Girl Rights and Protection in India
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Girl Rights and Protection in India

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A girl is like a flower to be nurtured. She is a goddess to be revered. She is mother earth that sustains the very breath of humanity. How can man even think of killing her in the womb? It is said in ...

A girl is like a flower to be nurtured. She is a goddess to be revered. She is mother earth that sustains the very breath of humanity. How can man even think of killing her in the womb? It is said in the Bhagwat Gita that the karma of the past catches up. For those who have killed their daughters mercilessly they will go through the same fate. But the woman whose tender heart continues to nurture will still give a chance to evil to redeem. Unless India gives women a chance to survive, it would fail as the world’s largest democracy.

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Girl Rights and Protection in India Girl Rights and Protection in India Document Transcript

  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 2013 Deepshikha Rana Jamia Millia Islamia University 8/14/2013 Girl Rights and Protection in India
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 1 Preface ndia is one of the few countries where selective sex gender bias exists till today. The onslaught of feminism has not allowed Indian women to revolt against the century old systems. For centuries together women have played their roles of being the provider and live-wire of families without even a thank you note at the end of their lives. It has been proven in India and other countries that where ever women were given liberty they changed the world and made it a better place to live. Education and training helps the woman to hone her talents. She can earn more money. Women have the ability to save earned money for further education or better healthcare for children and families. Men on the other hand are spendthrifts. When they earn they spend it on vices and make life hell for families. The economic status of a woman gives her a better social understanding. An educated woman is better equipped to defend herself than an illiterate one against men, crimes and abuses. Once she knows her rights she can also approach the courts. Many daring women have taken such this route to bring men to task. It is only a woman who understands that weather a male or female child, it should be healthy and given equal status. A woman has the power to end the evil of dowry system also. If girl child survives eventually population will be in control. Families will be small, healthy better educated and happy. Today’s woman has to be motivated to live. She will eventually be a balanced mother. The craving for the ubiquitous male heir must end. Discrimination between the male and female child have to end for ever. Educated Indians have to behave responsibly and set an example for one another. The Ministry for Welfare of Woman and Child in India says, ‘don’t kill your girl child. We will look after her.’ It is an embarrassment for all of us if we fail to protect the rights of the girl child. India has examples of women who have risen from the ashes like phoenix and done the country proud. India can be poised and shining only if the girls are given an opportunity to prove their talents. In education they have been toppers consistently against boys. I  A girl is like a flower to be nurtured. She is a goddess to be revered. She is mother earth that sustains the very breath of humanity. How can man even think of killing her in the womb? It is said in the Bhagwat Gita that the karma of the past catches up. For those who have killed their daughters mercilessly they will go through the same fate. But the woman whose tender heart continues to nurture will still give a chance to evil to redeem. Unless India gives women a chance to survive, it would fail as the world’s largest democracy. 
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 2 OOR TEACHING INFRASTRUCTURE There is absence of adequate school infrastructure. Improper facilities and inefficient teaching staff is one of the main factors affecting literacy in India. There was a shortage of classrooms to accommodate all the students during 2006–2007. In addition, there is no proper provision for sanitation in most schools. The study of 188 government-run primary schools in central and northern India revealed that 59% of the schools had no drinking water facility and 89% without toilets. In 600,000 villages and multiplying urban slum habitats, 'free and compulsory education' is the basic literacy instruction dispensed by barely qualified 'para teachers'. The average Pupil Teacher Ratio for All India is 1:42, implying teacher shortage. Such inadequacies resulted in a non-standardized school system where literacy rates vary. Furthermore, the expenditure allocated to education was never above 4.3% of the GDP from 1951–2002 despite the target of 6% by the Kothari Commission. This further complicates the literacy problem in India. Another barrier to female education in India is the lack of female teachers. As India is a gender segregated society, it is a very important factor in the low female literacy rate in India. ASTE DISCRIMINATION Severe caste disparities also exist. Discrimination against lower castes has resulted in high dropout rates and low enrolment rates. The National Sample Survey Organisation and the National Family Health Survey collected data in India on the percentage of children completing primary school which was reported to be only 36.8% and 37.7% respectively. On 21 February 2005, the Prime Minister of India said that he was pained to note that “only 47 out of 100 children enrolled in class I reach class VIII, putting the dropout rate at 52.78 per cent.” It is estimated that at least 35 million, and possibly as many as 60 million, children aged 6–14 years are not in school. Why India still has one of the lowest female literacy rates in Asia? P C Kerala has the highest female literacy rate (92% as per 2011 census) whereas Rajasthan (52.7% as per 2011 census) has the lowest female literacy rate in India. States such as Uttar Pradesh (59.3% as per 2011 census) and Bihar (53.3% as per 2011 census) that are the most populated states in India show low levels of female literacy. This is directly related to the health and infant mortality. Kerala has the lowest infant mortality whereas states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have a high mortality rate.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 3 RESENCE OF POVERTY Absolute poverty in India has also deterred the pursuit of formal education as education is not deemed as the highest priority among the poor as compared to other basic necessities. The MRP-based (mixed recall period) poverty estimates about 22% of poverty in 2004–05 which translated to 22 out of per 100 people are not meeting their basic needs, much less than the need for education. Poverty is the root cause of many problems in India and also of low female literacy rate. More than one-third of population in India is living below the poverty line. Though government is putting efforts to make the primary education free but still parents are not ready to send their girls to school due to lack of accessibility to schools. In most of the rural areas lack of easy accessibility to school is another reason for low female literacy rate. Parents do not prefer to send girls to schools if these are located at a far distance from their village or home. Even if schools are there then lack of adequate school facilities becomes a hurdle. Some of the schools are really in pathetic conditions and do not have even basic facilities. As per a survey, 54% of schools in Uttar Pradesh do not have water facility and 80% do not have latrine facilities. Some even do not have enough rooms to accommodate all the students. ARGE PROPORTION OF ILLITERATE FEMALES The large proportion of illiterate females is another reason for the low literacy rate in India. Inequality based on gender differences resulted in female literacy rates being lower at 65.46% lower than that of their male counterparts at 82.14%. Due to strong stereotyping of female and male roles, Sons are thought of to be more useful and hence are educated. Females are expected to help out on agricultural farms at home as they are increasingly replacing the males on such activities which require no formal education. Fewer than 2% of girls who engaged in agriculture work attended school. EGATIVE PARENTS ATTITUDE AND GENDER BASED INEQUALITY The negative attitude of parents towards the girl child and her education is one of the major reasons of low female literacy rate in India. In most of the families, boys at home are P L N According to last census held in 2001, the percentage of female literacy in the country is 54.16%. The literacy rate in the country has increased from 18.33% in 1951 to 65.38% as per 2001 census. The female literacy rate has also increased from 8.86% in 1951 to 54.16%. It is noticed that the female literacy rate during the period 1991-2001 increased by 14.87% whereas male literacy rate rose by 11.72%. Hence the female literacy rate actually increased by 3.15% more compared to male literacy rate. Education – The Right to Learn “Educate a man, you educate one person, educate a woman, you educate a complete family.”
