegal in 1961, the law hardly has any enforcement or effect on Indians. The dowry practice still prevails in almost every marriage. Every religion and culture – from all states and nearly every caste – follows dowry as a national tradition as it is said to be a means for financial security for the newlywed couple though it is just namesake.
Marriage is the bridge between two families but the terms of dowry often make this pious relationship unbearable. Studies show with increasing population, the conditions get worse. Unless this evil practice loses its root from our culture, the women’s situation won’t get any better.
Work and women? Forget it. Though the Constitution of India has granted equal rights for men and women, factually, it would never come into action; being overshadowed by the male-dominated traditions which rather consider woman as a liability. Gender discrimination is crystal clear. Statistics show that the rate of employment is lower in the case of women, a contributing factor for the current status of women in India.
Primarily, a woman is still considered to be dependent on her husband or father financially and emotionally. And incapable of earning much money and more capable of doing household chores though, in today’s society, women are playing both the roles – that of a working woman and a housewife.
Still, a woman is never considered an asset to the family.
Marriage might be the beginning of a new journey but a married woman is more like a property handed to the husband who is responsible for the happiness, support, health and pride of her parents. As you can see some traditions that are against the law, that reduce the status of women in India, are still under practice. Women are often looked down upon as a sexual object. Reports say that domestic violence towards women of any age is like a cultural practice now.
Always under the constant vigilance of in-laws, no contact with anyone, and no privacy, the status of women in India remains a concern. Many aren’t able to work in an office because of societal pressure, and many are also kept out of land and property rights – inheritances that are rightly theirs.
Women in India are hardly given the freedom to express her views, as any disagreement leads to disgrace to her and her relatives, which further leads to negligence and disregard by both, native and in-laws. The cause may also include extra dowry. For every 10 girls in India, 7 are harassed by their relatives for dowry and forced to live on their terms. Making a woman feel degraded represents only an inhuman and degraded mentality.
The Other Issues of Young Women in Asian Countries like India
Unfortunately, there are thousands of deaths of the woman due to dowry harassment, and cases of attempted dowry deaths and the Constitution of Indian have the law of punishment for dowry death as a mere 7 years term instead of life imprisonment or a death sentence. India’s legal system have policies to implement the laws but in real the voluntary participation of women is rare.
This itself is a crystal clear proof of lack of help and the discrimination against women. The situation is the same both for urban and rural India. But we don’t lack the examples of women empowerment in all areas be it science or politics.
How do We Ensure Indians Leave Behind These Practices?
India remains a land of Traditions and customs. Unless cultures and traditions evolve to accept new practices, the position of women in India isn’t going to get better. Unless the point of view changes, nothing will change. An increase in the number of women participation in national and international politics, business, and other jobs or services can empower the women truly and lift their level in society.
The government has to come up with a special policy that will allow women to study higher. Study shows, the rate of university goer women decreases a lot as compared to the rate of school goers. More support group has to be created to whom the women can open up. After all, a woman is a human first. Giving open access to all fields of the society to everyone irrespective of gender, has to be a part of our culture.