Rooted problem of gender
discrimination and immense
ignorance towards women
empowerment: The most
deplorable situation of our
country is gender
"You can tell the condition of a Nation by looking at the status of its
So, how is women's status in India? Today's India offers a lot of
opportunities to women, with women having a voice in everyday
life, the business world as well as in political life. Nevertheless India is
still a male dominated society, where women are often seen as
subordinate and inferior to men.
True it is that, India being the land where since the time immemorial a
women has been personified as the mighty preserver of the nature
itself, yet from the text of Tulsidas ;“
” to the Delhi gang rape the parallel reality
witnesses the bitter and unnerving state of women in the country.
The male dominant society of India makes its women habitual of this
discrimination. As a result, most women fail to understand their own
rights and freedom. There are many spheres of life where women are
denied opportunities. Discrimination against females starts with their
birth and continues through their lives.
This vicious cycle of discrimination begins from the birth of a girl child. The
cultural construct of Indian society which reinforces gender bias against men
and women, with varying degrees and variable contexts against the opposite
sex, has led to the continuation of India’s strong preference for male children.
Female infanticide, a sex-selective abortion, is adopted and strongly reflects
the low status of Indian women.
The span of woman`s life experience a variable hunch of discrimination at
FROM WOMB TO CRADLE
Female infanticide, a sex-selective abortion, is adopted and strongly reflects
the low status of Indian women. Though “prenatal sex discrimination” was
legally banned in 1996, the law is nearly impossible to enforce and is not even
familiar to all Indian families. Hence, the preference for a male child
persists, quite often out of mere practical and financial concerns.
FROM A GIRL TO A WOMAN
where limited food or financial resources are available, the insufficient means
are prone to be allocated unevenly in favour of the male offspring resulting in
insufficient care afforded to girls and women, and is the major reasons for the
high levels of child malnutrition. They never reach their full growth
potential. Thus create risk factors in pregnancy, complicating childbearing
and resulting in maternal and infant deaths, as well as low birth weight
infants. India's constitution guarantees free primary school education for
both girls and boys up to age 14 but primary education in India is not
universal, and often times not seen as really necessary for girls. The practise
of child marriages is inclined to experience domestic violence, marital
rape, deprivation of food, and lack of access to information, healthcare, and
From a Woman to a bride
There is no cultural or religious tradition upon who the most ghastly
incidents of female oppression can be justified.Practise of dowry and
stigmatization of widows shows lacuna in the prevailing laws. Differential
wages and right of inheritance have been mere customs and are unjust and
Thus in the land of Goddesses women are still finding there place and
position to settle down with a significant identity.
SEX RATIO,GENDERICIDES AND INDIA.
Census 2011 shows decline of girl population (as a percentage to total
population) under the age of seven, with activists estimating that eight million
female fetuses may have been aborted in the past decade.
The 2005 census shows infant mortality figures for females and males are 61
and 56, respectively, out of 1000 live births.
A decline in the child sex ratio(0-6 years) was observed with India’s 2011
census reporting that it stands at 914 females against 1,000 males, dropping
from 927 in 2001 - the lowest since India’s independence.
There are significant imbalances in the male/female population in India
where the sex ration at birth is 113; there are also huge local differences from
Northern / Western regions such as Punjab or Delhi, where the sex ratio is as
high as 125, to Southern / Eastern India e.g. Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, where
sex ratios are around 105.
Since 1991, 80% of districts in India have recorded an increasingly
masculine sex ratio with the state of Punjab having the most masculine sex
ratio. According to the decennial Indian census, the sex ratio in the 0-6 age
group in India went from 104.0 males per 100 females in 1981, to 105.8 in
1991, to 107.8 in 2001, to 109.4 in 2011. The ratio is significantly higher in
certain states such as Punjab and Haryana (126.1 and 122.0, as of 2001).
India is one of the few countries where males outnumber females; the
sex ratio at birth (SRB) – which shows the number of boys born to every
100 girls - is usually consistent in human populations, where about 105
males are born to every 100 females.
EDUCATION ,EMPLOYMENT AND WOMEN IN INDIA.
The female literacy rate in India is lower than the male literacy
rate. According to Census of India 2011, literacy rate of females is 65.46%
compared to males which is 82.14%.
Literacy for females stands at 65.46%, compared to 82.14% for males.
As per Census 2011, the work participation rate for females is 25.7 %
whereas that of males is 51.9 %.
fifth Economic Census 2005, at all India level, percentage of total adult
female workers in the total persons employed is 19.3 %.
Indian women on average earning 64% of what their male counterparts earn
for the same occupation and level of qualification.
CRIME AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA
National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a woman is
committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 29
minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes, and one case of cruelty
committed by either the husband or relative of the victim occurs every nine
According to Indian National Crime Record Bureau, there were 8,239 dowry
death cases, 1,285 cases of attempted dowry deaths, and another 4,890 cases
with pending investigations in 2009.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 bans marriage below age 18 for
girls and age 21 for boys, but some 80 % of Indians live in villages where
family, caste and community pressures are more effective than any legislature.
According to UNICEF's "State of the World's Children 2009" report, 47% of
India's women aged 20–24 were married before the legal age of 18, with 56%
in rural areas. The report also showed that 40% of the world's child marriages
occur in India.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation survey says that India is the fourth most
dangerous place in the world for women to live in.
