India is the biggest democracy in India. Our constitution gives us equal rights for everyone. But it is very shameful that women are not getting the same status and opportunities as men. Though in India, many such communities are there who give more power and value to their women such as Nairs of Kerala, few Marathi societies, Bengali families, etc. But not all women in India are not that much lucky. They have to face a lot of discrimination at every stage of their life.
India is such a country where women are considered as a liability for the family. So no family wants to carry such liability. This is the reason behind female child abortion. In India, prenatal test to determine the sex of the fetus is illegal since 1996. But the same illegal practice is going on still today at some places. It is seen that families said they can’t afford a second girl child due to the cost associated with her.
In most of the cases, the family forced the mother to abort her girl child after illegal detection of the sex of the fetus. This is the reason behind the huge number of post-abortion complication cases. Moreover sometimes if they can’t abort the girl child, they just kill the child after her death or abandoned the girl child. This cruel practice is still very common in the rural part of India.
As a child:
As a girl child, she is treated differently than her other boy siblings in terms of food and treatment. If the resources are limited for the family, the boy members of the family get the best out of it and the leftover is given to the girl child. The girls sometimes do not get the proper diet also. This is the reason, in India most of the girl child is suffering from malnutrition which causes them in anemia later on. Survey says, most of the Indian women and girl child are not getting the proper nutrition that’s why they can’t reach to their proper growth. Even this malnutrition later results in problems during the pregnancy period. This becomes the case of life risk for both child and mother.
And not only food, but the girl child is deprived in terms of education also. In post-independent time the female literacy rate is only 8.86% where the same for the boys is 27.15 %. Though the next 60 years, the rate is increased a lot but the difference is still there. In 2011 the literary rate of males in India is 80.88% and females are 60.63%. A huge 20% gap is there as per the 2011 census. The gap is maximum for Jharkhand with more than 21 percent.
As we talked about earlier, some families don’t allow their women to work outside. For them, educate a girl child is just a waste of money as they are going to do only household works. Though basic schooling is free in India for all and the constitution is also gives the right to education, the situation is unchanged.
The parents expect their girl child to be an expert in household works. So they teach them household works from a very early age in spite of going to school. Sometimes they don’t like their daughter to go to school as there would be boys co-students around them in the co-education system. It is also seen that, if the education institute is a bit away from their home, then there are rape chances for the girl. Which sometimes demoted the family to allow them for education.
Moreover, if the mother is illiterate then that is going to affect the next generation also. The mother can not educate the children properly. And sometimes they don’t understand the importance of their child’s education. Sometimes this going to affect the upbringing of her child.
One more thing to take into consideration is child marriage. In Indian society, this is one of the black spots, which is pulling the society behind. In this patriarchal society, we often see child marriage. The girl child got married before 18 years. This practice is known As child marriage. And in India as per UNICEF’s 2009 survey, 47 percent of women aged between 20-24 were the victims of Child Marriage. This rate in the rural area is 56 percent and 40% of the whole world’s child marriage occurs in India.
In India, the government has banned child marriage. The minimum age for a girl to be married is 18 as per the law. But still the same is happening. Even behind this child marriage, you will find a couple of causes stated by their family.
– It is seen that the dowry for a young girl is lesser than a grown-up girl. So to get rid of that they tried to do child marriage.
– The marriage cost is considered a burden for the family. So they try to get out of it as early as possible.
– Sometimes families are involved in child marriage just to protect the girl from getting abused.
– In some of society, child marriage is an age-old tradition. And even today the generation is not out of it. So they do this practice.
The consequences were stated after their marriage itself. As per the patriarchal society, married women have to take responsibility for the house. But the child is not yet capable of taking that many responsibilities. Moreover, in the case of pregnancy, they will face lots of issues and miscarriages also. In some cases, the girl died due to complications of pregnancy. Even while living with their in-laws they have to face domestic violence, marital rapes also. This is enough to make them sick physically and mentally.
Patriarchal Society is always biased towards men. As per society, the woman is always a man’s responsibility. So for the entire life, the responsibility is transferred from one hand to another. After marriage, the custody of a woman is transferred to her husband and in-laws. After marriage, the girl has to take care of her husband and in-laws. It is her duty to do so. And she will be under the supervision of in-laws.
As per the Indian culture, the married woman no longer a part of her father’s family. She is then a part of her husband’s family. So, the married daughter is not getting the facilities after her father’s death. Even in some culture, the groom before going to marriage, ask for his mother’s permission to bring a servant(his bride) for her. So it can easily judge that the position of a bride is nothing higher than a servant. She has to perform all the household duties to make the in-laws happy.
Even in some places in India, it is very visible that the in-laws and her husband killed the wife. The cases of the burning wife are very common in India. Sometimes for not getting a boy child sometimes not getting the exact dowry. Then the family tries to remarriage the groom and get dowry again. To control these bride-burning cases, the government has to pass a law that states that, if a woman died in her house within 7 years of their marriage, a formal criminal investigation has to be done on that.
The government has to impose many laws just to secure the position of the widow in our society. The position of the widows in our society is the worst among all. Earlier, the tradition is to tug a widow with her dead husband and burn her alive(Sati). But later this practice become illegal and has to stop. But still, the remarriage of a widow is a big issue in lots of places in India. If the wife does the husband can do remarriage easily but not vies-versa. Though, now in urban areas of our country, you can find remarriages of a widow.
Not only that, in Hindu culture the widow is not allowed to eat non-vegetarian food. Even on few days, she has to stay starve for her dead husband. She doesn’t have the freedom to wear the clothes she wants. She sometimes has to wear white clothes for her entire life. Even she is not invited to any of the happening events in the family. She is considered the symbol of bad luck for the family. Even sometimes, she doesn’t get the right to her husband’s property. In the case of child widows, they are forced to get isolated and bound themselves within the boundaries and the restriction.
It is clearly visible that the position of women in our society has fallen immensely from the Vedic Era, where women are considered to be the most powerful. But the brightening part of the story is, post-independent time the government has taken a lot of steps to improve the position of women in our patriarchal society. As a result, you can see, in urban areas, girls are getting almost equal opportunities as boys. The lifestyle of women is improving. They are becoming independent. But in rural areas, things are not that much brighter.
Our country is a developing country. But when almost 50 percent of the population is not getting the minimum how can we expect to develop more? Until and unless our society comes out of its patriarchal image and empowered our women, we are not capable to grow up to our full potential.