Content advisory 18+ Being a woman is not easy. Being a woman in India is even tougher. Invariably, you are going to be subjected to so much discrimination since birth, that it eventually becomes the norm.
Discrimination starts even before you are born. Pregnant women are made to undergo antenatal check-ups not to detect fetal abnormalities, but to find out the gender of the baby. And if it’s a girl, drop the baby! According to Census 2011, there were 940 females for every 1000 men. The birth of a child is considered as a gift to a family, but the birth of a female child is considered as a curse in a lot of Indian families. The mother is pressurized to have another child in case a female child is born. If subsequent births lead to girls, the mother is not only tortured but also asked to undergo abortions (even late-stage abortions). And while antenatal gender disclosure is prohibited by the Indian law, both sex detection and illegal abortion is a booming business in India. Abortions by untrained gynaecologists and nurses have resulted in a large number of maternal deaths.
The girl child who is allowed to be born is often neglected. She is given less care than her brothers. In a typical Indian family, the women always have meals after the males in the house have eaten. She is also given less education (what is the point in educating a girl, she is going to be a housewife anyway) and married off at the first opportunity.
Indian marriages are a whole other drama (I will be elaborating on it in some other post), but I can’t go by without talking about the extravagant dowries that are given to the groom’s family by the family of the bride for simply marrying their daughter! It is almost as if they are compensating for the ‘burden’ that has been passed on.
I don’t want to paint such a grim picture of Indian women though. Women are now heading several elite companies and corporations, banks, becoming police officers and even fighter jet pilots!
However, discrimination as I have described it is the norm for most of the rural women who constitute the majority nationwide. And of course, there are the ever-present cases of rape and molestations.
Rape. It’s not a foreign occurrence to most countries, however, what is horrific is the mindset of a large section of my fellow Indian men. How can you rape a two-year-old child? What sick pleasure can you derive by inserting foreign objects through a six-year-old child’s vagina? I am not justifying the rape of older women, but the rape of a small child is just so much more horrific. And recently when the rape of a girl hit the news, men scrambled to find the video of it on porn sites (#1 trending search from India). And that is what scares me.
But irrespective of which social class you belong to, women usually ends up taking the brunt. While it is the new norm of the urban woman to work, there has been no shift in the sharing of the duties between the couple. She is expected to carry out all the household works while also being an earning member while the husband lifts off his feet once he is home.
One post is too short to talk about the unfairness of it all. The shift from a patriarchal family/society is an ongoing process aided by awareness programs and media coverage, but resistance from powerful ‘educated’ politicians and media personnels throwing out insensitive comments reflects how far we still have to go.
Let me introduce you our new writer from India, very interesting person, who, I believe, will bring even more internationality and multiculturality in our blog.