How Gender Inequality Affect the Development of Women in India

Introduction

            Gender inequality is one of the acute issues faced by Indian society. Although gender inequality is considered to be a global phenomenon that affects practically each country, in India, it is widely spread because of the power of patriarchy given men over women.  There is much evidence that discrimination against women in India occurs in education, health care, politics and employment. According to researchers, “discrimination against women is found even before her birth in the form of female foeticide and when she is born female infanticide has been found in practice”.¹ In India, women experience unequal treatment from the childhood because girls are treated as liability. Although considerable changes have been made in the area of politics and employment, gender equality has not been addressed, as defined by recent studies.² Actually, the major cause of gender inequality in Indian society is the system of patriarchy which is stable and unchangeable. Researchers state that “advances have been made in social legislation but gender inequality has not ended and the child sex ratio has rather worsened”.³ There is a need for increasing public awareness of the benefits provided by gender equality. Hence, certain changes in men’s perceptions and attitudes towards women should be made. There is a need for changes in perception towards women. Indian society would become more civilized if women have equal rights with men. Thesis statement: Gender inequality caused mainly by the stagnated system of patriarchy affects the development of women in India, depriving them of their political and civil rights, educational and economic opportunities, career growth and health services.

______________________________

  1. Sugandha Kohli, “Gender Inequality in India,” International Journal of Humanities & Social Science Studies (IJHSSS) 3, no. 4 (2017), 178. http://www.ijhsss.com/files/15_ph6h6r3a.-Sugandha-Kohli.pdf
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.

Gender inequalities in India

            According to the Global gender gap report of 2015, India is ranked as 141st out of 142 nations and 2062 districts at the global level. It is categorized as “gender critical when it comes to health and survival of women as compared to men”.4 India is ranked as 127th on gender inequality index and 114th on gender gap, according to the statistical data provided by the Global gender gap report of 2015.5 The fact that men outnumber women in India means  that there is a gender imbalance which leads to dis-empowerment of women. There is some valid evidence that women “suffer from hunger and poverty in greater numbers and to a great degree than men”.6

Economic inequalities

            In India, women face considerable economic inequalities which can be assessed as negative factors. There is much evidence taken from reliable sources that gender pay gap is rather high, “ 67 per cent as a man on an average earns USD 167 compared with $100 by a woman”.7  The fact that there are more men than women in managerial and leadership positions means that women are deprived of career growth. Undoubtedly, the education levels of women in India have a considerable impact on their job opportunities and professional growth, as well as the type of industry and the amount of hours worked. The existence of economic inequalities have a considerable impact on the life of women, their social status, personal development, psychological condition, family relations and even interpersonal relationships. Women are dependent on their spouses and have no right to own or inherit property. The use of dowry system strengthens economic inequalities because daughters do not own property.  There are certain restrictions in marriage opportunities which affect the economic status of women.

______________________________

  • Sugandha Kohli, “Gender Inequality in India,” International Journal of Humanities & Social Science Studies (IJHSSS) 3, no. 4 (2017), 178. http://www.ijhsss.com/files/15_ph6h6r3a.-Sugandha-Kohli.pdf
  • Ibid.
  • Sangh Mittra & Bachchan Kumar, Bachchan. Encyclopaedia of Women in South Asia: India. (Gyan Publishing House, 2004),159
  • “Gender pay gap: Men earn 67% more than women in India, says Report,” Business Standard, March 8, 2017. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/gender-pay-gap-men-earn-67-more-than-women-in-india-says-report-117030800625_1.html

Inequalities in education

            Women in India encounter inequalities in the field of education. Female students in rural areas have lower level of education if compared with that of male students. There are several barriers to high quality female education, including improper school facilities, shortage of teachers and inequalities in school curriculum. Female teachers are presented as low-educated, while male teachers are characterized as highly intelligent.8 Although, “India has made impressive strides in getting its children into primary schools and especially improving the number of female students, according to a report by UNESCO,” India still has the problem of illiteracy.9 Currently, India is the only country in South and West Asia which has succeeded in equation of ratio of girls and boys in primary schools and senior schools. In addition, India has succeeded in reduction of illiterate children who do not attend school for various reasons. However, learning outcomes of students are still poor.  As discussed in report, “Fifth-grade students in government-run schools in nine Indian states cannot read second-grade textbooks”. 10

Inequalities in health care

            There are considerable inequalities in health care services provided to women by health care organizations. Recent studies show that having three or more children is associated with poor access to health care services among women in India.11 Women have to agree to sex-selective abortion because of the established tradition to consider girl babies a burden for the family. “The birth of a son is perceived as an opportunity for upward mobility while the birth of a daughter is believed to result in downward economic mobility of the household and the family”.12 In India, women receive less health care than men do. In some cases, women are neglected during illness. They have no access to health services because of low income of the family. This inequality leads to the higher mortality rate among women if compared with that of men. Research studies show that of women in India earn more than their spouses, they have better access to health services. “The decreased access to reproductive health care associated with women being younger or less educated than their spouses may be a reflection of their low status within the relationship and their economic dependence on their partners”.13 These facts mean that well-educated women in India have an opportunity to make their own decisions in relation to health care accessibility.

