Women’s Rights in India by A.S

Today in the U.S, Women have lots of opportunities. Many women in the U.S are now CEO’s and Presidents of big companies, more than men, there are two women who are running for president, and there are more girls studying in college than boys. But, little do we realize that outside our country, many other countries don’t have a lot of women who have the same equal opportunities.  As said by analysts from the Council on Foreign Relations, “Women in India face myriad cultural challenges that impede social advancement.” (Xu)  This being said, India’s government needs to bring attention to several different aspects of Women’s Rights including rape, education, role in the workforce, and voting rights.  

Rape is the 4th most common crime against women in India. Rape cases are common in India, though they don’t make the national news. However, in New Delhi on December 2012, a 23 year old female college student was riding on a private bus with one of her male friends, when a group of men on the bus gang raped and beat her and her friend. Due to her severe injuries, she died 2 weeks later. The crime made national headlines and was heard around the world. Protesters stood against state and federal governments in India for failing to provide safety of women.

As a result of the 2012 gang rape, India’s government passed the Criminal Law Act of 2013, which changed and modified new acts relating to sexual offences in the Indian Penal Code, the main criminal code of India. As for the men involved in the gang rape, all were charged with murder and rape. One defendant died during the trial, another defendant who was a juvenile, was sentenced to 3 years in a reform facility, and the other 3 men were sentenced to death by hanging.  But still after the Criminal Law Act had been updated , rape was still going on around the country. According to Reuters.com, the National Crime Rates Bureau of India found that 337,922 reports of violence against women including rape this year are up 9% from 2013. So what has India done to bring these rates down? Nothing. India is failing to educate their citizens about sexual offenses.

Education in India for women, is far behind that of the United States. According to a polling agency, Gallup, the traditional expectations for a women is to go to college, get married, and have children. Gallup also found that women who progress only beyond high school make 6.5% of the working age (15-59). But for a lot of these women in India sadly, a majority of them are unskilled and have a basic education, who are working, but not for college degree-based businesses. An Indian census from 2011 found that when a women has a high literacy rate, it enhances life in and outside of the home, and also encourages young children to learn and grow. If India improves their literacy rate for women, which in 6 states of India is under 60%, then it will not only improve a woman’s life, but will also motivate children.

Most women in India work low paying jobs that require no skill and most are paid below minimum wage, which in India is about 85 rupees a day ($1.50). India’s official gathering of statistics, the National Sample Survey Organization found in 2010 that about 112 million women work in India. A year later, according to a 2011 census, there is a total of 586 million women in the workforce. So you might be asking what kind of jobs are women working in? The Wall Street Journal’s Economy and Business Blog reported that the most common job is farming (Tripti Lahiri, By the Numbers: Where Indian Women Work). Farming is the biggest employer for women, about 77 million women are working mostly in crop farming and livestock. There are a higher percent of women who work in farming than men. Only about 46.6% of men work in farming. Tobacco Products and Clothing manufacturing consist of 10.8% of working women. Tobacco is currently the leading manufacturer to employ women. Construction in India is the 3rd largest employer, employing about 5.1% of women, or 5.7 million. Primary education schools have about 2.5 million women. As for government jobs, such as healthcare and bureaucracy only 1.25 million women are working in healthcare and about 1% of Indian women work in bureaucracy, most of them, have more than a college education. Although Women in India are advancing in their education, they should be getting more job opportunities in their booming economy.

Women in India are allowed to vote, however their vote is only now becoming more independent (Chandran, Pradhan,”India’s Women). Women have been allowed to vote since 1947, making voting rights equal for both men and women after their Independence from Great Britain. Every five years in India, there is a national election. Before, women who were in a higher socioeconomic class were only allowed to vote with men. Last year, India had an election to elect members of their parliament. In Bloomberg’s Business Blog, Rina Chandran and Bibhudatta Pradhan interviewed multiple women who were voting in the 2014 Election. One Women, Urmila Devi, told the authors that her husband urged her to vote for India’s ruling congress party.  However she instead ignores her husband’s suggestion once she steps into the voting booth. “I’m concerned about women’s safety. It should be the government’s top priority,” Devi says. Women in India are starting to use their own voice in the elections, working to change violence against women, achieve higher literacy rates, and close gender gap. On the World Economic Forum global gender gap index out of 136 countries, India was ranked 101st. Although a lot of progress has recently been made regarding women’s voting rights, this movement began far behind that of the US and is only recently making progress.

India continues to struggle to support Women’s Rights as it enters in the modern age.  The U.S needs to be aware of the problems that India continues to face. India is still struggling to bring attention to several different aspects of Women’s Rights including rape, education, role in the workforce, and voting rights.  The U.S being a more advanced culture, as a country they should step in make change.

 

 

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