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 4 given priority in terms of education but girls are not. Right from the beginning, parents do not consider girls as earning members of their family, as after marriage they have to leave their parents’ home. So their education is just considered wastage of money and time. For this reason, parents prefer to send boys to schools but not girls. Some Other Factors Responsible for Poor Female Literacy Rate  Social discrimination and economic exploitation.  Occupation of girl child in domestic chores.  Low enrolment of girls in schools.  Low retention rate and high dropout rate. But in spite of all reasons, women must understand and realize that education can actually end the vicious cycle of poverty, their misfortune, so that they can live life with pride. In case of any misfortune in life, it is education that would help her, not anything else. The government should really work towards the number, distance and quality of schools in rural as well as urban India. We should encourage the girl child in getting education to create a balanced and an educated society. Defining Literacy Still miles to go……………………… It has been estimated that at the current rate of progress, India will attain universal literacy only until 2060. As per the census of 2011, an effective literacy rate for men was 82.14% whereas for women it was 65.46%. Though there has been seen a substantial increase in the number of literate women and this gap is narrowing, it still persists. Among such figures, there exists a ray of hope as well. According to the 2011 census, since year 2011, 110 million additional women had become literate as compared to 107 men that mean that the number of literate women is increasing. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have drafted a definition of literacy as the "ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society." The National Literacy Mission defines literacy as acquiring the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic and the ability to apply them to one's day-to-day life.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 5 Literacy in Asia at a glance WORLD (in million) Total Male Female Adult Literacy Rate**(15+) (%) 82 87 77 Adult Illiterates**(15+) in million 780.66 281.04 499.62 Youth literacy rate (15-24) (%) 87 90 84 Young illiterates (in million) 138.97 52.81 86.16 Out of School population (in million) 76.84 33.25 43.59 LITERACY STATUS IN SOME ASIAN COUNTRIES South Asian Countries Country Total Non- Literate Population 15+age (in million) Literacy Rate 15+ (%)(2000) Total Male Female Maldives -- 96 96 96 Sri Lanka -- 91 92 89 India* 268.42 61 73 48 Bhutan -- -- -- -- Pakistan 48.81 50 63 36 Nepal 7.66 49 63 35 Bangladesh 52.53 43 52 33 Other Asian Countries Country Total Non-literate Population 15+ age (in millions) Literacy Rate 15+ (%) (2000) Total Male Female Thailand 3.35 93 95 91 Philippines 3.50 93 93 93 Vietnam 4.90 90 94 87 Malaysia 1.72 89 92 85 Indonesia 15.10 90 94 87 China 87.01 91 95 87 Myanmar 3.20 90 94 86 Iran 10.50 77 84 70
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 6 Laos 1.01 69 77 61 Afghanistan 9.04 28 43 13 LITERACY STATUS IN NINE MOST POPULOUS COUNTRIES Country Total Non-literate Population 15+ age Literacy Rate 15+ (%) Total Male Female Mexico 6.52 91 92 90 Indonesia 15.10 90 94 87 Brazil 17.36 89 88 89 China 87.01 91 95 87 Nigeria -- -- -- -- India* 268.42 61 73 48 Egypt 14.21 71 83 59 Pakistan 48.81 50 63 36 Bangladesh 52.53 43 52 33 * Source United Nations Development Programme Report 2009
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 7 Defining Child Abuse The term 'Child Abuse' may have different connotations in different cultural milieu and socio- economic Situations. A universal definition of child abuse in the Indian context does not exist and has yet to be defined. According to WHO:  Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is the inflicting of physical injury upon a child. This may include burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child. It may, however, be the result of over-discipline or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the child's age.  Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is inappropriate sexual behaviour with a child. It includes fondling a child's genitals, making the child fondle the adult's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism and sexual exploitation. To be considered ‘child abuse’, these acts have to be committed by a person responsible for the care of a child (for example a baby-sitter, a parent, or a day-care provider), or related to the child. If a stranger commits these acts, it would be considered sexual assault and handled solely by the police and criminal courts. Physical Abuse 1. Two out of every three children were physically abused. 2. Out of 69% children physically abused in 13 sample states, 54.68% were boys. 3. Over 50% children in all the 13 sample states were being subjected to one or the other form of physical abuse. 4. Out of those children physically abused in family situations, 88.6% were physically abused by parents. 5. 65% of school going children reported facing corporal punishment i.e. two out of three children were victims of corporal punishment. 6. 62% of the corporal punishment was in government and municipal school. 7. The State of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi have almost consistently reported higher rates of abuse in all forms as compared to other states. 8. Most children did not report the matter to anyone. 9. 50.2% children worked seven days a week.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 8 This was statement of a respondent interviewed by me.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 9  Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is also known as verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment. It includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioural, cognitive, emotional, or mental trauma. This can include parents/caretaker s using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging, are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual tendency to blame the child or make him/her a scapegoat.  Neglect: It is the failure to provide for the child's basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect can include not providing adequate food or clothing, appropriate medical care, supervision, or proper weather protection (heat or cold). Sexual Abuse 1. 53.22% children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse. 2. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest percentage of sexual abuse among both boys and girls. 3. 21.90% child respondents reported facing severe forms of sexual abuse and 50.76% other forms of sexual abuse. 4. Out of the child respondents, 5.69% reported being sexually assaulted. 5. Children in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest incidence of sexual assault. 6. Children on street, children at work and children in institutional care reported the highest incidence of sexual assault. 7. 50% abuses are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility. 8. Most children did not report the matter to anyone. Emotional Abuse and Girl Child Neglect 1. Every second child reported facing emotional abuse. 2. Equal percentage of both girls and boys reported facing emotional abuse. 3. In 83% of the cases parents were the abusers.