Why is India so bad for women?

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Here are some practices. Chand Bibi defended Ahmednagar against the powerful Mughal forces of Akbar in the s.

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And as far as the law is concerned: There is currently no special law in India against sexual assault or harassment, and only vaginal penetration by a penis counts as rape. The maximum punishment is a year's imprisonment, or a fine, or both. As a columnist in the national Hindustan Times said of the attack: It stung — especially as Saudi Arabia was at the second-worst.

But the experts were resolute in their choice. Look at some statistics and suddenly the survey isn't so surprising. Plus crimes against women are on the increase: A preference for sons and fear of having to pay a dowry has resulted in 12 million girls being aborted over the past three decades , according to a study by the Lancet. A glance at the Indian media reveals the range of abuse suffered by the nation's women on a daily basis.

Today it was reported that a woman had been stripped and had her head shaved by villagers near Udaipur as punishment for an extramarital affair. Villagers stoned the police when they came to the rescue. Last Wednesday, a man in Indore was arrested for keeping his wife's genitals locked.

Sohanlal Chouhan, 38, "drilled holes" on her body and, before he went to work each day, would insert a small lock, tucking the keys under his socks. Earlier this month, children were discovered near Bhopal playing with a female foetus they had mistaken for a doll in a bin. In the southern state of Karnataka, a dentist was arrested after his wife accused him of forcing her to drink his urine because she refused to meet dowry demands.

This July, the state government in Delhi was summoned to the national high court after failing to amend an outdated law that exempts women and turban-wearing Sikh men from wearing helmets on motorcycles — an exemption campaigners argue is indicative of the lack of respect for female life.

Asked by the reporter if there should be a dress code for women "to ensure their safety", Sharma allegedly replied: Be comfortable, but at the same time, be careful about how you dress Aping the west blindly is eroding our culture and causing such crimes to happen. There are no values left. It is unfortunate that while the west is learning from our culture, we are giving ourselves up completely to western ways.

Her remarks caused a storm. As Sagarika Ghose put it in the online magazine First Post: Maini Mahanta, the editor of the Assamese women's magazine Nandini "Daughter" , believes the NCW chair's remarks are indicative of what she calls the "Taliban-plus" mentality that is creeping into Indian society. Here, society is so hypocritical. We worship female goddesses and yet fail to protect women from these crimes and then blame them too.

Mahanta explains how traditions still cast women as helpless victims rather than free-thinking individuals in control of their own destiny. Girls still tie Raksha bandhan or "safety ties" around their brothers' wrists as a symbol of their duty to protect them, she says.

She complains, too, about the Manu Sanghita, an ancient Indian book that she claims preaches: Even in Mumbai, India's most cosmopolitan city, women have been arrested and accused of being prostitutes when drinking in the city's bars. Sheetal Sharma and Bitopi Dutta, the young feminists from the North East Network, complain that modern women are divided into "bad" and "good" according to what they wear, whether they go out after dark and whether they drink alcohol.

Many women agree the response from the Guwahati authorities shows they are blind to the root cause: Instead, a knee-jerk reaction was taken to force all bars and off-licences to shut by 9. Club Mint, the bar outside which the young woman was molested, had its licence revoked. Zabeen Ahmed, the year-old librarian at Cotton College in Guwahati, tells how she was out for an evening walk not long ago when she was stopped by the police.

The fact that India has a female president — Pratibha Patil — and Sonia Gandhi in control of the ruling Congress party means very little, insists Monisha Behal, "chairperson" of the North East Network.

Every Indian woman the Guardian spoke to for this article agreed that harassment was part of their everyday lives. Mahanta revealed that she always carries chilli powder in her handbag if she ever has to take public transport and needed to throw it in the face of anyone with wandering hands. Deepika Patar, 24, a journalist at the Seven Sisters newspaper in Assam, says city buses were notorious for gropers. In June, an anonymous Delhi woman wrote a powerful blog post detailing what happened when she dared not to travel in the "ladies carriage" of Delhi's modern metro.

After asking a man not to stand too close to her, things turned nasty. The pay gap becomes wider at senior level positions as the men with 11 and more years of tenure earned 25 percent higher median wages than women. While India passed the Equal Remuneration Act way back in , which prohibits discrimination in remuneration on grounds of sex. But in practice, the pay parity still exist.

