Is the Status of Women improving in India!
“A woman is like a complete circle with a power to create, nurture and transform.”
Women- An embodiment of God, Generator of the whole world, mother, life partner, sister and so on, no enough words to define. By this statement, it should be concluded that, Woman must be honored as God on the earth. But is this ideology really existing in the insensitive and self-centered world?
Let us try to find out the answer of above question analyzing the following scenario.
The eminence of a civilization can be judged from the position of women given and accepted by the society. There are several factors which describe the rich and cultural civilization of India where a girl is considered as a form of goddess. It is said that, “The gods reside, where the women are honored.”
Have a glance over the status of Women in ancient and medieval history if India
According to the ancient Hindu scriptures and Vedas, no religious ritual could be performed with perfection by a man without the participation of his wife. There was equal dignity and value bestowed upon women by the society. Wives were considered as better half; they enjoyed the rights to participate in meeting and have the decision-making authority. There was no dowry system, female foeticide, and child marriage prevailed. The society was female dominating unlike the male dominating society of modern India.
After the advent of Mughals in India, many superstitious beliefs and malpractices were imposed on women and gradually they become the custom among the common men. They wish to bound women in the four walls of their house. Although there were some exceptions too like Razia sultan but on the other hand we also have a proper understanding of the mindset which led to the death of Razia by his own statesmen. Purdah system, burkha, devdasi, child marriage, sati pratha and several orthodoxy beliefs were adopted by society which proved to be the curse for civilization that last for several years.
Reformation of societal thoughts during British India
In the wake of several new thinkers as well as ideologies during the era of social workers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the society accomplished a new luminescence. The eradication of Sati system (1928), child marriage, acceptance of widow remarriage draw respect for women. That was the era of continuous changes in the status, work of women and rights. Women were given the rights to work outside to become self-sufficient, to put their views on several platforms, rights in politics and this is all become possible due to the most important right i.e. right to education.
Constitutional laws also played an important role in upliftment of women, some of which are as follows-
• The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
• The Hindu succession Act, 1956
• The dowry prohibition Act, 1961
• The Equal Remuneration Act 1976
• The Maternity Benefit Act 1961
Does the respect of any individual rely on the laws or regulations made by the Government?
Absolutely not, the respect does not rely on the rules and regulations, it is a behavioral approach. Until the society accept all these ideologies which ensures women rights, the condition will never change in spite of all the legal rules and guidelines. Despite of several rights in constitution for women viz. equality in education, employment, remuneration, share in father’s property etc. the status of women lies under the substratum of the mind of society. No doubt women are accomplishing great success in every sphere of life viz. politics, education, research, space missions, technological advancements etc. but this is only a small section, a large section of women population is still facing a threat of exploitation, molestation and abuse.
The status of women in modern India is somewhere a sort of an enigma. On one hand, she is at the zenith of success while on the other hand she is suffering the violence and harassment oppressed on her by her own family members, community and knowns. Although women have achieved a lot (freedom, rights, liberties etc.) in the modern times yet Indian women are fighting for their respect and position in society. The news headlines still start from the incidences of sexual exploitation, molestation, rape and even murder, sex selective abortions, domestic violence, female infanticide, marriage squeeze, health and malnutrition.
UNFPA has released the State of the World Population 2020 report, in July 2020 under the titled of ‘Against my will: defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality’.
It highlighted 19 human rights violations against women. The three main focal points were, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child marriage and extreme bias against daughters.
Here I am presenting some data from the report of State of World Population 2020-
there were nearly 1.2 million missing female births, at a global level according to the estimated data of 2013-17.
Over the past 50 years, the number of missing women has become more than double.
Exclaimed to find that India has the highest rate of female deaths which is 13.5 per 1,000 female births below 5 years of age due to postnatal sex selection.
In India, around 4,60,000 girls went missing at birth i.e. they were not born.
India along with China accounts for nearly 90% i.e. 40% and 50% respectively of the 1.2 million estimated girls lost due to female foeticide.
It is estimated that about 6-7 lakh Indian girls are likely to have experienced sexual abuse and molestation most of which by the members of their own families. 36 percent of girls are married between 15-19 years of age in rural India. This number goes much higher in some of the backward states. In the state of Rajasthan, 56 percent girls got married at the age of 15 or less. Of these, 3 percent are even less than five years of age, which is really horrible for them who suffers at this early age.
In spite of the fact that most of the cases of abuse, domestic violence and dowry goes unreported, more than 70 percent of the women have reported the case over abuse and 15,000 over dowry against their husband and in laws each year. Thousands of innocent women got burnt and killed each year in India which is a land of Gods.
Where we live on in reality? Do this society really got educated? Do the society able to accept the fame of woman when she stands side by side with man? Or else a myth all of a sudden!
India became a Member of UN's Commission on Status of Women (UNCSW)
UNCSW, which is a body of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) aims at promoting women’s rights and also highlights the reality of women’s lives all through the world. Total number of members are 45 in UNCSW which are all members of United States.
Yes, this is a prestigious moment for India to get a seat in UNCSW for 2021-25 along with Afghanistan defeating China in the general elections of UNCSW. 38 of the 54 ballots has been secured by India. This victory becomes more significant and momentous as it is achieved in the silver jubilee year of the famous Beijing World Conference on Women (1995).
The status of women is improving at some extent as they achieved the equal rights in almost all the fields of life. They are contributing to India’s GDP and participating in employment opportunities at several esteemed platforms.
Indian government is also promoting Gender equality and empowerment of women at great extent (SDG - 5) with all its efforts at national as well as grassroot level. Providing employment opportunities such as STEP scheme, self-help groups, Mahila-e-haat for rural women, subsidies in cottage industries etc. to uplift the share of women in economy. But this is not enough, the share of women in India’s GDP is still just 18%.
“Women needs status in the minds of individual people, society and nation not in United Nation’s commission.”