Wednesday, August 17, 2022

India’s Widespread Gender Discrimination

By The Editorial Team Updated: Feb 07, 2021 10:54 pm

The recent National Family Health survey has brought to light a deep-rooted misogyny thriving in India. Its presence is so strong in largely patriarchal Indian society that even a state like Kerala, known for its social awareness, is not free from this menace. There are various reasons behind why women are treated so pathetically in our country. Lack of education, gender bias, lop-sided male-female ratio, social taboos, etc. all have contributed generously towards making India a country where women are unfairly discriminated against. In India, many women are subjected to assault, torture and abuse, be it within the family or outside. This is why despite being one of the most advanced states in the country, 11 per cent of women aged 18-29 revealed that they had experienced sexual violence by the age of 18, in Karnataka. Touted as the most progressive state of the country, 9.7 per cent women of the same age group in West Bengal have alleged sexual abuse. The Northeastern state of Assam is not far behind. The state has reported that 8 per cent of women have face such cases. The scenario is no different in the western part of the country. Number of cases of sexual violence in Maharashtra is 6.2 per cent. But it is just the tip of the iceberg. According to the experts, more than 50 per cent of such cases have never been reported as gender-based violence is often overlooked and it is not the offender, but the complainant that remains at the receiving end of the abuse. So, there is no accurate way to ascertain the total number of such cases in India. The scenario is no different in case of domestic violence. In Karnataka, 44.4 per cent of women aged 18-49 have admitted that they suffered from domestic violence. 40 per cent women in Bihar, 36.9 per cent women in Telangana, 32 per cent in Assam and 30 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, reported spousal violence, both physical and sexual. If we add the number of workplace harassment cases to these figures, one can safely reach the conclusion that no woman is safe in India.
To get rid of such a grim situation, there is an urgent need to spread awareness against sexual discrimination, the basic human principles of respect and consent must be taught. Along with awareness, the authorities should be cooperative and helpful towards victims. For example, Dalit women, who constitute nearly 16 per cent of India’s female population, are still afraid of coming forward with their complaints despite being the most vulnerable to gender and caste-based violence. A conducive atmosphere should be created to encourage women to come forward incase of any mistreatment. The judiciary has a crucial role to play in enforcing the law. Speedy disposal of such cases will encourage victims of sexual abuse to seek justice. An effective judicial system is always helpful to curb crime in society. In all, every citizen has a role to play if we are truly interested in putting an end to the prevailing misogyny in our society. It is time to create a society free from gender discrimination.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Feb 07, 2021 10:54:17 pm