_______________________________

  • Rama Lakshmi, “India’s schools now have an equal ratio of girls and boys, and that’s a big deal,” The Washington Post, April 9, 2015.
  • Ibid.
  • Ibid.
  • Amrita Namasivayam, Donatus C. Osuorah, Rahman Syed, Diddy Antai, “The role of gender inequities in women’s access to reproductive health care: a population-level study of Namibia, Kenya, Nepal, and India,” International Journal of Women’s Health 4 (2012), 362.

            Moreover, recent studies point out to the fact that the increase in violence against women is the result of continuous gender inequality. According to researchers, “violent crime in India rose nearly 19 percent from 2007 to 2011, while the kidnapping of women (much of which is related to forced marriage) increased 74 percent in that time”.14 The acts of violence against women in India are linked to the practice of  sex selection in favour of baby boys. These are examples of internal instability of Indian society. The deficit of women in India leads to the increased rate of rape and other forms of violence against women. Interview with the social worker in the state of Haryana, India highlights the issues of unequal treatment of women, “women are being subjected to more violence than before and
families are being forced to keep them cloistered inside their homes”.15

______________________________

  1. Ritu Dhungana, “Sex Selective abortion in India,” Social Issues in India, ed, by Smarak Swain. (New Vishal Publications. 2015), 20.
  2. Amrita Namasivayam, Donatus C. Osuorah, Rahman Syed, Diddy Antai, “The role of gender inequities in women’s access to reproductive health care: a population-level study of Namibia, Kenya, Nepal, and India,” International Journal of Women’s Health 4 (2012), 361.
  3. Anjani Trivedi&Heather Timmons,“India’s Man Problem,”The New York Times,Jan. 16, 2013.

Political inequalities

            As gender inequality in India is a rather complicated phenomenon, it involves inequalities in the political system. Although some efforts have been made to help women enjoy their civil rights, providing 1/3 reservation in different legal institutions, including the Parliament of India, the percentage of women is only 5-10% in all political parties presented in the political arena of India.16 Interestingly, India has constitutional laws that promote gender equality. The Constitution of India places emphasis on the fundamental rights of women and provides certain measures to stop discrimination through the proper laws and regulations. 

            In addition, India has provided ratification of the important international conventions and human rights policies, which help to protect the rights of women. One of them is ratification of Convention on elimination of all forums of discrimination against women of 1993. Women participate in politics, but they are not provided with equal opportunities as men for certain activities and career growth. “From the records available from the past 50 years, since the independence, it is seen that the strength of women in the political field as reflected in State legislatures remained at an average at 3 per cent to 5 per cent for those elected”.17

 The major causes of  gender inequality in India

            It is known that in patriarchal society like Indian society, “polygyny is a common practice, and inequalities between a woman and her partner in terms of age, education, and income often result in

women being in positions of dependency with little or no say in matters such as health care, often needing to seek permission from their partners or mother-in-law to carry out daily activities”.18 (Namasivayam et al. 353). The major cause of gender inequality in India is the system of patriarchy which allows men not only dominate but also oppress women. India has a long history of exploitation of women. This phenomenon has become a part of its culture. The system of patriarchy established in India is supported by religious beliefs.

______________________________

  1. “Men without women,” The Hindu, August 31, 2003.
  2. Mittra, Sangh & Kumar, Bachchan. Encyclopaedia of Women in South Asia: India. (Gyan Publishing House, 2004), 434.
  3. Ibid.

 

            In addition, there are some other causes of gender inequality in Indian society, including extreme poverty rate and the lack of educational opportunities. These causes lead to the lower social status of women compared with men’s status. Many women have to work in low-paid services, participate in organized prostitution activities or be employed as migrant labourers. Women in India get unequal pay for the work they perform. They are offered only low-paid jobs which do not require special education. These factors are associated with the major cause of gender inequality- a stable system of patriarchy and male domination.19

The impact of continuous inequalities on the development of women in India

            The impact of continuous gender inequalities on the development of women in India is adverse. Women have limited rights and they have to remain dependent on men. Their identities are damaged because of the lack of freedom in their actions. It has been found that “the advancement of medical technologies, in forms of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Tests and amniocentesis, has resulted in the practice of destroying female fetuses – a sex selective abortion”.20 Many woman in India have to suffer because
they experience oppression and violence by men who dominate Indian society. The women’s right to reproduction is controlled by the government.

__________________________________

  1. Amrita Namasivayam, Donatus C. Osuorah, Rahman Syed, Diddy Antai, “The role of gender inequities in women’s access to reproductive health care: a population-level study of Namibia, Kenya, Nepal, and India,” International Journal of Women’s Health 4 (2012), 353.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ritu Dhungana, “Sex Selective abortion in India,” Social Issues in India, ed, by Smarak Swain. (New Vishal Publications. 2015), 20.

