Gender Inequlity and Woman's Rights In India By Arya Patel

What Question Did I Investigate and Why?

I investigated the question "What are some examples gender equality improving, and what are some examples of with gender inequality staying the same or getting worse in India?".

I chose to investigate this question because I wanted to see how India was advancing, in terms of gender equality. I wanted to find out how India still had gender equality staying the same, or getting worse, because I wanted to see how I might be able to help fight against the inequality.

Sakshi Malik's Story

Sakshi Malik with her bronze medal, at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Sakshi Malik is the 1st Indian female wrestler in the Olympics; she won bronze, was the first Indian to take a medal in this past years 2016 summer Olympics, and is only the 4th woman to win a medal. She was born in Rohtak, Haryana; a town which has one of the largest gender gaps in the state (for example, woman weren't even to ride the train with men, until 2002). Her town didn't allow women to wrestle with men until 2005, and some time before that, didn't allow women to wrestle at all. With the help of her parents support, she worked very hard, defying the idea's of many people in her town...city....country and won, and won, and won until she won bronze at the Olympics. She decided to a wrestler, because she wanted to be just like grandfather (who was also a wrestler).

How She's Impacted India

Sakshi's impact on India (after the Olympics) was in the sports sector. Her actions have made sports officers welcome girls into stadiums with pride (something not done often previously). Also, Narendra Modi congratulated her on his Twitter, which gave attention to the fact that a WOMAN did it. She also is a role model for the people of India; especially for woman and girls, to show that they aren't weak and don't need protection (they are strong and can fend for themselves).

Politics

Woman in Politics

Just 12.2 percent of parlimentary seats (in the world's largest democracy) are held by women. This is extremely low (lower than Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan).

The governer of Rajasthan has created an executive order, which says that people with less than 8 years of formal education, can't run for villlage council head. Even though this was created to have more effective and less corrupt administrations, the real effect will be to disempower woman. This is so, because this prevents more than 3/4 of the female population to be able to run for office. This will also be a problem, since 40% of village council heads in this state are female, so with this executive order, it might not allow many of these women to run for re-election.

Inequality in Office

According to some women politicians, if a women manages to win an election, they have to work harder to prove themselves (compared to men). This makes them feel like they have a bigger duty to fulfill.

Political Leaders Trying to Fight For Woman

Image of Amit Shah giving a speech

Amit Shah (President of the BJP policial party in India), says that he will raise the issue of triple talaq (a way/practice to get rid of a marriage) being against woman's rights. He also says that his party should try to change the personal laws that discriminate againstt woman. A third thing he says is that his party should try to change some traditional practices, that has gender biases

Government; Acts and Programs

The Women's Reservation Bill, which would give 33% of Parliament's seats to women, is promising. However, the bill still hasn't been passed by the higher house, despite it being cleared by the lower house in 2010. The bill hasn't been passed, because of the two opposing idea's between the political parties.

Also, the Equal Remuneraction Act was passed in 1976, but there hasn't beeen real enforcement or following of this act. There needs to be stricter policy and legislative, in order for there to be a real effect in India.

Another way the Indian Government has been trying to fight this issue of gender inequality is that that they announced a 33% reservation for women in the police force of union territories (like Delhi). The government did this to make the police for more gender-inclusive, and give women more opportunities.

Marrying and Divorcing

Marrying

Many woman have an arranged marriage. Many common responsible for women (espically in rural, traditional areas) are to do all household chores, expected to obey their in-laws', not allowed to take paid work. They don't control the families money. Also, in some rural areas, women are not allowed to wear western clothing, meet friends after dark, and leaving the house without permission. They almost have to act like slaves.

Divorcing

Map of India, showing the number of divorces in different areas in 2011.

Women often have to wait a long time (sometimes years) for a case to process, because of the slow process in India. They get little legal support during the case, and after all that time don't end up with that much after a divorce, since there is no such thing as shared matrimonial property or equal division of assets in India. Also, it leaves woman in a vulnerable position; they get very little financial provisions afterwards and don't have much. So, most woman have to choose to stay with their husband, which could be dangerous (if they're abusive).

