India was ranked as the “most dangerous place in the world to be born a girl”. In a large country like India with such a high population, it’s hard to believe that so many young and old women alike live such terrible lives. But, according to a recent survey, this is the vicious truth. Factors such as high incidences of sexual violence, lack of access to justice in rape cases, child marriage, female foeticide and human trafficking allowed India to outrank war-torn countries such as Syria and Afghanistan.
Another detailed report revealed that there are approximately 50 deaths of boys aged one to five for every 100 female deaths in India. These figures directly reflect the widespread discrimination against girls, ranging from neglect and abuse to killing of unwanted female infants.
What Lead to This?
Girls are widely regarded as a burden to Indian families who fear the high costs of their weddings and resent spending money on their education. Many women abort pregnancies when they believe they will deliver a girl due to both social and economic issues.
How did this happen?
India’s cruel nature is shown in the way survivors are treated. Survivors of rape and sexual assault face incredible difficulties even when they try to seek out justice with the police, lawyers, and even doctors, adding to their ordeal with insensitive treatment. This combined with the social stigma associated with sexual assault adds to the suicide numbers we see on our screens every day.
Human trafficking poses yet another challenge. Many female victims are barbarically sold into sex work or domestic servitude. Slave labor is one of the leading factors that play into the appalling status of women in India.
What has been done before?
Little has been done to protect the women of India since the gruesome rape and murder of a young girl from Delhi in 2012, which resulted in short lived widespread outrage and few changes in the country’s rape laws. Girls and women still continue to face extreme brutality in this conservative, patriarchal country.
How can this change?
The country may be advancing in the field of Artificial Intelligence and space programs. It may have a beautiful culture. The consumer economy may be booming. But, for millions of its women, who account for nearly half the population, simple safety and dignity remain a distant dream. This is the harsh reality of this country.
This needs to change. For a country like India to really develop, effort must be put into these pressing issues. In an advanced world like ours today, there should be no room for barbaric practices such as the ones that take place with women in India. For women to feel safe and protected, it is the government and the country citizens’ duty to work towards women empowerment. The conservative mentality of the female child must be left behind. Education is a commodity that must be provided. Women must be protected in the community. Abusers and harassers need to be penalized for their crimes. Severe laws and strict implementation are a must to reduce the number of rapes and murders.
“The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved independence” – Mahatma Gandhi
There is a lot of work ahead for India. The uncomfortable truth of the status of Indian women has been put out in the open for the whole world to see. India must step up to improve the condition of its female population.