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 10 It may include abandonment. Educational neglect includes failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs, allowing excessive truancies. Psychological neglect includes the lack of any emotional support and love, never attending to the child, substance abuse including allowing the child to participate in drug and alcohol use. Reasons for Child Abuse EVIANT PARENTS’ EXPECTATIONS Child abuse is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes. Understanding the causes of abuse is crucial to addressing the problem of child abuse. Parents who physically abuse their spouses are more likely than others to physically abuse their children. However, it is impossible to know whether marital strife is a cause of child abuse, or if both the marital strife and the abuse are caused by tendencies in the abuser. This commonly used term refers to the process of parents' setting expectations for their child that are clearly beyond the child's capability. When parents' expectations are particularly deviant (e.g., preschool children who are expected to be totally responsible for self-care or provision of nurturance to parents) the resulting frustration caused by the child's non-compliance is believed to function as a contributory if not necessary cause of child abuse. NINTENDED PREGNANCIES Children resulting from unintended pregnancies are more likely to be abused or neglected. Neglect is by far the most common form of child abuse, accounting for more than 78% of all cases. In addition, unintended pregnancies are more likely than intended pregnancies to be associated with abusive relationships, and there is an increased risk of physical violence during pregnancy. They also result in poorer maternal mental health, and lower mother-child relationship quality. HYSICAL OR MENTAL DISABILITY A study on child abuse sought to determine: the forms of child abuse perpetrated on children with disabilities; the extent of child abuse; and the causes of child abuse of children with disabilities. A questionnaire on child abuse was adapted and used to collect data in this study. D U P
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 11 Participants comprised a sample of 31 pupils with disabilities (15 children with vision impairment and 16 children with hearing impairment) selected from special schools in Botswana. The study found that the majority of participants were involved in doing domestic chores. They were also sexually, physically and emotionally abused by their teachers. This study showed that children with disabilities were vulnerable to child abuse in their schools. UBSTANCE ABUSE Substance abuse can be a major contributing factor to child abuse. One study found that parents with documented substance abuse, most commonly alcohol, cocaine, and heroin, were much more likely to mistreat their children, and were also much more likely to reject court-ordered services and treatments. Another study found that over two-thirds of cases of child maltreatment involved parents with substance abuse problems. This study specifically found relationships between alcohol and physical abuse, and between cocaine and sexual abuse. Although the abuse survivor does not always realise the abuse is wrong, the internal confusion can lead to chaos. Inner anger turns to outer frustration. Once aged 17/18, drink and drugs are used to numb the hurt feelings, nightmares and daytime flashbacks. Acquisitive crimes to pay for the chemicals are inevitable if the survivor is unable to find employment. A 2010 article in the BBC reports that thousands of African children have been abandoned, tortured and murdered because they are believed to be witches. S
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 12 NEMPLOYMENT AND FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES Unemployment and financial difficulties are associated with increased rates of child abuse. In 2009 CBS News reported that child abuse in the United States had increased during the economic recession. It gave the example of a father who had never been the primary care-taker of the children. Now that the father was in that role, the children began to come in with injuries. ON-BIOLOGICAL PARENTS A 1988 study of child murders in the US found that children are 100 times more often killed by a "non-biological parent (e.g. step-parent, co-habited or boyfriend/girlfriend of a biological parent)" than by a biological parent. An evolutionary psychology explanation for this is that using resources in order to take care of another person's biological child is likely not a good strategy for increasing reproductive success. More generally, stepchildren have a much higher risk of being abused which is sometimes referred to as the Cinderella effect. The Cinderella Effect attempts to explain the observation that parents are more likely to kill their stepchildren than their biological children using evolutionary logic - as described by Daly and Wilson: "research concerning animal social U N
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 13 behaviour provide a rationale for expecting parents to be discriminative in their care and affection, and more specifically, to discriminate in favour of their own young". XTRINSIC RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION Psychologists conducted a study in the United States in 2010 which examined over 200 regular church attendees from eleven different denominations of Christianity, most of whom were educated, upper-middle class White Americans, found that extrinsic religious orientation was associated with a greater risk of physical child abuse. Those with a more extrinsic religious orientation who also adhered to greater social conformity were particularly more likely to share characteristics with physically abusive subjects. Subjects who adhered to Biblical literalism exhibited a higher potential of physical child abuse. Those who had a more intrinsic religious orientation were not found to be at a greater risk of child abuse, although they sometimes exhibited greater social conformity or a greater propensity for holding literal interpretations of the Bible. Approximately 85% of the study's subjects were parents. Causal factors of child sex offenders are not known conclusively. The experience of sexual abuse as a child was previously thought to be a strong risk factor, but research does not show a causal relationship, as the vast majority of sexually abused children do not grow up to be adult offenders, nor do the majority of adult offenders report childhood sexual abuse. The US Government Accountability Office concluded, "The existence of a cycle of sexual abuse was not established." Before 1996, there was greater belief in the theory of a "cycle of violence," because most of the research done was retrospective—abusers were asked if they had experienced past abuse. Even the majority of studies found that most adult sex offenders said they had not been sexually abused during childhood, but studies varied in terms of their estimates of the percentage of such offenders who had been abused, from 0 to 79 per cent. More recent prospective longitudinal research—studying children with documented cases of sexual abuse over time to determine what percentage become adult offenders—has demonstrated that the cycle of violence theory is not an adequate explanation for why people molest children. E 1. Every fifth child in the world lives in India 2. Every third malnourished child in the world lives in India 3. Every second Indian child is underweight 4. Three out of four children in India are anaemic 5. Every second new born has reduced learning capacity due to iodine deficiency 6. Decline in female/male ratio is maximum in 0-6 years: 927 females per 1000 males 7. Birth registration is just 62% (RGI-2004) 8. Retention rate at Primary level is 71.01% (Elementary Education in India Progress towards UEE NUEPA Flash 9. Statistics DISE 2005-2006) 10. Girls' enrolment in schools at primary level is 47.79% (Elementary Education in India Progress towards UEE NUEPA Flash Statistics DISE 2005-2006) 11. 1104 lakh child labour in the country (SRO 2000) 12. IMR is as high as 58 per 1000 live births (SRS- 2005) 13. MMR is equally high at 301 per 100,000 live births (SRS, 2001-03) 14. Children born with low birth weight are 46% (NFHS-III) 15. Children under 3 with anaemia are 79% (NFHS-III) 16. Immunization coverage is very low (polio -78.2%, measles-58.8%, DPT-55.3%, BCG-78%(NFHS-III)
