The Place of Women in India - Seeker's Thoughts

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The Place of Women in India

The Place of Women in India


We have come a long way, and yet women have a long journey to walk to get equal rights. The present situation in the 21st century, it is better than the worst, however, we are not there yet where we can say that women have equal rights.


Photo by Jose Aragones:

Suggestion : Womenomics in Indian Context

The place of women in India remains debatable and always in discussion. There are people who have opinions and instead of addressing the various issues women face in daily life, they say that India has been improving, and now women have a better position.

True, indeed. However, better than what and improved – how?

What Indian women face in day-to-day life, can differ. For example, the woman who gets a modern family may have more rights than a family who is more traditional. India is a land where people take pride in being traditional. So, it does not matter how much development is done, every family has a different time zone for women.


Not only those women face many other problems which are following.


Women: A second-class citizen


Women are still not desirable, but yes somehow people/parents have started accepting the girl child due to multiple campaigns ran by the government and progressive people.


There is evidence supporting the arguments that women are still treated as a second-class citizen –


The Son Meta Preference- This term made a highlighted in January 2018 when the economic survey published by the government of India mentioned that there are twenty-one million unwanted girls born in India.


Why unwanted girls were born? Because parents wanted a male child, and in trying to conceive the male child- they produced several children, and they were girls.


Can we ever imagine the life of someone who is already treated as a second-class citizen, above that she is born undesirable and unwanted?


This showed the exact picture of Indian/ Asian society, and how unfair their pride is.


These women must go through a series of hurtful events which starts with being neglected by their own parents.


As per scientific data, the emotional neglect from the parents can do-


‘For children, affectional neglect may have devastating consequences, including failure to thrive, developmental delay, hyperactivity, aggression, depression, low self-esteem, running away from home, substance abuse, and a host of other emotional disorders. These children feel unloved and unwanted.’


These girls also suffer from the disease, but they don’t come under the priority list. Not only that but they also are not fed well. In India, mostly in villages – the common practice is- if there is good food like fruits and the food which holds the nutritional value; the mother keeps that food for the male child.


The Male child often gets more attention, privileged, and food. So, technically, our society contributes to an unhealthy female population- who is not emotionally and physically given a chance to reach their full potential.


Does income affect women's rights?


Can we blame money for the pathetic conditions of women? In some cases, maybe. But not when it comes to family.


Income rose across the different states of India as per the data from 1991 to 2001. But the sex ratio declined. So, money and economic condition might impact some families, but this is not true. Higher-income families might still be biased


Villagers were blamed to kill the girl child (female infanticide) , but as per the data of the economic survey, it was heartbreaking that the population in urban areas also identified the gender and aborted the child.


Women are considered a social liability:


Due to the ill perception of girls being the weak gender, parents are not able to accept that a girl can sustain and be self-sufficient in her life.


It is a common misconception that only a husband can take care of a woman, and to find a suitable husband, most parents must pay dowry.


This is applicable to the bureaucrats, government officials, and political leaders, yes the people who are supposed to stop such practices. In fact, if a boy is able to save the government job, the higher dowry he gets.


Therefore, women are always considered a social liability.


Education and Career for a woman:


Women are raised since childhood for keeping their career and education a secondary place. The first priority is always their family. So, if something goes wrong in the family, the woman is expected to sacrifice the first.


If she is married, she is supposed to leave the job, if the husband does not want her to work.


Indian women face this challenge, where they need the approval of their in-laws and husbands to work or to make choices for their career.


This is understood that the decision includes two partners when it comes to marriage, but Indian women don’t have much voice to keep.


If they show their interest in the career more, mostly men feel threatened and their marriage often comes in a bad phase or in some cases might end in an abused relationship, where everyone leaves the side of the suffering woman and supports the husband.


Therefore, to be accepted, women do not want to feel abandoned, and as they are raised, they compromise their careers and education.



Women, inheritance, and financial security:


Parents always consider that the girl child must get married so, they save money for dowry instead of spending in quality education or supporting the career.


Women often do not get inherited property, as well as most properties, are given to the male child.


When the court tried to support and mentioned that women can also claim the property of their parents. Socially, women are still forced to leave their properties and claim.


The rule benefitted but there is a long way to go.


Women do not have financial security from their parents, also from their husband side. She is often controlled.  Families with money consider that women should not work, and they consider this thinking as a symbol of care and affection. Also, somewhere it is related to social status.

Men decide about the women of their house.

When the government tried to implement the Maternity Bill to favor the women workforce, the company discouraged the hiring of female employees.

Women, when they join the offices, they are discriminated against. They are not paid equally. Also, they have often considered sex objects and if they get success in the project – mostly they are not appreciated.

Somehow the world seems against women, as men don’t support women even in household chores, even if both are working.