One of the most famous female business success stories, from the rural sector, is the Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad. Started in by seven women in Mumbai with a seed capital of only Rs. It provides employment to 43, in women across the country. One of the largest dairy co-operatives in the world, Amul , began by mobilizing rural women in Anand in the western state of Gujarat. In , Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw , who founded Biocon, one of India's first biotech companies, was rated India's richest woman.

Shaw remained the richest self-made woman in , [94] coming in at 72nd place in terms of net worth in Forbes 's annual rich list. She was the 4th and last female in the list, thereby showing that 96 of the richest entities in the country continued to be male controlled directly or indirectly.

However, India has a strong history of many women with inherited wealth establishing large enterprises or launching successful careers in their own rights.

In most Indian families, women do not own any property in their own names, and do not get a share of parental property. The Hindu personal laws of applying to Hindus , Buddhists , Sikhs , and Jains gave women rights to inheritances. However, sons had an independent share in the ancestral property, while the daughters' shares were based on the share received by their father. Hence, a father could effectively disinherit a daughter by renouncing his share of the ancestral property, but a son would continue to have a share in his own right.

Additionally, married daughters, even those facing domestic abuse and harassment, had no residential rights in the ancestral home. Thanks to an amendment of the Hindu laws in , women now have the same status as men. In , the Supreme Court of India ruled that Shah Bano , an elderly divorced Muslim woman, was eligible for alimony.

However, the decision was opposed by fundamentalist Muslim leaders, who alleged that the court was interfering in their personal law. Similarly, Christian women have struggled over the years for equal rights in divorce and succession. In , all churches, jointly with women's organizations, drew up a draft law called the Christian Marriage and Matrimonial Causes Bill. However, the government has still not amended the relevant laws. Crime against women such as rape, acid throwing , dowry killings , honour killings , and the forced prostitution of young girls has been reported in India.

The National Crime Records Bureau reported in that by growth in the rate of crimes against women would exceed the population growth rate. Official statistics show a dramatic increase in the number of reported crimes against women. A Thomas Reuters Foundation survey [] says that India is the fourth most dangerous place in the world for women to live in.

In India, acid attacks on women [] who dared to refuse a man's proposal of marriage or asked for a divorce [] are a form of revenge. Acid is cheap, easily available, and the quickest way to destroy a woman's life. The number of acid attacks has been rising. Child marriage has been traditionally prevalent in India but is not so continued in Modern India to this day. Historically, child brides would live with their parents until they reached puberty.

In the past, child widows were condemned to a life of great agony, shaved heads, living in isolation, and being shunned by society. Domestic violence in India is endemic. The 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 husband occurs every nine minutes.

In India, domestic violence toward women is considered as any type of abuse that can be considered a threat; it can also be physical, psychological, or sexual abuse to any current or former partner. In , the Government of India passed the Dowry Prohibition Act, [] making dowry demands in wedding arrangements illegal.

However, many cases of dowry-related domestic violence, suicides and murders have been reported. In the s, numerous such cases were reported. In , the Dowry Prohibition maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom Rules were framed.

The list should contain a brief description of each present, its approximate value, the name of who has given the present, and relationship to the recipient. However, such rules are rarely enforced. A report claimed that each year at least 5, women in India die dowry-related deaths, and at least a dozen die each day in 'kitchen fires' thought to be intentional.

Amongst the urban educated, such dowry abuse has reduced considerably. In , the National Crime Records Bureau reported 8, dowry deaths. Unofficial estimates claim the figures are at least three times as high. In India, the male-female sex ratio is skewed dramatically in favour of males, the chief reason being the high number of females who die before reaching adulthood. This is in spite of the fact that tribal communities have far lower income levels, lower literacy rates, and less adequate health facilities.

The sex ratio is particularly bad in the north-western area of the country, particularly in Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir. Ultrasound scanning constitutes a major leap forward in providing for the care of mother and baby, and with scanners becoming portable, these advantages have spread to rural populations.

However, ultrasound scans often reveal the sex of the baby, allowing pregnant women to decide to abort female foetuses and try again later for a male child. This practice is usually considered the main reason for the change in the ratio of male to female children being born. In the Indian government passed a law forbidding women or their families from asking about the sex of the baby after an ultrasound scan or any other test which would yield that information and also expressly forbade doctors or any other persons from providing that information.

In practice this law like the law forbidding dowries is widely ignored, and levels of abortion on female foetuses remain high and the sex ratio at birth keeps getting more skewed. Female infanticide killing of infant girls is still prevalent in some rural areas. Continuing abuse of the dowry tradition has been one of the main reasons for sex-selective abortions and female infanticides in India. Honor killings have been reported in northern regions of India , mainly in the Indian states of Punjab , Rajasthan , Haryana and Uttar Pradesh , as a result of the girl marrying without the family's acceptance, and sometimes for marrying outside her caste or religion.

