Condition of Women in India – Something That Needs Reform
India is known to be not-so-likable place for women of different nationality, especially after so many recent incidents. Events like dowry, sexual harassment, child marriage, etc. still prevail in this country having deeper roots since centuries. But before we discuss about the present scenario let us discuss about the condition of women in India since beginning.
Condition of Women in India
Very few people know that during the ancient era there were golden times for women. Women were given equal privilege as that of men. Without them, no religious rituals were performed and they were also given the right to choose their own groom. Not only this, they used to marry at a mature age. When it comes to wearing the outfits they were not covered completely head-to-toe, instead their clothing could be well compared to what today’s western women wear. Few communities also taught them self-defense techniques that were used in the time of need. So, this indicates that condition of women in India were best back then.
The condition of women in India declined after when medieval period came into existence. This worsened even more during the later medieval era. Child marriages started emerging which is still practiced today. Girls of younger age were married to older men like 40 years or above. Since their husbands were much older than them they became widow too early. Widows were not allowed to remarry for the rest of their life. The women had to live alone with no social privileges as common people enjoyed. Their heads are shaved and they were not allowed to regrow them. Sati pratha was another social injustice which included forceful burning of widows right after their husband died. There existed a Hindu ritual in which the dead bodies of men were burnt, and along with them, their widows were burned alive as well. Sati pratha does not exist today. But issues like dowry, physical abuse, female foeticide, etc. haven’t yet stopped and is on the rise day by day. Due to the rise in physical violence and harassment against women, most people do not want to parent a girl child. As a result, India has a drastic difference in the male to female sex ratio. Number of females per thousand males in the year 2016 is 944. The number varies in each and every region and state. Some states have reached even 800s or less!
No matter how much educated a lady becomes, she has to take a halt in dreaming and actually implementing her career so as to fulfill the society’s constant pressure, which is quite obvious. Marrying them off at early age before they are mentally prepared and pressurizing them to start motherhood is common in most middle class households. The Indian constitution clearly mentions 18 years as the minimum age to marry since at this age a women is considered physically fit to bear the pregnancy, if in case it persists. Less than this age increases the risk of death rates during childbirth for both mother and child.
Most parents and in-laws are under social pressure and are too conscious about their self image. The society has set some criteria that everyone needs to follow. But people often forget that they have to make a balance between the two. A child’s or an adult daughter’s happiness must be given privilege rather than a third person’s. Let your daughter decide what she wants in her life. Ask her what are her plans for marriage. Let her choose the groom by herself. If she is an adult she is mature enough to decide her life. If her marriage doesn’t go well, support her psychologically. Allow her to remarry, to live her life on her own terms, and to be Independent.
I do not say that each and every woman in every household faces barriers as shown by the media worldwide. There are those people who support their mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, daughters-in-law, etc. to become doctors, engineers, pilots, air-hostess, work in police department, army, navy, air-force, film line, modeling, etc. There are those people who want to change the society and are working really hard on daily basis in order to provide a better place for women as well as children. Yet more efforts need to be put on if one really wants to see a change in the condition of women. And charity begins at home, Women have to start realizing their self-worth and start respecting themselves.
India had its first woman IPS in the year 1972. It had its first woman prime minister around 50 years back. These women along with numerous others are the prime examples as inspiration to those who want to achieve greater in their life. There are certain groups who publish articles, make short movies, organize some events like dance, play, song, etc. and use that money to charity, so that people change their mindset. Still norms like child marriage or dowry are followed as a societal practice. So, no matter how much strict the country’s government becomes it simply won’t stop if people don’t change their rigid attitude.