Somehow the house-related work is associated with women and she has to compromise at so many levels.

As India has strong family values traditionally, and it is not wrong to promote the family. But In all these values, women leave their rights behind. To be a part of the family, they have to agree with the decision.

Emotional Abuse against women if they want to decide something

Women are not getting the freedom to decide. They have a system to follow, and at every step, they are reminded that they are women and they are supposed to follow the code.

They can not decide what to wear in the majority of cases in villages. They are publicly shamed if they wear jeans in some parts of India. Not to forget to mention though, some parents feel proud when they decide for themselves, yet the society is not there yet.

In schools, they are even commented on by the teacher, if they raise a question that who would marry them if they ask so many questions.

They can not choose the stream of education they like. Even the schools have discriminated against when it comes to uniforms in the name of modesty.

Therefore, their entire life even if they have at the occasion the illusion of deciding, at some point in life they will be ignored and felt that they do not have the right to decide anything. If they try to stand out and decide. They are left abandoned and isolated.

There are some incidents – where men if they want to marry a girl and if a girl said no, threw acid on the face of a female. The thinking behind it is a superiority complex among men- who can not handle the rejection and want to claim the women for having a crush or infatuation with them.

The first women are restricted often to get married as per their choice in not all the cases, but the number is higher. Secondly, if they suffer in bad marriages- due to too much social pressure they can not even file the divorce. They have to stay in bad marriages and compromise. The pressure from the family and relatives is higher so- most of the time women have to be quiet. And after marriage she has to follow the permission of the husband and if says that she can not work. She has to stop the work.  If this is not the control then what else is?

Legally, women can reject a person, and opt for a career, but what about society?

Reaching to the Legal help is also a problem

Even though there are various organizations that are working for women’s rights protection yet most of them only exist on paper.

Women are not financially independent or emotionally raised strong that they can approach the court. But if someone gets the courage and tries to approach the court, they are discouraged even by the lawyers, and seeking for divorce and asking for their rights is again not okay with the patriarchal system we follow.

Steps Taken to support the women  

For helping women the government initiated different laws- for example-

Til 2013 the Punishment for throwing acid was 3 years of jail, later the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 was passed and two news sections – 326A and 326 B were added in IPC (Indian Penal Code).

These sections lay down punishment for attempted acid throwing which includes a minimum 5 to 7 years of Jail.

In the Laxmi Vs Union of India case, the Supreme Court has laid down the clear guidelines on ‘Compensation to be paid. Yet in states efforts are there to dilute such provisions. 

The problem persists in a society where victims are sometimes feeling difficult to get compensation, and medical treatment, and in some cases their own families abandon them.

It is a governance failure for sure but more than that it is a moral failure that exists in societies, where women are treated as subordinates.

To gain control over her remains the utmost priority, in such a society such heinous crimes will be occurring. To bring the change more moral education should be spread with the help of NGOs and adding these topics in the educational schedule. Bangladesh effectively tackled the menace of acid attacks, so certain lessons can be learned from neighbors.

To provide more financial stability, the Indian government introduced - The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which brought certain changes, and these changes were ---
Women working in the organized sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks. According to law, this bill should have benefitted about 1.8 million working women.

--The bill also provided for maternity leave of 12 weeks to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months as well as to biological mothers.

--It also made it mandatory for every establishment with more than so employees to provide, creche facilities within a prescribed distance. Women will be allowed four visits to the creche in the day. this will include her interval for rest.

--the bill had a provision under which an employer can permit a woman to work from home,if the nature of work assigned, permit her to do so. This option can be availed of after the period of maternity leave for a duration that is mutually divided by the employer and the women.


A way Ahead

There should be comprehensive and gender-balanced measures as children should not be treated solely as women's responsibility.
Matching paternity and maternity leave would create a more level playing field for reducing potential employer discrimination.
Companies are less likely to discriminate against women if the government pitches in the 2018 ILO report on care work and care jobs emphasize the need for government support up to at least two-thirds of the cost of maternity benefits, under ILO convention 183.

93.5 percent of Indian women work in the informal sector. The act does not apply to them, nor is it clear how it can realistically cover women working on family farms, doing home-based work, the urban self-employed, or casual workers on contract, there should be mandatory provision for informal sectors’ working women.

The most important measure that would benefit women across all sectors formal and informal is providing good creche and children's centers. and government expansion of high-quality children's centers has significantly would increase women's work participation.


Stop Shaming women to Decide.

If a woman decides something for herself, legal support must be available. Not on paper, but genuine legal support should be there.

Chapters about women's rights should be included in the education system where the concerns should be addressed.

Society needs to change, but change comes from individual efforts.

Everyone should participate in this journey to change the world, where equal rights should be inbuilt in the system for women and for everyone.



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