Women Problems in India: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - January - 2015

Women Problems in India

There are only two types of women — goddesses and doormats says the famous artist Pablo Picasso. India is a land which worships women as goddesses yet burn them for dowry and kill girls in the womb. Multiple problems haunt them since the day they are born. The position of women has improved multifold compared to the position centuries ago. The practices like child marriage, sati, devadasi system, purdah system have almost disappeared. This could be attributed to the changes brought about by science and technology, education, social and political movements, modernization etc. Constitution of India grants equal status and where necessary provides extra safeguards from exploitation and injustice to women. It does not make any discrimination on the ground of sex. Though the position of women has improved considerably that what it used to be pre-independence era now they are beset with new stresses and strains. Some major problems are analyzed below.

Gender Discrimination

Female foeticide: Like many societies around the world India is also a patriarchal in nature. There is an obsession for a male child who is considered key to continue the family lineage. With the legalization of abortion in India lead to selective abortion killing female fetus has become an everyday reality. This lead to the skewed growth of population. The child sex ratio has dropped from 945 females per 1000 males in 1992 to 927 females per 1000 males in2001. According to 2011 census the ratio has slightly improved to 933 females per 1000 males but this can’t be attributed as a major improvement over a decade period. This skewed population growth has long term impact on the society like female trafficking, kidnapping and increase in assault and rape against women.

Discrimination in distribution of power and work : women is not accepted as equal to male. They are made to confine to domestic works like cooking, cleaning, washing etc termed as women’s work. Women workers are paid less than the male workers. They were not allowed to take part in politics. Reservation in politics, education, jobs has improved the condition of women.

Early marriage: A vast number of girls are married at an early age. Approximately 60% of the rural girls are married before they are 18 and bear children before they are 19. Almost one third of the babies are born with low birth weight. High illiteracy , ignorance to sexual behavior, malnutrition makes pregnant girls take high risk of life. Girls who get married before 18 are more likely to experience domestic violence compared to the those marry later.

Dowry: Max Radin has defined dowry as the property, which a man receives from his wife or her family at the time of his marriage. Dowry may be broadly defined as gifts and valuables received in marriage by the bride, the bridegroom and his relatives. The age old practice of dowry has now assumed a form of social evil. The desire of a parent to get his daughter married in a higher and rich family makes them to accept all the conditions from the boy’s side. It has caused unhappiness and misery to the bride’s family. Women are ill-treated, disrespected, beaten and subjected to all sorts of cruelties and sometimes leading to deaths. Dowry system degrades the self respect of a women and reflects the inferior status of women in the society. Dowry prohibition act 1961amended in 1986 was passed to curtail this but still the practice continues to be in vogue.

Violence: Women are the most vulnerable section of the society who are exposed to violence. Even in the country which has improved its education level still very day we hear about the violence against the women. This is the phenomena which is not only restricted to the rural areas the women ev in cities are also equally vulnerable.. ganag rapes and rapes of women in the houses and public transport is frequent phenemona in cites as developed as delhi as well. As per the report [1994] of the “Crime Record Bureau” of the Central Home Ministry, crimes against women increased to a great extent in the year 1993-94. As per this report, in India on an average.

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