Friday, August 12, 2022

Resistance to Gender Equality

By The Editorial Team Updated: Mar 10, 2021 12:20 am

Some say every day is “women’s day” and that celebration should not be limited to just one day in a year, March 8 to be specific. The fact remains that there is limited success despite observing the day for decades. There is not much achievement to celebrate, while the day is all about that, besides creating awareness on their rights, gender equality and violence against them. This year’s International Women’s Day might have whizzed past millions of women around the world, especially those from poor economic background; some could be unaware of the occasion while others just went about their day as usual. This exposes the impracticality of observing the occasion every day and at the same time calls for the need to remind the society daily and spread awareness for the same reason. We have to accept the fact that we have failed to ensure violence-free homes, and safe workplaces and public spaces for women despite efforts being taken at various levels to eliminate and prevent gender-based violence. The National Family Health Survey-4 conducted in 2015-16 revealed that 33% of married Indian women in the age group of 15-49 experienced physical, sexual, or emotional spousal violence. It revealed that 77% of these women never spoke about such violence, while 14% sought help. Meanwhile, National Crime Records Bureau data showed 4,05,861 cases of crimes against women being registered during 2019; out of which 30.9% was registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ and 7.9% rape.

Closer home in Nagaland, National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16) data revealed that only 34 % of all women age 15-49 in the state were employed in the 12 months preceding the survey, compared to 78% for men; 33% of women own a house alone or jointly with someone else against 63% for men. About 15% of women in the state aged 15-49 said that they had experienced physical or sexual violence. Surprisingly, 45% of women believe it is justifiable for a husband to beat his wife under some circumstances, according to the survey. No wonder only a dismal 14% of women who faced violence sought help and about 74% neither sought help nor told anyone about the violence. These findings negate the pride that many take in the supposed “gender equality” existing in our society. It also clearly indicates that there could be many unaccounted cases, an offshoot of deliberate decision taken by families not to file case to protect the so called “honour”, which contradicts the purpose of law. Our society provides fertile ground for injustice against women to flourish. For instance, several issues like alimony, property inheritance, space in decision-making bodies, etc. that hinder women from leading an independent life and lead the society have been widely discussed for years now but it’s all bark and no bite till date. Our society and government should ensure that at least these legitimate rights that women in other states have been enjoying for decades are not denied. Or are we going we observe another International Women’s Day next year to celebrate our resistance to gender equality and not achievements?

By The Editorial Team Updated: Mar 10, 2021 12:20:22 am