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On 22 August , the Indian Supreme Court deemed instant triple talaq talaq-e-biddat unconstitutional. In , a survey by Thomson Reuters Foundation termed India as the world's most dangerous country for women due to high risk of sexual violence. National Commission for Women NCW also pointed out that there could be no doubt that India is far ahead of a number of countries in terms of women's rights.
Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore criticized the Indian National Congress for using this survey to damage the reputation of the Modi government and that the survey that was based on "perception" and "afar from any solid facts or numbers". Also in , the Supreme Court of India struck down a law making it a crime for a man to have sex with a married woman without the permission of her husband. The steady change in the position of women can be highlighted by looking at what has been achieved by women in the country:.
India has one of the highest number of female politicians in the world. As of , 12 out of 29 states and the union territory of Delhi have had at least one female Chief Minister. The status of women in India is strongly connected to family relations.
In India, the family is seen as crucially important, and in most of the country the family unit is patrilineal. Families are usually multi-generational, with the bride moving to live with the in-laws. Families are usually hierarchical, with the elders having authority over the younger generations, and the males over females. The vast majority of marriages are monogamous one husband and one wife , but both polygyny and polyandry in India have a tradition among some populations in India. Most marriages in India are arranged.
With regard to dress, a sari a long piece of fabric draped around the body and salwar kameez are worn by women all over India. A bindi is part of a woman's make-up. Despite common belief, the bindi on the forehead does not signify marital status; however, the Sindoor does. Rangoli or Kolam is a traditional art very popular among Indian women. On 28 September , the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on the entry of women.
We veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creator's hand. George Bernard Shaw . The Indian Armed Forces began recruiting women to non-medical positions in On 24 October , the Indian government announced that women could serve as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force IAF , having previously only been permitted to fly transport aircraft and helicopters.
The decision means that women are now eligible for induction in any role in the IAF. According to figures, only 9. Though it is sharply increasing,  the female literacy rate in India is less than the male literacy rate.
However, in rural India, girls continue to be less educated than boys. According to the National Sample Survey Data of , only the states of Kerala and Mizoram have approached universal female literacy. According to scholars, the major factor behind improvements in the social and economic status of women in Kerala is literacy. As of , about , NFE centres were catering to about 7. About , NFE centres were exclusively for girls.
According to a report by the U. Department of Commerce, the chief barriers to female education in India are inadequate school facilities such as sanitary facilities , shortage of female teachers and gender bias in the curriculum female characters being depicted as weak and helpless. The literacy rate is lower for women compared to men: The census, however, indicated a — decadal literacy growth of 9. There is a wide gender disparity in the literacy rate in India: Contrary to common perception, a large percentage of women in India are actively engaged in traditional and non-traditional work.
In urban India, women participate in the workforce in impressive numbers. In rural India in the agriculture and allied industrial sectors, females account for as much as It found that the gap was narrower in the early years of experience.
While men with 0—2 years of experience earned 7. The pay gap becomes wider at senior level positions as the men with 11 and more years of tenure earned 25 percent higher median wages than women. While India passed the Equal Remuneration Act way back in , which prohibits discrimination in remuneration on grounds of sex. But in practice, the pay parity still exist. One of the most famous female business success stories, from the rural sector, is the Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad.
Started in by seven women in Mumbai with a seed capital of only Rs. It provides employment to 43, in women across the country. One of the largest dairy co-operatives in the world, Amul , began by mobilizing rural women in Anand in the western state of Gujarat. In , Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw , who founded Biocon, one of India's first biotech companies, was rated India's richest woman. Shaw remained the richest self-made woman in ,  coming in at 72nd place in terms of net worth in Forbes 's annual rich list.
She was the 4th and last female in the list, thereby showing that 96 of the richest entities in the country continued to be male controlled directly or indirectly. However, India has a strong history of many women with inherited wealth establishing large enterprises or launching successful careers in their own rights. In most Indian families, women do not own any property in their own names, and do not get a share of parental property.
The Hindu personal laws of applying to Hindus , Buddhists , Sikhs , and Jains gave women rights to inheritances. However, sons had an independent share in the ancestral property, while the daughters' shares were based on the share received by their father. Hence, a father could effectively disinherit a daughter by renouncing his share of the ancestral property, but a son would continue to have a share in his own right.
