GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN INDIA

In India, discriminatory attitude towards men and women have existed for generations and effect the lives of both genders. Although the constitution of India has granted men and women equal rights, gender disparity still remains. Gender discrimination violates human rights. These are mostly seen in family land sharing among sisters and brothers.

There is specific research on gender discrimination mostly in favour of men over women.Women are perceived to be disadvantaged at work. Indian laws on Rape, Dowry and Adultery have women’s safety at heart, but these highly discriminatory practices are still taking place at an alarming rate.

Birth

The cultural construct of Indian society which reinforces gender bias against men and women, with varying degrees and variable contexts against the opposite sex, has led to the continuation of India’s strong preference for male children. Female infanticide and sex-selective abortion is adopted and strongly reflects the low status of Indian women. Census 2011 shows decline of girl population (as a percentage to total population) under the age of seven, with activists estimating that eight million female fetuses may have been aborted in the past decade.The 2005 census shows infant mortality figures for females and males are 61 and 56, respectively, out of 1000 live births, with females more likely to be aborted than males due to biased attitudes.

A decline in the child sex ratio(0–6 years) was observed with India’s 2011 census reporting that it stands at 914 females against 1,000 males, dropping from 927 in 2001 – the lowest since India’s independence.

The demand for sons among wealthy parents is being satisfied by the medical community through the provision of illegal service of fetal sex-determination and sex-selective abortion. The financial incentive for physicians to undertake this illegal activity seems to be far greater than the penalties associated with breaking the law.

Childhood to adulthood and its education

Education is not wise attained by Indian women. Although literacy rates are increasing, female literacy rate lags behind the male literacy rate.

Literacy Rate Census of India 2001 and 2011 Comparison

Literacy for females stands at 65.46%, compared to 82.14% for males. An underlying factor for such low literacy rates are parents’ perceptions that education for girls are a waste of resources as their daughters would eventually live with their husbands’ families and they will not benefit directly from the education investment.

Adulthood and onwards

Discrimination against women has contributed to gender wage differentials, with Indian women on average earning 64% of what their male counterparts earn for the same occupation and level of qualification.

This has led to their lack of autonomy and authority. Although equal rights are given to women, equality may not be well implemented. In practice, land and property rights are weakly enforced, with customary laws widely practised in rural areas. Women do not own property under their own names and usually do not have any inheritance rights to obtain a share of parental property.

Consequences

Gender discrimination impedes growth; with lower female-to-male workers ratios significantly reducing total output in both agricultural and non-agricultural sector.It is also estimated that growth in India would increase by 1.09% if its female labor-participation rate were put on par with the US.images-65