The Preference For Boys

Boys are more preferred than girls, in India. One thing legal in India, but people have, are sex-selective abortions, when they have a girl.

A traditional idea is that boys are expected to take care of their parents, not females. This is because men generally live with their parents, versus females, which have to leave their families once they're married.

Another traditional idea is that having a boy is better than having a girl, because girls cost more. One way they cost more is in their weddings (the girls parents have to pay for all the expensive jewelry, dowery, etc.).

Rajasthan has a terrible record on women’s education and female empowerment. According to the 2011 census, there were 883 girls for every 1,000 boys under age 6 there, compared to the countries average 914 girls to 1,000 boys ratio (which is still bad). This is probably because the state has some of the highest sex-selective abortions and a small amount of parental investments for girls (compared to boys).

The Economy

Archana Desai's Story

Archana Desai is a 35 year-old Indian woman. The company which she worked at had to downsize, so she had to give up her job. With an MBA degree, she currently is employed as a part-time tutor at a coaching institute. She is earning a fraction of what her previous job paid. She said "Though I'm technically qualified to hold a manager's position, I'm stuck with something I don't have any passion for. Why can't the government provide jobs for women like us?".

What Her Story Relates To

Many Indian woman are facing the similar problems, but with any level of education; there aren't enough good jobs for women (with various qualifications), or the jobs don't pay well.

Woman in India, working in big factory.

In the labor force are only able to find small work, with low wages and little or no job security.

Well-qualified young urban women say they have limited job options. Uemployment for woman with graduate degrees or better qualifications continues to be a 15.7% (high) some states the report.

Educated urban women are unable to find opportunities that fit their profiles. Almost 46% of urban women with regular wages have no social security or employment benefits. Also, around 58% of urban women don't have written contracts for their jobs.

Effects Of Gender Equality on the Economy

The effects of gender equality on the economy can be great; an estimated 2.9 trillion dollars can be added to India's GDP by 2025, if gender equality improves in the workplace.

Legacy Of Hinduism

The main legacy of Hinduism expressed in modern-day gender inequality, is the roles of women in society (almost like their dharma).

One example is how in The Laws Of Manu, it states "Women must be honored and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands, and brothers-in-law, who desire their own welfare". This is shown in modern day India, because women still must obey their in-laws, husbands, etc.

Another example is also from The Laws Of Manu, which says "She must always be cheerful, clever in the management of her household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, and economical in expenditure". This is shown in modern day India, because women are still responsible for being the housekeepers of their house.

A third example is from The Laws Of Manu. The law states "By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house". This shows in modern-day India, because in some areas of India, woman and girls still have ask if they can go somewhere outside of their house, before going their.

Why is it Important for American's to know the legacy of Hinduism?

It is important for American's to known the legacy of Hinduism, because you don't want to accidentally offend someone, because what you think they're doing is wrong, but really they are just trying to follow the rules of Hinduism.

For example, if a girl you know says that she can't go outside after dark (and you know she practices Hindusim), you would know why they can't go out, and wouldn't have to ask her. This would be better than asking them "why can't you go out", which might make them feel self-conscious.

New Questions I have, After Rearching

Some new questions I have are:

  • Has the GII (Gender Inequality Index) always been this low (India was rated 130th out of 155 countries in 2015)?
  • Why aren't laws, which help the fight for gender equality, not enforced very much.
  • FOLLOW UP: Are the current laws not strict enough to begin with?

Image Sources

  • http://www.cfr.org/india/governance-india-womens-rights/p30041
  • http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/rio-2016-olympics/india-in-olympics-2016/wrestling/Rio-Olympics-Wrestler-Sakshi-Malik-wins-Indias-first-medal-bronze-in-58kg-freestyle/articleshow/53747938.cms
  • http://www.elections.in/political-corner/women-members-of-parliament-in-india/
  • http://m.ndtv.com/opinion/as-rss-feared-amit-shah-lost-bihar-for-bjp-1241448
  • http://edugeneral.org/blog/polity/women-rights-in-india/
  • http://scroll.in/article/711115/charts-and-maps-why-are-divorces-and-separations-more-common-in-north-east-india
  • http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-13264301

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