Additionally, married daughters, even those facing domestic abuse and harassment, had no residential rights in the ancestral home.
Thanks to an amendment of the Hindu laws in , women now have the same status as men. In , the Supreme Court of India ruled that Shah Bano , an elderly divorced Muslim woman, was eligible for alimony. However, the decision was opposed by fundamentalist Muslim leaders, who alleged that the court was interfering in their personal law. Similarly, Christian women have struggled over the years for equal rights in divorce and succession.
In , all churches, jointly with women's organizations, drew up a draft law called the Christian Marriage and Matrimonial Causes Bill. However, the government has still not amended the relevant laws. Crime against women such as rape, acid throwing , dowry killings , honour killings , and the forced prostitution of young girls has been reported in India. The National Crime Records Bureau reported in that by growth in the rate of crimes against women would exceed the population growth rate.
Official statistics show a dramatic increase in the number of reported crimes against women. A Thomas Reuters Foundation survey  says that India is the fourth most dangerous place in the world for women to live in. In India, acid attacks on women  who dared to refuse a man's proposal of marriage or asked for a divorce  are a form of revenge.
Acid is cheap, easily available, and the quickest way to destroy a woman's life. The number of acid attacks has been rising. Child marriage has been traditionally prevalent in India but is not so continued in Modern India to this day. Historically, child brides would live with their parents until they reached puberty. In the past, child widows were condemned to a life of great agony, shaved heads, living in isolation, and being shunned by society.
Domestic violence in India is endemic. The National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes, and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the husband occurs every nine minutes.
In India, domestic violence toward women is considered as any type of abuse that can be considered a threat; it can also be physical, psychological, or sexual abuse to any current or former partner. In , the Government of India passed the Dowry Prohibition Act,  making dowry demands in wedding arrangements illegal. However, many cases of dowry-related domestic violence, suicides and murders have been reported.
In the s, numerous such cases were reported. In , the Dowry Prohibition maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom Rules were framed. The list should contain a brief description of each present, its approximate value, the name of who has given the present, and relationship to the recipient. However, such rules are rarely enforced. A report claimed that each year at least 5, women in India die dowry-related deaths, and at least a dozen die each day in 'kitchen fires' thought to be intentional.
Amongst the urban educated, such dowry abuse has reduced considerably. In , the National Crime Records Bureau reported 8, dowry deaths. Unofficial estimates claim the figures are at least three times as high. In India, the male-female sex ratio is skewed dramatically in favour of males, the chief reason being the high number of females who die before reaching adulthood.
This is in spite of the fact that tribal communities have far lower income levels, lower literacy rates, and less adequate health facilities. The sex ratio is particularly bad in the north-western area of the country, particularly in Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir. Ultrasound scanning constitutes a major leap forward in providing for the care of mother and baby, and with scanners becoming portable, these advantages have spread to rural populations. However, ultrasound scans often reveal the sex of the baby, allowing pregnant women to decide to abort female foetuses and try again later for a male child.
This practice is usually considered the main reason for the change in the ratio of male to female children being born. In the Indian government passed a law forbidding women or their families from asking about the sex of the baby after an ultrasound scan or any other test which would yield that information and also expressly forbade doctors or any other persons from providing that information.
In practice this law like the law forbidding dowries is widely ignored, and levels of abortion on female foetuses remain high and the sex ratio at birth keeps getting more skewed. Female infanticide killing of infant girls is still prevalent in some rural areas. Continuing abuse of the dowry tradition has been one of the main reasons for sex-selective abortions and female infanticides in India.
Honor killings have been reported in northern regions of India , mainly in the Indian states of Punjab , Rajasthan , Haryana and Uttar Pradesh , as a result of the girl marrying without the family's acceptance, and sometimes for marrying outside her caste or religion. Haryana is notorious for incidents of honour killings, which have been described as "chillingly common in villages of Haryana". In some other parts of India, notably West Bengal , honor killings completely ceased about a century ago, largely due to the activism and influence of reformists such as Vivekananda , Ramakrishna , Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
Violence against women related to accusations of witchcraft occurs in India, particularly in parts of Northern India. Belief in the supernatural among the Indian population is strong, and lynchings for witchcraft are reported by the media. New Delhi has one of the highest rate of rape-reports among Indian cities.
