“What will you do with an education” (CNN, Youtube). Even though were we live it is expected for girls to get the same education as boys, many young females are getting this exact response when they say they want to pursue education. Throughout the years between 600 C.E.
to present day the role of women in society has changed drastically in India. The Indian Government has taken many measures to prevent the discrimination of women, by putting laws in place that should protect the rights and safety of women, including the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, Indecent Representation of Women Act, The Dowry Prohibition Act. However, these laws have done little to better the lives of women in India because the laws aren’t acknowledged or enforced by the government. This means that the subcontinent remains a high-risk place for females to live. Ranking at the 4th most dangerous country in the world for women to live in.
The main reason for this harsh sexism against women in the country is religious and cultural ideals from hundreds of years ago. Around the time of 600 C.E.
it was not uncommon for women to have arranged marriages or to be burned if they were ever widowed because these were the values of the time period. Female infanticide was and still is highly encouraged if a woman was found to be pregnant with a girl, even though sex-selective abortion is now outlawed (Vitamin, Youtube). One extremely valued system in Muslim and Hindu culture is the “Purdah”. This practice is tremendously against women’s’ rights and calls for seclusion of women from the sight of men.
So, often women would sleep in a seperate room in their house, be seperated from men by a screen, or have to wear clothes that cover all of their body as to not be seen by men(Stearns,). Another practice that still influences Indian culture today is the ancient practice of Sati, or widow burning. This tradition called for a woman to be thrown into a pit after the death of her husband, if she refused, she would be reduced to the social rank of the “untouchables” and would remain there forever. The Untouchables was outside of the caste system and the people in the class were not considered to be people.
They were treated like animals or dirt. These values and practices would continue on until the 20th century, when women began to attain rights and protection under the law.With all the laws the government has passed to protect the women of India,”on paper India looks really good”(The Rights).
The government has designed many acts devoted to the safety and equality of women. For example, in the Constitution of 1950, women gained the right to vote and it became illegal to discriminate based on gender. Also, in laws established later on they were given the right to get an abortion, divorce by mutual consent, and there was a ban placed on polygamy for all Indians except those who practiced Islam(Stearns,227).
While much has been done to protect the safety and security of the female population in India, it remains an extremely perilous place for women to live in. Progress needs to be made to ensure a secure place for women. There have been women in government positions as high as the President of India, that are oblivious to the torment girls must go through every day of their lives. There is about two thousand cases of female infanticide everyday, six hundred thousand cases each year, and around thirty-four thousand cases of rape a year.
This means that ninety-three women are raped per day, four girls an hour, and one every fifteen minutes. Females do strive for safety and equality. However, since less than half of all girls are provided with a proper education, issues like illiteracy come into play.
Only about 48% of all girls who receive a primary education have the ability to read and write. Making it extremely difficult to find work. Education isn’t the only thing preventing women from finding work, many businesses also deny women as workers because they are not willing to pay for maternity leave, if a female worker was to get pregnant and have a child(“The Rights”)