Women in India face many socio-cultural, economic, and political challenges that persist both in time and space. These challenges can be classified as challenges against time and challenges against space.
Challenges against time:
- Patriarchy: A patriarchal social structure in which males have absolute power over women in all aspects of society, with women being confined to domestic roles.
- Violence against women: Physical and mental violence against women, including domestic violence and dowry-related deaths.
- Education issues: Lack of access to education for women, particularly in rural areas, leading to a significant disparity in literacy rates between men and women.
- Dowry system: Demands for large sums of money from the bride’s family by the groom’s family, leading to violence and death if the demand is not met.
Challenges against space:
- Pink collarization of jobs: Women being confined to stereotyped “pink-collar jobs” such as teaching and nursing, limiting their opportunities in other fields.
- Glass ceilings: Artificial barriers preventing women from advancing in their careers and reaching management-level positions.
- Sexual harassment at the workplace: The #MeToo movement brought attention to the widespread issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Lack of political participation: Low representation of women in political positions, with only 11.8% of women in the Indian Parliament and 9% in state assemblies.
- Sensitization and awareness generation about gender equality and women’s rights from an early age.
- Enactment and enforcement of legislation and policies promoting gender equality.
- Respect for women in the home and treating sons and daughters equally.
- Development and implementation of national plans and policies addressing violence against women.
- Gender-based surveys to generate evidence on the magnitude of the problem and effective solutions.
The World Bank report highlights the benefits of bringing women on equal footing with men. It is crucial for India to address the continued challenges faced by women in order to improve their status and contribute to the overall development of the country.