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 14 Research has determined that parental attitude and support has a great deal of influence on girls’ participation and level of success attained in social participation. Parents and community attitudes are mainly influenced by traditional beliefs regarding the ideal roles of women and girls in society. Traditionally, the only roles available to women were those of wives and mothers. Women were thus seen as nurturers and mainly as providing support for men who worked to provide for the family. Being physically weaker, women were therefore also perceived as being less capable and requiring the protection and guidance of men. These attitudes have prevailed even in current times when socio-economic changes have resulted in changes to roles women are now expected to undertake. Socio-economic changes have made education necessary, not just for the purposes of providing income earning opportunities, but also for the potential to contribute to the improvement in the standards of living of individuals, families and communities. These traditional beliefs have been found to foster negative attitudes which limit family and community support for girls’ participation in society. Identification and examination of these attitudes is necessary before any decisions can be made on what should and can be done to bring about change. However, it is an indisputable fact that without parents and community support, any efforts to improve girls’ participation in society in particular will be greatly hampered. Low enrolment and high dropout rates for girls at all levels of Why Girls are less encouraged than boys to participate in and learn about the social.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 15 education were stated as some of the main reasons for the relatively low numbers of girls participating in social activity since they assume themselves illiterate. It was the opinion of many that one of the main reasons for this low enrolment and high dropout is the negative attitude that many parents have towards the education of girls. This negative attitude was attributed to traditional socio-cultural beliefs regarding gender roles and abilities. In African and Indian tradition and culture, women were expected to exclusively assume the roles of mothers and wives. Women were seen as nurturing beings and as such were expected to be the home makers and take care of the children. They were also expected to be obedient and subservient to the men. Women were seen as less capable, physically, mentally and in all areas outside their accepted roles, than men. As a result women were seen as requiring protection, guidance, supervision and leadership from men. It was thus accepted that men would fill decision making leadership capacities in society, while women played a mainly supportive/ nurturing role. Different societies identify a certain set of characteristics as feminine and another set as masculine but these are not same across different cultures. It depends on child rearing practices. From childhood girls and boys are trained in gender specific behaviour. Bravery and confidence are ‘masculine’ so must be a guy’s cup of tea whereas sensitivity and shyness must be a girl’s asset. There is nothing ‘natural’ about the sexual division of labour; little to do with biology and more to do with ideological assumptions. All the household work-cooking, cleaning looking after children can equally is done by men. Women are supposed to be physically weak and unfit for the manual labour but that is what they are precisely made to do both within the home and outside - carry heavy loads of water, carry head loads in mining in construction etc. But when the manual work that women do is mechanized, making it both lighter and better paid then it is men who receive training to use the new machinery and women are edged out. With due passage of time role of women rose to prominence, out of necessity . However, the perception of women and their accepted roles and perceived capabilities have remained the same, i.e. traditional. Many people therefore have difficulty accepting that there is a need to equip women with the skills and knowledge necessary, through education, to enable them to take up their new roles and function effectively in the modern world. The perceived ideal roles and characteristics of women and girls influence how girls and boys are socialized in the home, community and school. Because girls and women in general are considered physically weaker and less capable than men, they are often overtly protected and supervised to keep them from what is considered threatening to their safety i.e. physical, sexual, mental and emotional safety. Some parents are reluctant towards social participation because of the belief that this could be a corrupting influence. In some communities, there is the view that in social participation, girls’ morals would be corrupted because of the amount of time they would spend with boys. There was also fear for the physical and sexual safety of girls in society due to cases of physical and sexual harassment and abuse from people in the society. Perceived gender roles and characteristics influence the way children are expected to behave, the kind of work they do and even the way they play. Girls are, for example, rarely the ones sent to the shops to do shopping, neither are they allowed to play outside the home for long periods of time as boys often do. This denies girls the opportunity to explore and experiment with diverse activities and situations outside the home which could be useful to them within the social curriculum: e.g. boys when they go shopping get to practically use the knowledge and skills acquired in general,
