For my MDGs and You class, we were assigned to create a country profile on either gender equality or maternal health. Each student had a specific country to focus on. I chose to work on India’s gender inequality issues. Our country profile had to include a map showing the rate of gender inequality in different regions. In my report, I included an interview with a Depaul student who had lived in India. I researched different aspects of Indian culture and it’s impact on gender equality. I learned that gender inequality is deeply rooted into culture and religion. I discovered that we as teenagers have the power to change people’s perspectives and bring about change in the world.
COUNTRY PROFILE: INDIA AND GENDER INEQUALITY
10/10/2012 (rewrite 10/28/12)
Gender inequality is a problem all over the world. It is quite common in many societies to expect the men to work, whereas women do so if and only if they can combine such work with household work. Gender inequality (gender inequality refers to the disparity between individuals due to gender) is a global issue and India is no exception to this issue. India is the second most populous country and home of many different languages.
Bijal, a DePaul student who was born and grew up in India, says there is a great deal of gender inequality in her country. Women are the most vulnerable when it comes to literacy and health. Indian culture has questioned women’s full humanity and value. In India women have legal rights, but they may be prevented from exercising them. Because of the lack of the educational opportunities, women accept prostitution as a part of their life and fate. This is a cycle followed by their daughters (Bijal).
The clearest expression of gender inequality is violence against women, which is firmly embedded in all social systems. Gender based violence encompasses several things: female genital mutilation, child abuse, rape, and domestic violence. Part of the problem is rooted in deep cultural stereotypes. In India rape is considered an unfortunate but forgivable offense. The offender faces no consequences for his actions. For many men, deflowering someone is a prideful act.
Sex trafficking is among the most common abuse towards women. Families bargain their daughters or grandchildren in exchange for money. Women are forced into sex trafficking as early as age three. Indian brothels are among the most brutal of all. Girls are tortured if they refused to service a client (Half the Sky).
As reflected in indicators 1 and 2 of
MDG 3, education is a major is a strategy for overcoming gender disparity. In India, the literacy rate for women ages 15-24 was 74.36% in January 2006, whereas for the men it was 88.41 % (Tradingeconomics). However, the 2011 census shows progress. Between 2001 and 2011 the growth for females was 11.8%, greater than the increase for males, which was 6.9 % (Wikipedia). The UNFPA report supports these statistics. There has been progress towards achieving MDG 3. The UNFPA report shows that the gender parity index for primary school enrollment has increased from 77 to 96. For secondary school enrollment the gender parity index has increased from 60 to 83 (UNFPA).
I created a map showing the effective literacy rate of women in India. The map showed that in the regions in the coastal areas women had higher literacy rates.
Gender inequality is the moral topic of the century. In order to solve this issue we need to bring about change in policy and insist that everyone’s voice matters. When women are encouraged to participate in the formal economy of their society the economy grows. Everyone is more prosperous. Women need to hear that they are worthy of respect and have the power to decide their own fate.
Bijal, DePaul student. Interview.
Half the Sky. Dir. Maro Chernayeff. 2012. PBS.
“Literacy in India.” Wikipedia. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy_in_India>. Web. 28 October 2012.
Trading Economics: data on literacy rates for Indian youth. <https://www.tradingeconomics.com/india/literacy-rate-youth-female-percent-of-females-ages-15-24-wb-data.html>, <https://www.tradingeconomics.com/india/literacy-rate-youth-male-percent-of-males-ages-15-24-wb-data.html>. . Web. 28 October 2012.
World Factbook: India. (Central Intelligence Agency). <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/in.html> Web. 6 October 2012.
United Nations Population Fund and Population Reference Bureau. “Country Profiles for Population and Reproductive Health.” 2010. https://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/documents/publications/2010/countryprofiles_2010_en.pdf. Web. 28 October 2012.