India is considered the worst place for women. Indian woman have a tough position in life. Right from birth they are subjugated to a subordinate position in life, in the family and in society and are denied women rights. How is this subordinate position documented?
- A cultural preference for male children together with a fear of dowry payments has led to sex selective abortions and abortion of over 12 million girls over the past 3 decades and a subsequently distorted male-female ratio of 1000 men to 940 females at the national level with some states having much more drastic ratios. These developments have been possible in spite of the Indian “Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act 1994.”
- On the education front cultural prejudices in favor of males has meant that girls chances of education is definitely less than for boys. Though good 97% of girls get primary education, almost 17.9% of females do not have Secondary or High school education.
- Child marriage is still prevalent even though India has promulgated many laws that forbid the same, the latest legislation being “The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006”. According to the International Center for research on women 47% of girls are married before they are 18.
- Dowry related harassment of women who do not satisfy dowry demands and brutal assault partially through burning is still common in different parts of Indian society.
- Widows even today are shunned in many parts of Indian society and once a woman becomes a widow she is often allocated a subordinate position within her family and by society at large.
The reasons for these developments are manifold but two fundamental patterns emerge as being the root cause of this situation:
- Outdated customs are ingrained in the psyche of large sections of Indian society. So India urgently needs to start a “Social and Cultural Change Drive” so that many social practices are seen in the perspective of the 21st century.
- India has an abundance of legal regulations protecting the rights of children and women in many issues. But India has weak records on law enforcement, so that de-facto women’s rights are not ensured.