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 16 they get to see various related activities first hand, e.g. playing with various tools, constructing things etc. Being outside the home also allows them to develop their socializing skills to a better degree than girls, and they are therefore more at ease outside the home environment. Boys therefore develop the confidence to work with society and to have an advantage in the use of exploratory and participatory methods advocated. In some cultures, after a certain age, girls are not expected to look men directly in the eye and are expected to appear humble and respectful before their elders. This attitude and the subsequent socialization of girls, has a number of effects. One is that it makes it difficult for girls to fully benefit from the participatory, discovery methods that are recommended because they will be reluctant to ask questions, participate fully in discussions or work in groups with members of the opposite sex. This has a negative effect on their performance in social activities. Another issue is that because girls are expected to be obedient and socialized to feel that boys and men are in some ways their superiors; many are vulnerable to physical and sexual harassment and abuse and lack the confidence, skills and knowledge of such situations. This exposes them to the risk of pregnancy and STD's and the resulting consequences, including social dropout. This harassment has also been proved through research to have a negative effect on girls’ attitudes towards school and their ability to focus on and perform well in their social activities. Many parents and community members also have the attitude that educating girls is a waste of time and money, because they will eventually be married off and their education would therefore only benefit their husbands and the families they marry into. Money spent on the girl's education would thus be considered lost to the girls’ family. Since there was also the expectation that boys will become the "breadwinners" of their future families, many parents and community members felt that boys should for this reason be provided with the every advantage to help them fulfil this role, this includes educating them as far as possible. Girls, on the other hand, it is expected, will have husbands who will provide for them and an education is therefore not essential for them. Low education also debars them from social participation. Many parents also expresses the belief that boys would take care of them in their old age, thus providing them with a sense of security about their future while girls once married would be expected to take care of those in the families they married into. Thus in order to ensure that their sons will be able to carry out this responsibility, parents feel that they should provide their sons with social education so that they can in turn become better social participant. Girls are expected to take up the roles of wives and mothers in adulthood and their socialization at home, in the community and school is geared towards providing them with experiences that will prepare them to carry out these roles effectively. These expectations determine the division of labour within the household, with girls being assigned the home making household chores like food preparation, cooking, cleaning, fetching firewood and water, washing clothes and, caring for younger siblings. In addition to this in some areas girls are also expected to participate in farming activities. In Ghana, for example, girls were also observed to be the ones frequently engaged in petty trading in order to make extra income for the family. It was noted that previous research as well information gathered from students, parents indicated that generally girls spent considerably more time performing household tasks than boys. It was also noted that these chores were often performed by girls, either early in morning before school or in the evenings after school. This seems to keep them away from social participation.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 17 Girls are often treated as inferior and are socialized to put themselves last, thus undermining their self-esteem. Discrimination and neglect in childhood can initiate a lifelong downward spiral of deprivation and exclusion from the social mainstream. Girls are less encouraged than boys to participate in and learn about the social, economic and political functioning of society, with the result that they are not offered the same opportunities as boys to take part in decision-making processes. Defining Child Marriage UNICEF defines child marriage as a formal marriage or union before 18 years of age. UN Women defines child marriage as a forced marriage before 18 years of age because they believe children under age 18 are incapable of giving their consent. Children in Scotland can marry at 16 without any parental consent. Scotland is the only developed country where child marriage is legal. Child marriage is a common practice in many countries around the world; however it is especially prevalent in India, where more than one third of all child brides live. According to UNICEF, 47% of girls are married by 18 years of age, and 18% are married by 15 years of age. These marriages are often performed without the consent of the girls involved in the marriage. Indian law has made child marriage illegal, but it is still widely practiced across the nation. The highest rates are seen particularly in the rural states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. It affects both boys and girls, but statistics show that girls are far more likely to be forced into a child marriage than boys; however the percentage of girls forced into child marriage in India has declined in recent years.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 18 Child marriage, also known as Bal Vivaha, is believed to have begun during the medieval ages of India. At this time, the political atmosphere was turbulent and ruled by Delhi Sultans in an absolute monarchy government. The sultans had an extreme commitment to their religion and forced many to convert, causing socio-cultural unrest, and Hindu women suffered the most. These days of the Delhi Sultans produced practices such as child marriage and lowered the status of women even further. They invented the ill omen of giving birth to a female baby and believed that young unmarried girls caused disaster. Child marriage became a widespread cultural practice with various reasons to justify it, and many marriages were performed while the girl was still an infant. Purpose of Child Marriage Parents of a child entering into a child marriage are often poor and use the marriage as a way to make her future better, especially in areas with little economic opportunities. During times of war, parents often marry off their young child to protect her from the conflicts raging around her. Some families still use child marriage to build alliances, as they did during the medieval ages. Statistically, a girl in a child marriage has less of a chance to go to school, and parents think education will undermine her ability to be a traditional wife and mother. Virginity is an important part of Indian culture, and parents want to ensure their daughters do not have pre-marital sex, and child marriage is an easy way to fix this How to combat Child Marriage DUCATING AND EMPOWERING GIRLS Education is one of the most powerful tools to delay the age at which girls marry as school attendance helps shift norms around child marriage. Improving girls’ access to quality schooling will increase girls’ chances of gaining a secondary education and helps to delay marriage. When a girl in the developing world receives E Apni Beti, Apna Dhan (ABAD), which translates to "Our Daughter, Our Wealth," is one of India's first conditional cash transfer programmes dedicated to delaying young marriages across the nation. In 1994, the Indian government implemented this programme in the state of Haryana. On the birth of a mother's first, second, or third child, they are set to receive 500 or US$11 within the first 15 days to cover their post-delivery needs. Along with this, the government gives 2,500, or US$55, to invest in a long-term savings bond in the daughter's name, which can be later cashed for 25,000, or US$550, after her 18 birthday. She can only receive the money if she is not married. Anju Malhotra, an expert on child marriage and adolescent girls said of this programme, "No other conditional cash transfer has this focus of delaying marriage... It's an incentive to encourage parents to value their daughters."