A paper published in the International Journal of Criminology and
Sociological Theory shows that in 2007, there were 20,737 reported case of
rape, 8,093 cases of death due to dowry, and 10,950 cases of sexual
harassment with total crime of 185,312 A U.N. Population Fund report claimed
that up to 70 percent of married women aged 15–49 in India are victims of
beatings or coerced sex.
SOCIO ECONOMIC STATUS OF WOMEN IN INDIA
In total 11 million abortions take place annually and around 20,000 women
die every year due to abortion related complications.
As per NFHS-3, (2005-06), at all India level, 52.5% of currently married
women participate in household decisions.
As on 9/1/2007, women members constitute only 9.07% of the National
In 2004, 47.95% of the total electors were females.
As per NFHS-3 (2005-06), only 54 % of the rural women have exposure to
media (TV, radio or newspaper once in a week) whereas 87% of the urban
women have exposure to media.
In 2006, 42410 females committed suicide which is 35.91 % of the total
suicides committed in the
57 % of ever married women (15-49 yrs) have heard of AIDS whereas the
corresponding figure for men is 80 % with a significant urban - rural gap.
The percentage of ever married women (15-49 yrs) who know that
consistent condom use can reduce the
chances of getting HIV/ AIDS (34.7 %) was significantly low compared to men’s
awareness level (68.1%)
A PROBLEM WITH A SOLUTION
Gender inequality is a problem that has a solution. Two decades of
innovation, experience, and activism have shown that achieving the goal
of greater gender equality and women’s empowerment is possible. There
are many practical steps that can reduce inequalities based on gender—
inequalities that restrict the potential to reduce poverty and achieve high
levels of well-being in societies around the world. There are also many
positive actions that can empower women. Without leadership and
political will, however, the world will fall short of taking these practical
steps—and meeting the Goal. Because gender inequality is deeply rooted
in entrenched attitudes, societal institutions, and market forces, political
commitment at the highest international and national levels is essential to
institute the policies that can trigger social change and to allocate the
resources necessary for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“Rome was not built in a day.”
A mindset, a thought, an institution like patriarchy can not eroded in a day, rather it
needs efforts, strategized ones and not direction less. Therefore to begin with one must
recognize the domains of work where the effort should be channelized;
Thus one should first Identifying the dimensions of gender equality
Based on past analyses of gender in society, adoption of an operational framework for
understanding gender equality that has 3 main Dimensions : The capabilities domain,
which refers to basic human abilities as measured by education, health, and nutrition.
These capabilities are fundamental to individual well-being and are the means through
which individuals access.
The access to resources and opportunities domain, which refers primarily
to equality in the opportunity to use or apply basic capabilities through
access to economic assets (such as land, property, or infrastructure) and
resources (such as income and employment), as well as political opportunity
(such as representation in parliaments and other political bodies).
Without access to resources and opportunities, both political and
economic, women will be unable to employ their capabilities for their
well-being and that of their families, communities, and societies.
The security domain, which is defined here to mean reduced vulnerability
to violence and conflict. Violence and conflict result in physical and psychological harm
and lessen the ability of individuals, households, and communities to fulfill their
potential. Violence directed specifically at women and girls often aims at keeping
them in “their place” through fear.
India, the largest democracy has a well structured form of administration yet a grave
problem like this has persisted even after half a decade of independence.
Synthesising the working of its three organs in this arena i.e. legislature, executive
and judiciary one could clearly trace the following reasons behind the status quo;
LEGISLATURE when talked about, there is no dearth of legislations in the country
that aim to transgress the gender norm and set aside the mishap that has become a
quintessential definition of life of an Indian woman. Thus regarding these few
essential aspects are worth noticing;
• The existing law and provisions have ‘n’ number of loop holes.
•They lack sufficient penal sanctions that could bring a deterrent effect.
•Lack of recognition and awareness of such laws and rights at places where the
society is still entangled with the common socio economic problem and patriarchal
Enforcement of these legislations and enactments is the job of EXECUTIVE which is
further delegated to administrative authorities at different levels from where the
unending stories of bribery, corruption, neglect, exploitation so on and so forth that
leaves the main issues behind the doors.
JUDICIARY an organ that was aimed to review the later two is nothing but spoken for
its pace that couldn`t be more than an old Galapagos. Hence being the last resort it is
not of much help for half of the population lets assume females in the instant case.
Therefore Besides this understanding the need of women empowerment and not
considering women as a material or a tangible assets is important to remove the
patriarchal mindset of the people of the nation.
There is no dearth of legislations and statutory rulings that were brought into existence
to ensure the upliftment of the women thus ensuring inclusive growth however what
has failed is the implementation machinery and insufficient penal sanctions attached
to same. Thus simple yet little hard to follow are the step to women empowerment;
There have been many enactments like pre natal diagnostics act ,Medical termination
of pregnancy act etc to put an end to female infanticides and illegal abortion which
have a set of guidelines regarding issuance of medical license to do so thus the
delegation of power grants a discretion on the authorities who in turn misuse them.
This is just another example of how the such enactments loose their authority .Thus
proper enforcement of the provision by the executing authorities is the only way to
achieve the minimum goal.
Rising population and stigmatization of the each and every matter involving women
has been a hearsay problem in the country since ages Thus there is a need of gender
sensitization in every class of the society irrespective of caste and social status.
They say frailty thy name is woman however women have number of times
rose against all odds to prove their existence. Yet a long journey to claim the
road and the night too.