Our Girls and their Story

 

India has a very notorious name when it comes to gender issues. Our women are far below men and the root cause is the deeply entrenched patriarchal norms and cultural traditions that put an invisible constraint on women and their path to progress.
To illustrate the condition of women in India lets highlight some facts from statistical data.

In India the Sex ratio that is the number of women per thousand males is 933 females per thousand males and that of child sex ratio (same ratio for the age group 0-6yrs) is 927. Both these show a decline from the previous census data coupled with the fact that both data are skewed highly In favor of men. Haryana has the lowest sex ratio among all the states and Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab are placed at the bottom with regard to child sex ratio raging between 850-799.

The total literacy rate as per census report 2011 for males was 80.9% while for female it is 64.6%. It does show us the grievous truth that, still a large proportion of our female population is unable to read or write their name at least!
This skewed relation is further carried on in every other statistics, for example the level wise enrollment in the year 2010 for I-V standard is 701 for boys and 646 for girls. In upper primary level it was 327 for boys and 292 for girls and in case of secondary level 175 and 143 for boys and girls respectively.

There were 33707 cases of reported rape, 51881 kidnapping and abductions, 8083 dowry deaths, 118866 cases of cruelty by husbands and in laws during the year 2013. And so the statistics goes on and on.
Overall we can assume it’s not a good place for women to be living. Why this disparity and hatred to women is where the whole societal dynamics become complicated. From the time when a child is born the discrimination starts. I like to draw the attention to female foeticide  in India…..There are no official statistics and few convictions but the drastic nature of this issue is reflected in child sex ratio. Hence it can be effectively concluded that our dislike for women starts before they are even born!

So why does the society consider us inferior and not desirable? Economics plays a major role. Girls are burden, they have to be married off and looked after. So why is it that something to be married off and looked after become the definition of women? A logical conclusion could be that society continues to see women still as bodies to propagate the species as well as our culture and tradition. A women’s identity always gets narrowed down to that specific part.

In our culture motherhood and everything feminine are worshipped, our ancient scripts and everything celebrates womanhood! In a highly religious state like India the role that these texts play is overwhelming! Most of our morality codes stem from them, and in case of a girl’s life we are imposed lot of these morality standards and any deviation is strictly punished! Those of us who are convent educated will know how hard the situation gets. In the name of discipline and obedience we are put through a lot of difficulty to cross to live our life!

Even when it comes to professional life, we face a similar set of moral standards. We are taught certain professions are not good for girls as we won’t be able to devote ourselves to family life, many of us face difficulty in going out of our hometowns for education, so on and so forth. It’s very difficult for our society to dis-associate our lives from this aspect and see women as individuals capable of dreams and plans for their lives.
The change should be here, we should be supportive and motivating towards our girls and encourage them to follow their passions. Create an atmosphere where we know we are not just sexual bodies alone but much more than that. Incite them with dreams about their life and spread courage to achieve them. Many have taken this path and have been successful. So we can do it. A more supportive society will bring the necessary wave of change that is the necessity that is long overdue.

 

 

Contributed By – Manju Theresa Mathew

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