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 19 seven or more years of education, she marries on average four years later. Empowering girls, by offering them opportunities to gain skills and education, providing support networks and creating ‘safe spaces’ where girls can gather and meet outside the home, can help girls to assert their right to choose when they marry. UPPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE TO BECOME ACTIVIST It is needed to set up youth groups, bringing together adolescent girls and boys to share their experiences and to encourage girls and boys to become advocates for change. It is needed to encourage dialogue between youth groups and local community leaders or government officials on the issues that affect young people, including child marriage. OBILISING AND EDUCATING COMMUNITIES Laws alone won’t end child marriage – in many instances legislation is not enforced as many local authorities are reluctant to be seen as interfering in the private affairs of families. Many are simply unaware of the scale of child marriage and the harmful impact it can have. It is needed to raise awareness among communities of the impact of child marriage such as street theatre, bicycle rallies, and encouraging community dialogue, which often results in a collective community pledge to end child marriage. RINGING MEN AND TRADITIONAL LEADERS ON BOARD Religious and traditional leaders, too, can play a key role in speaking out against child marriage and changing community attitudes. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has spoken forcefully on the need for men and boys, as well as religious and traditional leaders, to support efforts to end child marriage. NACTING AND ENFORCING LAWS THAT SET A LEGAL MINIMUM AGE FOR MARRIAGE While most countries legislate for a minimum legal age for marriage, this is often not enforced. Some countries continue to have a legal age for marriage lower than in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The legal age for marriage is also higher for men than women in many countries. S M B E
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 20 NTRODUCING INCENTIVES Introducing economic incentives can help to encourage families to consider alternatives to child marriage. Incentives include microfinance schemes to help girls support themselves and their families, and providing loans, subsidies and conditional cash transfers to parents of girls at risk of becoming child brides. AISING AWARENESS IN MEDIA It is needed to use mass media campaigns to raise awareness about general rights and laws and the impact of child marriage. We should aim to both raise awareness among the general public and to pressurize government and community leaders to take action to end this practice. THER METHODS OF COMBATING CHILD MARRIAGE Adopting a clear and unambiguous position on child and forced marriages and rectifying the legislative loopholes between religious, customary and civil marriages (Ouagadougou Declaration on Child Marriage, October 2003) • Introducing laws to raise the legal age of marriage to 18 years, as agreed in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child • Raising the awareness of all stakeholders, including parents, on the negative impacts of child marriage • Creating safety nets for girls and young women who escape a forced, and often violent, marriage • Creating and maintaining birth, death and marriage data registries with full national coverage in all countries as recommended in the Pinheiro report on violence against children (2006) • Promoting and protecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and young women, through legislation, availability of services and information and community outreach • Promoting gender equality and the right of girls and young women to education Press Release UNICEF: Preventing Child Marriage To prevent child marriage a wide range of individuals and organizations, from community leaders to international bodies, must take action. A first step is to inform parents and young people about the negative implications of child marriage so they can choose to prevent it. I R O
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 21 Education is a key in this process. Persuading parents to keep their daughters in school is critical for the overall development of girls - and in the postponement of marriage. Sri Lanka and the Indian state of Kerala are good examples. Both have a high age of first marriage. Both also have given priority to girls' education. "This has changed the way men and women perceive their roles and potential, and has led to a greater support for the rights of women than is found in many other parts of (South Asia)," says the report. For girls who are already married, services must be developed to counsel them on issues ranging from abuse to reproduction. Girls aged 15 to 19 give birth to 15 million babies a year. Many of them do so without attending an ante-natal clinic or receiving the help of a professional midwife. These can have serious repercussions on the health of both mother and child. What is UNICEF doing to address the problem of early marriage? UNICEF addresses child marriage as part of its broader approach to gender discrimination, which undermines the right of women and children. UNICEF's Global Girls' Education Programme operates in more than 60 countries to ensure that girls have an equal opportunity at education, which is a key in postponing marriage and for the overall development of girls. In addition to supporting advocacy and communication campaigns in several countries, UNICEF also has helped develop two successful initiatives in the regions with highest rate of child marriage, South Asia and sub-Saharan African. The Meena initiative in South Asia is named after the young cartoon heroine of a multi-media package and serves as a catalyst for discussion on gender discrimination in childhood. Issues covered include son preference, unfair treatment of girls in the family, their lesser access to health and education services, harmful traditional practices such as dowry and sexual harassment, as well as early marriage. Building on Meena's success, the Sara Adolescent Girl Communication Initiative has been developed in 10 Eastern and Southern African countries. The importance of staying in school is one of the main messages of this radio series. Other issues covered "Forcing children, especially girls, into early marriages can be physically and emotionally harmful," said Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of UNICEF. "It violates their rights to personal freedom and growth. Yet until now there has been virtually no attempt to examine child marriage as a human rights violation in and of itself." A report by the UNICEF revealed that 82 per cent of girls in Rajasthan are married before they are 18, 15 per cent of girls in rural areas across the country are married before 13 and a major 52 per cent of girls have their first pregnancy between 15 and 19. By the Indian law, it is illegal to allow or facilitate marriage of a boy under 21 and a girl under 18. Amongst all the states in India, it is Rajasthan that tops the list with the average age of a girl at marriage being 16.6 years, closely followed by Bihar (17.2 years) and Madhya Pradesh (17 years).