Haryana is notorious for incidents of honour killings, which have been described as "chillingly common in villages of Haryana". In some other parts of India, notably West Bengal , honor killings completely ceased about a century ago, largely due to the activism and influence of reformists such as Vivekananda , Ramakrishna , Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

Violence against women related to accusations of witchcraft occurs in India, particularly in parts of Northern India. Belief in the supernatural among the Indian population is strong, and lynchings for witchcraft are reported by the media.

New Delhi has one of the highest rate of rape-reports among Indian cities. Eve teasing is a euphemism used for sexual harassment or molestation of women by men. Many activists blame the rising incidents of sexual harassment against women on the influence of "Western culture". In , The Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act was passed [] to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings or in any other manner.

Of the total number of crimes against women reported in , half related to molestation and harassment in the workplace. The Court also laid down detailed guidelines for prevention and redressal of grievances. The National Commission for Women subsequently elaborated these guidelines into a Code of Conduct for employers. Many incidents go unreported as the victims fear being shunned by their families. The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act was passed in These women are forced into prostitution or domestic work or child labour.

Centre for Equality and Inclusion CEQUIN , alternatively spelled in the press as Center for Equality and Inclusion, is a non-governmental organisation based in India that works towards female empowerment and women's rights.

In the wake of several brutal rape attacks in the capital city of Delhi, debates held in other cities revealed that some men believed women who dressed provocatively deserved to get raped; many of the correspondents stated women incited men to rape them. The degree to which women participate in public life, that is being outside the home, varies by region and background. For example, the Rajputs , a patrilineal clan inhabiting parts of India, especially the north-western area, have traditionally practised purdah , and many still do to this day.

In recent years however, more women have started to challenge such social norms: The concept of family honor is especially prevalent in northern India. Izzat is a concept of honor prevalent in the culture of North India and Pakistan. Women must uphold the 'family honor' by being chaste, passive and submissive, while men must be strong, brave, and be willing and able to control the women of their families.

Deeply patriarchal, caste purity is paramount and marriages are arranged to sustain the status quo. The average female life expectancy today in India is low compared to many countries, but it has shown gradual improvement over the years.

In many families, especially rural ones, girls and women face nutritional discrimination within the family, and are anaemic and malnourished. The maternal mortality in India is the 56th highest in the world. In rural areas, most of women deliver with the help of women in the family, contradictory to the fact that the unprofessional or unskilled deliverer lacks the knowledge about pregnancy.

The average woman living in a rural area in India has little or no control over becoming pregnant. Women, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to safe and self-controlled methods of contraception.

The public health system emphasises permanent methods like sterilisation, or long-term methods like IUDs that do not need follow-up. Lower caste women in India have seen significant improvement in their status. Educated and financially well-off Dalit women used politics to achieve status, however, that many Dalit women who were involved in politics later declined due to increasing income and educational levels. India has a highly skewed sex ratio, which is attributed to sex-selective abortion and female infanticide affecting approximately one million female babies per year.

The number of missing women totaled million across the world. Along with abortion, the high number of males in India is a result of sex selection, where physicians are given the opportunity to incorrectly determine the sex of a child during the ultrasound. The female mortality in was The gap between the two gender titles is a direct response to the gender bias within India.

Men and women in India have unequal health and education rights. Women in India have high fertility and get married at a young age. Those who are given more opportunity and rights are more likely to live longer and contribute to the economy rather than that of a women expected to serve as wife starting at a young age and continuing the same responsibilities for the rest of her life.

As women continue to "disappear," the sex ratio turns its favor toward men. In turn, this offsets reproduction and does not allow for a controlled reproductive trend. While the excess mortality of women is relatively high, it cannot be blamed completely for the unequal sex ratio in India. However, it is a large contributor considering the precedence that Indian men have over women.

In rural areas, schools have been reported to have gained the improved sanitation facility. In a "Right to Pee" as called by the media campaign began in Mumbai , India's largest city. Women have also been sexually assaulted while urinating in fields.

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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Women in Indian Armed Forces. Education in India and History of female education in India. Violence against women in India. Domestic violence in India. Dowry system in India , Dowry death , and Dowry law in India. Female foeticide in India and Missing women of Asia.

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