Note to Readers:
After watching Slumdog Millionaire, what really stuck with me was what happened to Latika. To think that she was raped and treated as a servant to men because she was a woman was appalling to me and intrigued me to find out some of the situations that help support this inequality. That's mainly what sparked my research on this question. That and the preliminary idea of "women's rights and gender equality in India." Based on a collection of news, the legacy of Hinduism in India today is close to nonexistent.
The Tragic Truth
In 2013, there were 309,546 cases of some sort of violence, whether it be domestic, molestation, kidnapping or rape, towards women. (Pandey, 1) There are five main reasons to that; drinking, safe toilets, the age of education, preferences for males and women’s confidence.
First, in a study, it was recorded that in one area of India there were more than 1000 men who drank alcohol while there were less than 100 women. (Bond, 1) This difference is a reason that causes violence in families. As these men walk into a state of oblivion, they begin to resort to violence against their most likely to be sober wives and/or daughters.
Second, there aren't enough safe toilets in India. Once you leave the big cities, there are nearly any so most men just go wherever they please. However women try and are expected to find a more secluded space. When they finally find one, they become vulnerable to anyone finding them so when men do, which is frequently they often violently abuse them. There not being enough safe toilets in schools is a key reason as to why many girls drop out; what happens when those girls hit puberty and start menstruating? (Live Mint, 1)
Third, the age of education is blossoming and with this education and posterity, women don't want to follow traditions of being married young or leaving school to work chores at the house. They want to work jobs, paying jobs, and choose them. Because of this, men are trying to contain their urge to learn and live with “rape, dowry death and honour killings.” (Sharma,1) They are doing this because they want education and jobs and money to only be a privilege to men; superiority is yet another inequality that leads to violence. Those who try to improve upon it, end up being violently shut down.
Fourth, because of institutions such as the dowry system, which is a system in which a woman and her family must pay to be suited and married to a man, there is a preference for boys. Even because of the dowry system there is more violence against women if the family believes they weren't paid a sufficient price for their wed. This leads to the ever sad fact that in 2011, there were 919 girls under the age of 6 for every 1000 boys. (Sharma, 1) Even though it's illegal for the parents to know the gender of their soon-to-be child, many break the rules and when they find out they have a girl, abort them. The dowry system creates a preference for boys, and this inequality leads to the thinking of males being superior leading to violence when a woman questions it.
Finally and most importantly, women themselves have lost confidence and are accepting this unbearable view. According to a survey, more than 54% of men and 51% women said it was ok for a man to beat his wife “if she disrespected her in-laws, neglected her home or children, or even over something as trivial as putting less - or more - salt in the food." (Pandey, 1) If women don’t have the confidence to stick up for themselves through this violence and inequality, how is the issue going to improve and will it improve in my lifetime? And how can we help if this is a major component in the daily lives of Indian citizens and is affecting an entire country?
Legacy of women in India = As tragic as it appears?
Though these articles provide evidence that women are mistreated and not equal to men and though it is true, the women's legacy of hinduism is far more complicated than just this assignment. There are many hindu goddesses that are prayed to and adorned in temples by men everyday. There was a Prime Minister woman elected! So though the fundamentals or the facts are important for Americans to know, it is equally important that Americans know beyond those facts and beyond the mistreatment. To conclude, the analysis of the women's legacy in hinduism is far too deep and complicated to be based on just a couple of articles, but just based upon these articles, it is proven that women are mistreated and abused and as of right now the legacy of Hinduism for women is dull and upsetting.
Pandey, Geeta. "100 Women 2014: Violence at Home Is India's 'Failing'." BBC. Last modified October 29, 2014. Accessed December 4, 2016. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29708612.
Bond, Jason C., Sarah C M Roberts, Thomas K. Greenfield, and Racheal Korcha. "Gender Differences in Public and Private Drinking Contexts: A Multi-Level GENACIS Analysis." ProQuest . Last modified May 2010. http://search.proquest.com.ezy.hmsl.sirsi.net/docview/503157942/84FC1783B4F84111PQ/2?accountid=11478.
Live Mint . "Long Road to Gender Equality in India." December 5, 2016, Opinion. Accessed December 4, 2016. http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/rgFtEqLUOR0VIPerJCzCSI/Long-road-to-gender-equality-in-India.html.
Sharma, Smriti. "Achieving Gender Equality in India: What Works, and What Doesn’t." The Huffington Post. Last modified November 8, 2016. Accessed December 4, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-conversation-global/achieving-gender-equality_b_12871168.html.
Gender Inequality Runs Rampant in India, photograph, The Borgen Project, December 5, 2016, accessed December 5, 2016, http://borgenproject.org/gender-inequality-runs-rampant-in-india/.