Women's Rights and Gender Equality Kareena Gupta

Some of the main questions that I had before I began my research project was 'what are the differences and similarities between women and men's rights,' and, 'what are higher figures in India doing to increase gender equality?'

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The gap between the two genders is large in India and it constantly characterizes Indian society in every way. India has not done a lot by making the gap between men and women smaller and this is quite disappointing. In the past ten years, there has been a huge decline in female labor participation from 34% to 27%. The male to female wage gap has been at 50% for a long time as well. In India, there are more women who are getting raped, dowry deaths, and honor killings. Also, in India, many parents favor their son. The son is the person who takes care of his parents in their old age, where as their daughter has no connection. Also, when a women gets married to a man, the women's parents have to give money to the men's parents which shows a form of superior to the groom. This idea of dowry has increased over time and expanded in many countries. Fortunately, dowry has been banned across all countries who first attainted it. This shows a sign of improvement and progression towards creating equal rights for men and women without making women feel inferior.

I also noticed that many people are taking action in creating more equal environments for men and women. For example, in India, the Haji Ali temple in Mumbai, India, changed its rules about who was allowed and who wasn't. Originally, women were only allowed on the exterior of the premises, and men were allowed on the interior. This law was eventually altered and now women and men are both allowed on the inside and outside of the temple. The authorities changed this law because they realized that they have no right to discriminate women from entering the temple.

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One note that I found interesting is about America and India's freedom. India gained its freedom on August 15, 1947, and American gained its freedom on July 4, 1776. It has been quite a while since these two countries have acquired their freedom. I asked myself a question of 'what does freedom really mean?' To me, freedom means that all individuals, including men and women, and others have a right to say and do whatever they wish. What I found confusing, yet ironic is that even after these two countries have gained their independence, there was still discrimination between people. In America there was discrimination between African Americans and Caucasians and in India, there was and still is discrimination between males and females. It makes me wonder what is the point of having freedom if not everybody can have it.

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In Hinduism, women are and were treated well and with respect. In Hinduism, half, if not more, of the gods and goddesses are women and they are worshipped with respect. Also, in the households of Hindu people, women are not allowed to be independent and are under the control of their fathers, husbands, and sons. Their roles are to care for their husbands and their children. In other words, they are the housewives, where as, the men work and make the money in the family.

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in India and America have many similarities and differences when it comes to women's rights and gender equality. For example, when women and abused or taken advantage of, in both countries, there are laws that state that the person who committed the crime must serve a certain amount of years in jail. The number of years may vary from country to country. Where as, in America, many women speak up and verbalize what they have been through and they enforce the law even more. But, in India, many women feel ashamed about their experiences and they do not wish to verbalize what has happened to them and it eventually becomes unattended to. They feel as if their reputation will ruin. Also, women are not allowed to wear whatever they wish in India and still have some disciplined rules. They cannot wear short skirts or shorts. They are supposed to wear long pants and longer shirts that come close to knee length. Where as, in America, there is more freedom of right and clothing about what a woman wishes to wear. They can dress themselves however they want and whatever satisfies them. Lastly, in India, many women are not allowed to stay out late due to possible dangerous actions. In America, women are allowed to stay out late as long as they wish. Overall, it shows that women in America have more freedom and a greater amount of rights and in India, there are stricter rules, and women have less freedom and equality.

One idea I found interesting is that even though America is ahead of India in its rights for women, there has been a woman prime minister, who is Indira Gandhi, and America has never had a woman president. We were close to having a woman president in the election of 2016, but we eventually it did not happen. It contradicts the idea that America is more advance when it comes to gender equality than India.

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There are many legacies in India. One particular legacy in India is the fact about its treatment and respect for women. Not all legacy has to be a great legacy, some can be poor, but can turn into a marvelous legacy. In the past, women are not much importance to a Hindu family living in India. Even to this day, with some advancements on women freedom and equality, they are still not nearly as important as men in the family. Their job still remains that housewife who takes care of the husband, kids, and makes sure that the house stays clean. I think it is important that Americans are aware of the legacy of Hinduism so they can help take an initiative to increase women's rights and gender equality in India. They can eventually bridge the gap between men and women.

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