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 22 include, HIV/AIDS, domestic workload, FGM and early marriage. UR PLAN OF ACTION For a long time in the country of India, we have witnessed a son preference and a neglect of girls. Women conceive female babies through selective abortion and hereby cause an imbalanced sex ratio of boys to girls 100: 80. Though laws have been passed to prohibit abortions, the problem of gender preference still remains due to the strong social practice. O “One is not born, but is made a women” - Simone de Beauvoir
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 23 Given the status quo, we believe, more effective approaches should be taken in order to alter the situation. By our definition, to incentivize the rearing of girls means the government financially supports families who raise girls through enhanced education subsidy, state welfare for babies and new mothers and cash reward. Namely we offer free education at a high school level for all the female students. We provide free medical cares for baby girls and new mothers. We also transfer cash as a reward to the bank accounts of those families who raise girls. EFENCE FOR GENDER EQUALITY Gender equality means that everyone is equally entitled to all the rights and freedoms without distinction of sex. We defend the gender equality, on most occasions, in order to protect women’s rights. Because the female are often disempowered due to the weaker physical condition, negative social practices and religious doctrines, particularly in the developing countries like India. Why do we defend gender equality? Because we believe in modern time when the prosperity of a country or the happiness of a household is mostly linked people’s knowledge but not the labour, women are no less capable than men and play an equally important role in the society. Furthermore, in certain perspectives, women even play a crucial role that can’t be substituted by men, for example pregnancy. If we let along the prevailing of son preference, it severely enhances the discrimination against the female in the following ways: Firstly, it’s a full recognition that girls are actually at a disadvantaged position. It’s a simple logic: we prefer sons, for girls are disempowered. For instance, we want sons, for we assume that sons are more likely to provide financial and emotional care when we’re getting old. Secondly, it kills the chances for any improvements. If we don’t incentivize the rearing of girls, children grow in an environment in which they witness, feel and even conduct the discrimination. Brothers have good foods, wear fancy clothes and go to better schools, while sisters are often neglected by their parents. When they become parents, they tend to pass along the discrimination. To tackle the discrimination, we have to do it at the first place. That is to say, there’s no gender preference when you want a baby. BALANCED SEX RATIO IS ESSENTIAL FOR SOCIAL STABILITY In a genetic perspective, the sex ratio of human population should be 1:1 and this is also a balanced ratio applying with the law of nature. Obviously, a balanced sex ratio makes it happen that theoretically every man can find a woman for marriage. In a biological perspective, this ensures the human reproduction and furthermore satisfies D A A pregnant woman is dependent on the mother-in-law and husband for any treatment that she needs. Atrocities against women have risen. Every 26 minutes a woman is molested. Every 34 minutes a rape takes place. Every 42 minutes a sexual harassment incident occurs. Every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped. And every 93 minutes a woman is burnt to death over dowry. One-quarter of the reported rapes involve girls under the age of 16 but they are never reported.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 24 each side’s sexual desire. In a social perspective, most individual is included in the basic units of the society ---- nuclear families. Through mutual-assistance, every family member is guaranteed with psychological, financial care and thus works and rests normally. With every individual enjoys a normal life within a family, the goal of social stability and sustainable development is reached. A balanced sex ratio lays foundation for all these above. A serious imbalanced sex ratio certainly harms India. First of all, it contributes to an increase in crime. As an emerging power, Indian society is a highly-competitive in which people live under much pressure along with so many negative emotions. Therefore people are very to feel lonely and helpless without mental and financial care from family. It’s quite possible for people of this sort to conduct crimes when they find that there’s no way out. Secondly, it incentivizes the human trafficking. For the continuation of family linage which is quite crucial in the Indian culture, people make every effort to form a family. When there’s actually no chance to form a family in common way, they do it by buying a wife. It does happen in China, Indian’s neighbouring country which shares with it similar oriental culture, economic situation and imbalanced sex ratio. Thirdly, it demands for prostitution and thus further weakens women’s social status. Men’s social desires can’t be eradicated. A large number of bachelors are sure to raise the demand for prostitution, for they don’t have wives as regular sexual companion. Prostitution that treats women as sexual tools violates women’s right. LECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE Increase investment in electronic surveillance so that it detects all crimes against women/children. Intelligence is the Key. The adverse fallout will be that we become a "Police State". There needs to be safeguards against the misuse of surveillance. Once detected, justice should be delivered in a short time. Appeals should not be allowed unless the process of reaching the judgement itself is flawed or laws of Natural Justice have not been followed. Punishments/fines should have a deterrent effect like in other developing Asian countries/City states. RANSPARENCY IN ADMINISTRATION Enhance transparency in administration of the justice system - from the time a complaint is made till the time a punishment is awarded. Wonder why the accused are hooded - do they need protection or are they to be anonymous? Video cameras should be fitted in every police station and it should be accessible through the internet for anyone who is interested in remotely watching what happens in a police station. Unless the trial is in Camera, even the trial proceedings should be transparent. Police should be accountable to the people who reside in the jurisdiction of that police station. Citizen should have a right to ask the police for accountability as they are paid from taxes collected from the citizen. In short - decentralise governance to the lowest level possible subject to laws of the land. E T How sad is this!!!!!! In many homes across the country, girls are treated with indifference. Daughters are considered as liabilities. Outside one sex determination clinic in Haryana, it was written, pay Rs. 50 now rather than pay Rs. 50, 000 later (as dowry).