            Moreover, as Indian society is male dominated, women have to play a subordinate role. They have to work hard in order to survive. In the interview, Ms Chawhan who works at the market says that she have to pay for her two sisters who attend University in order to get education and find better paid jobs. “I want my sisters to finish their studies, and move forward in life so they don’t face the same difficulties I’ve faced in this job”.21 India is still a patriarchal society that maintains  its culture and values. Women have to comply with the established rules, norms and regulations. Boys and girls are raised in different ways because of the social norms and cultural traditions.  

            In general, it becomes clear that women in India face discrimination as they are treated unequally with men. It is necessary to change the views of men on women’s position in society. Men should have a good understanding of the values of women, their identity.  Gender inequality in India has negative  impact on personal development of women as it prevents women from  active participation in social, political and economic activities. Many girls and women in India suffer from depression and other health care conditions which are caused by psychological effects of  gender inequality.22

            As the complicated stratification system contributed to the weakening of the status of women, the most disadvantaged groups of the population of India have no opportunity to increase their family income. It is possible to address these challenges by means of the proper strategies aimed at providing changes of cultural norms and promoting the status of women. The prevalence of poverty can be decreased if women are provided with the improved educational and economic opportunities. As gender inequality in India concerns both rich and poor people, racially dominant groups and racially subordinate segments, the government of India should address this phenomenon at the national level. The political and economic structures of the country should be adapted  to the changing roles and status of women. Misrepresentation of women and their dis-evaluation should be  eliminated to help women obtain more freedom in decision making. The forms of exploitation and material deprivation generated by the patriarchal society have a negative impact on the identity of women. The way Indian society is structured affects the developmental opportunities of women. Cultural values and social norms should be modified to allow women becoming more powerful and independent. There should be improvements both in private and public life of women in India. Women’s concentration in informal employment affects their personal development and professional growth because their access to well-paid jobs in limited.

_______________________________

  • Chen, Stephanie & Binfield, Pippa. “Gender inequality in India leaving women standing alone,” ABC, March 11, 2017.
  • Ibid.

Conclusion

            Thus, it is necessary to conclude that gender inequalities in Indian society have adverse impact on the development of women. Inequalities in Indian society lead to violence against women, limited rights and oppression. India should develop the proper strategies to reduce inequalities in various fields of human activity. Currently,  gender inequalities continue to exist in education, health care, politics and employment. There is need for promotion of women’s dignity and rights. It is possible to establish new institutions, develop new rules, norms and regulations that support equal relationships between women and men. The global economy is based on continuous growth; therefore, India should adapt to globalization and ensure full participation of women in social, economic and political activities. It stands to reason that economic growth is the major instrument that can be used to eliminate poverty across the world. Hence, ensuring gender equality in India will contribute to the economic growth of this country. The prevention of politics of son preference and its impact on economic development of the country will lead to the significant changes in women’s empowerment. The pervasiveness of gender inequality in India should be recognized by the government to reduce socio-economic differentiation. 

Bibliography

Chen, Stephanie & Binfield, Pippa. “Gender inequality in India leaving women standing alone,” ABC, March 11, 2017. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-11/gender-inequality-in-india-leaving-women-standing-alone/8340390

Dhungana, Ritu. “Sex Selective abortion in India,” Social Issues in India, ed, by Smarak Swain.  New Vishal Publications. 2015.

“Gender pay gap: Men earn 67% more than women in India, says Report,” Business Standard, March 8, 2017. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/gender-pay-gap-men-earn-67-more-than-women-in-india-says-report-117030800625_1.html

Kohli, Sugandha. “Gender Inequality in India,” International Journal of Humanities & Social Science Studies (IJHSSS) 3, no. 4 (2017): 178-185. http://www.ijhsss.com/files/15_ph6h6r3a.-Sugandha-Kohli.pdf

Lakshmi, Rama. “India’s schools now have an equal ratio of girls and boys, and that’s a big deal,” The Washington Post, April 9, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/04/09/indias-schools-now-have-an-equal-ratio-of-girls-and-boys/?utm_term=.5b21e62de39d

“Men without women,” The Hindu, August 31, 2003. http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2003/08/31/stories/2003083100250400.htm

Mittra, Sangh & Kumar, Bachchan. Encyclopaedia of Women in South Asia: India. Gyan Publishing House, 2004.

Namasivayam, Amrita; Osuorah, Donatus C.; Syed, Rahman; Antai, Diddy. “The role of gender inequities in women’s access to reproductive health care: a population-level study of Namibia, Kenya, Nepal, and India,” International Journal of Women’s Health 4 (2012): 351-364.  

Trivedi, Anjani & Timmons, Heather. “India’s Man Problem,” The New York Times, January 16, 2013. https://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/indias-man-problem/?_r=0

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]
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