Eve teasing is a euphemism used for sexual harassment or molestation of women by men. Many activists blame the rising incidents of sexual harassment against women on the influence of "Western culture". In , The Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act was passed  to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings or in any other manner.
Of the total number of crimes against women reported in , half related to molestation and harassment in the workplace. The Court also laid down detailed guidelines for prevention and redressal of grievances. The National Commission for Women subsequently elaborated these guidelines into a Code of Conduct for employers.
Many incidents go unreported as the victims fear being shunned by their families. The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act was passed in These women are forced into prostitution or domestic work or child labour. Centre for Equality and Inclusion CEQUIN , alternatively spelled in the press as Center for Equality and Inclusion, is a non-governmental organisation based in India that works towards female empowerment and women's rights.
In the wake of several brutal rape attacks in the capital city of Delhi, debates held in other cities revealed that some men believed women who dressed provocatively deserved to get raped; many of the correspondents stated women incited men to rape them. The degree to which women participate in public life, that is being outside the home, varies by region and background.
For example, the Rajputs , a patrilineal clan inhabiting parts of India, especially the north-western area, have traditionally practised purdah , and many still do to this day. In recent years however, more women have started to challenge such social norms: The concept of family honor is especially prevalent in northern India. Izzat is a concept of honor prevalent in the culture of North India and Pakistan.
Women must uphold the 'family honor' by being chaste, passive and submissive, while men must be strong, brave, and be willing and able to control the women of their families. Deeply patriarchal, caste purity is paramount and marriages are arranged to sustain the status quo. The average female life expectancy today in India is low compared to many countries, but it has shown gradual improvement over the years. In many families, especially rural ones, girls and women face nutritional discrimination within the family, and are anaemic and malnourished.
The maternal mortality in India is the 56th highest in the world. In rural areas, most of women deliver with the help of women in the family, contradictory to the fact that the unprofessional or unskilled deliverer lacks the knowledge about pregnancy. The average woman living in a rural area in India has little or no control over becoming pregnant. Women, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to safe and self-controlled methods of contraception.
The public health system emphasises permanent methods like sterilisation, or long-term methods like IUDs that do not need follow-up. Lower caste women in India have seen significant improvement in their status.
Educated and financially well-off Dalit women used politics to achieve status, however, that many Dalit women who were involved in politics later declined due to increasing income and educational levels. India has a highly skewed sex ratio, which is attributed to sex-selective abortion and female infanticide affecting approximately one million female babies per year. The number of missing women totaled million across the world. Along with abortion, the high number of males in India is a result of sex selection, where physicians are given the opportunity to incorrectly determine the sex of a child during the ultrasound.
The female mortality in was The gap between the two gender titles is a direct response to the gender bias within India. Men and women in India have unequal health and education rights. Women in India have high fertility and get married at a young age. Those who are given more opportunity and rights are more likely to live longer and contribute to the economy rather than that of a women expected to serve as wife starting at a young age and continuing the same responsibilities for the rest of her life.
In India, some train compartments, or sometimes whole trains, are reserved specifically for female passengers in an effort to make their travel easier and more secure. A demonstrator shouts slogans from inside a bus after she was detained by police near presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan during a protest rally organized by various women's organizations in New Delhi Dec.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in various parts of the country to demand urgent action against the men who took turns to rape a year-old woman on a moving bus on Dec.
Surrogate mothers, from left to right, Daksha, 37; Renuka, 23; and Rajia, 39, pose for a photograph inside a temporary home for surrogates provided by Akanksha IVF center in Anand town Aug. India is a leading center for surrogate motherhood, partly due to Hinduism's acceptance of the concept. The world's second test tube baby was born in Kolkata only two months after Louise Brown in Rising demand from abroad for Indian surrogate mothers has turned "surrogacy tourism" there into a billion dollar industry, according to a report by the Law Commission of India.
At least 7, people have died of AIDS in India, the world's second-worst affected nation, since an official count began two decades ago, a top health official said.
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