Yes – gender inequality still exists in India and here’s how
If you were to browse through the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations in the year 2015, you would see that the deadline for all the goals was set for the year 2030. However, the most recent data would show you that we as a world, are far from reaching the goal, when it comes to number 5 in the list, which pertains to gender inequality issues has a deadline for the year 2030. Violence, both domestic and from the outside world, remains a pertinent issue and is making women feel unsafe in their own homes and societies.
There are those who would ask – does gender inequality in India actually exist? These naysayers would probably ask for examples and here are just a few:
- Even though, India has been on the rise in terms of financial growth and socio-economic development, the bitter fact remains that India is still a country that is finding its feet on the stage of global economies. Girls who come from such families, where the household income is highly limited, preferences are bound to be made and girls might not be at the beneficiary end. Families with limited income would prefer to send sons to school, rather than daughters, setting up a glaring example of inequality and discrimination.
- For the longest time, and even today, the concept of patriarchy rules the roost – and while things might be changing in the urban centres, things still remain affected in rural areas and socially backward regions of the country. Women are meant to be relegated to the kitchen and household chores, while the men are meant to step out into the world. Even the power of making decisions for their own selves, is often taken away from them.
- There is a lack of education and that lack of education brings about an ignorance about one’s rights – literacy is meant to bring knowledge of various kinds, including the rights and freedoms that are accorded to every citizen of the country, regardless of their gender. The subservience of women towards men is not only out of the continuance of social norms, but also the lack of education, making this yet another example of gender inequality in society.
The very first step to achieving any form of gender equality would be addressing these critical issues – it is actually quite easy to find statistics related to how women are treated with disdain and at times, physical violence, for things as simple as spending money without permission or not obeying the men of the family.
There is a general need for awareness and education lies at the heart of it – at Educate Girls, when we strive to bring girls from rural areas and socially marginalised families back to school, it is not only to make them independent, but also to help reduce and perhaps eventually eradicate all types of gender inequality.
Now let’s take a look at how the solutions for this problem can be found:
Given that the problem is not singular in nature, the solution cannot be either, which means that the attention needs to be paid at multiple fronts. Here are the main factors that need to be paid attention to:
- Girls and women need to be given the same number of educational opportunities as their male counterparts
- There have to be just as many opportunities to be in positions of power and have chances to achieve economic success
- Women need to be made aware of their rights – as per law and constitution
- Child marriages and violence against women has to come to a full stop
Even though there are Indian women who have emerged as global leaders, there are still too many girls who are dropping out of school, becoming victims of gender-based violence, and not getting enough opportunities to prove their true mettle.
UNICEF India came up with a nationwide program that spanned 2018 to 2022, the first step of which was identifying the deprivations that Indian children, in particular girls, were facing. The major pointers included:
- Education ranks high, because there needs to be gender responsive support and the curriculum needs to be redesigned to include gender sensitivity topics. There needs to be a removal of gender stereotypes and efforts need to be made to bring girls back to school who have dropped out. Organisations like Educate Girls are working hard to bring girls from underprivileged families and marginalised societies back into the fold of education.
- Health and nutrition go hand in hand – while the female mortality rate has to be reduced, equitable eating habits need to start from home. There also has to be an imparting of information and knowledge regarding nutritious food and how it can be prepared for the entire family with locally available and sourced ingredients. Women in particular also need to understand how important proper healthcare is – including during their menstruation.
- One of the causes of gender inequality, which might not seem so on the surface, but actually is – would be lack of proper bathroom facilities in schools and several workplaces too. When women are unable to relieve themselves in peace and privacy, they often choose to back away or drop out. Schools need to have proper facilities for girls and there also needs to be support offered to them during their menstruation, because that should not become a reason to forfeit an education.
Several strategic partnerships will be required in order to offer a proper solution and Educate Girls aims to be at the forefront in terms of offering a chance at education for the girls who truly deserve it. If you too have been thinking about how to stop gender inequality and what you can do in it all, all you need to do is join hands with Educate Girls. Our entire team is constantly looking to bring girls who have had to discontinue education, due to any number of reasons, back to the classroom.
And everytime you donate, your donations allow us to reach out to more and more girls in rural India and bring them into the world of education and opportunities.
Posted on May 28, 2023