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 25 UBLIC TRANSPORT SAFETY All public transport should be under surveillance and tracked. It does not cost much. The control centre of the DTC or any other body operating the services should be able to communicate to the driver and passengers in the vehicle. The contact number of the control centre and details of the driver should be prominently displayed in the vehicle. A complaint from the commuter should activate the safety mechanisms (immobilise the vehicle at a busy junction) and activate the police with the precise location of the vehicle. E SHOULD TAKE RESPONSIBILITY My only view is that let us see what we can do from our area of control, do any of us respond on the spot if we see something going wrong or somebody eve-teasing, should we as each individual not muster courage and take them on, generally in market or malls or roads there are hundreds of people but when we see something we turn our face and move on , OK we need to take care of our safety also but one thing is abundant on Indian roads and that is stones of all the sizes , just pick one and start throwing , it is 0.1 or 0.2 % people who do these things but balance are too afraid to even shout. Let us start doing what we can do from our area of control- shout or throw stone and not wait for police to arrive or government to make some more laws. HANGE OF MENTALITY In India, women are not safe at all. In literature it is mentioned that women needs escort all the time. I don't believe in it. We need freedom, I need freedom. We are talking of death penalty for rapist. Now think, if father is rapping his own daughter, then what punishment will one give? If molester is brother or uncle or close relative friend, then what punishment will one give? We need High Morality, Values consciousness’s mentality. Improve training and mentality. Improve Values. It is most important for us .Women need to give training and teach our male folks P W C
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 26 good values and morality to our children. Women no longer think it is a taboo. So, wake up women, be active in saving your female progeny. HANGE IN ATTITUDE & APPROACH WHETHER AT WORK OR WITHIN OUR PERSONAL SPACE. Armchair activism or even actively participating in such movements has little meaning if we don’t change ourselves or as in many cases the hypocritical attitude-- we say one thing but our activities reflect an entirely different attitude. Even educated people resort to violence & apathy-- be it domestic violence or driving by when we see somebody in trouble publicly. Attitudes decide what an individual does. It flows from Values that one holds dear. Values are ingrained by Culture. So we need a Cultural change- The most difficult for a Nation to achieve. It is a long shot. MPARTING “REAL” EDUCATION Education is not accumulation of Degrees, Diplomas etc. There are so many criminals who have degrees. The true meaning of education is to make an individual a "useful" member of the society. Are our families, schools and colleges aligned to this aim? We need to introspect. Indian culture itself teaches right from childhood but still Criminals are from society and organised crimes are day by day increasing ...Why? It’s not just women. If we go back and check the records or the cases which are not registered do think in last 65 years of freedom and democracy these type of crimes did not took place or we everyone know but were silent. Fact is its time to wake up. Self- defence is must and part of education system; Respect for females is not to be taught. It’s in our blood, but still if law and order and judiciary system gets restructured with modern times to avoid organised crimes. Adding more female super cops with martial arts and latest gadgets, technologies to avoid such crimes UPPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE TO BECOME ACTIVIST It is needed to set up youth groups, bringing together adolescent girls and boys to share their experiences and to encourage girls and boys to become advocates for change. It is needed to encourage dialogue between youth groups and local community leaders or government officials on the issues that affect young people, including child marriage. OBILISING AND EDUCATING COMMUNITIES Laws alone won’t end child marriage – in many instances legislation is not enforced as many local authorities are reluctant to be seen as interfering in the private affairs of families. Many are simply unaware of the scale of child marriage and the harmful impact it can have. It is needed to raise awareness among communities of the impact of child marriage such as street theatre, bicycle rallies, and encouraging community dialogue, which often results in a collective community pledge to end child marriage. C I S M
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 27 RINGING MEN AND TRADITIONAL LEADERS ON BOARD Religious and traditional leaders, too, can play a key role in speaking out against child marriage and changing community attitudes. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has spoken forcefully on the need for men and boys, as well as religious and traditional leaders, to support efforts to end child marriage. If there is a will then there is a way we can bring down crime against women and children. Girl Child- Future of India Perseverance and inspiration often leads to privilege but without hard work and dedication they'll be no success. The hardest profession to take in life is being a girl child. Discrimination and discrepancy are two most important factors that hamper the journey of every female from the earliest stage of life. Starting from her presence into her mother’s womb to infancy, childhood and finally to adulthood, she is outnumbered by the male dominating society of the country. India is a country where social disadvantage outweighs natural biological advantage of being a girl. A whole range of discriminatory practices including female foeticide, female infanticide, female genital mutilation, son idolization, early marriage and dowry have buried the future of the nation. In India, discriminatory practices have greatly influenced the health and well-being of a girl child, resulting in a higher mortality rate. It is believed that every year 12 million girls are born in the country but unfortunately only 1/3 of those survive. Some are killed in the womb, some at the time of birth, some die due to ill health and some due to poor nutritional status. Only a few numbers of girls are able to survive till their 15th birthday. Female feticide and infanticide are the most popular social evils prevailing in the country. This evil is the outcome of poverty, illiteracy and gender discrimination. The country fails to understand, how a mother can be so ruthless and vulnerable. It is said that God created mothers because He could not be present everywhere. It is unbelievable to realize that a God’s representative is continuously killing someone beautiful even before she can come out and see the beauty of nature. It’s painful to confess that the trend still exists in various parts of the country. States like Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Punjab are most popular for practicing female foeticide and infanticide. Poverty, gender discrimination and son preference have also influenced the nutritional status of a girl child. There are almost 75 million malnourished children existing in the country. It is estimated that 75% of the total malnourished children are girls who show signs of chronic and acute B
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 28 malnutrition. Girls who manage to cross this hard phase of life, gets trapped by the evil society during adolescence and teenage. These are the stages where more nutrition is required for normal growth and development. Unfortunately, nutritional needs are neglected for girls and they are often kept locked within the four walls. Exacerbate discrimination against female for nutrition and education has led to an increase in child marriage, reduction in fertility rates and population growth, potentially, women’s participation in nurturing the future of every nation. Improper nutrition during adolescence results in various reproductive health disorders. The effects of these disorders further exacerbates by early marriage, closely spaced pregnancies, poor access to information about family planning, traditional practices, etc. Girl child is the future of every nation and India is no exception. A little amount of care, a handful of warmth and a heart full of love for a girl child can make a big difference. Close your eyes, free your thoughts and hear the voice of God, He is saying something to all of us, “Save Me”.
  • Girl Rights and Protection in India 29 THANK YOU DEEPSHIKHA RANA