Monday, December 11

Suppression of Women is a Universal Phenomenon

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A few years back, I was attending a conference at Bangalore. Along with some friends at the conference, I went to a late night movie. One of these friends was from Bihar. He was surprised by the presence of a large number of women and girls at the late night show. He told me that women in Bihar will never venture out after sunset. Recently, three young women were abducted and gang raped in moving vehicles in New Delhi which happens to be the capital of the country. This happened in a span of three weeks. Recently, in the city of Coimbatore, a thirteen year old girl was abducted by the cab driver. She was raped and murdered. Her brother was also murdered. Raping of women is a common occurrence and happens on a daily basis. Some of these rapes are reported and many go unreported because of the social stigma involved.

Police ineptness encourages rape

In many cases, the rape is performed by close relatives in whose custody the young children are left by trusting parents. Rapes are also performed by robbers who see this as a bonus. Rape also becomes difficult to prove mainly because of the lethargy and indifference on the part of the policemen. Many policemen even go to the extent of suggesting that many women bring it upon themselves by their way of behaviour and dressing. Even when action is reluctantly taken, what is the ultimate outcome? In the year 2009, in India, nearly twenty two thousand cases of rape were registered. Of these, the conviction rate was only around seventeen percent. In 2009, there were around forty thousand cases registered for molestation. The conviction rate was around sixteen percent. This actually shows the attitude of the police department in the country.

More than one suffering

Women in India are also affected in other ways also. You have the dowry deaths where arrests and convictions are rare. In several communities, women seldom go beyond school education. Even when there is adultery, the stigma attaches only to the woman. After all, it takes two people to commit adultery. When a wife dies, the husband becomes eligible for marriage the very next day. But even today, a widow finds very difficult to get married again. Sexual harassment of the women at the workplace is on the increase. When a man and a woman are having equal qualifications and talent, it is the man who gets promoted. Women are seldom able to reach the upper management levels in organizations.

Male domination is partly responsible

At home, the views of the women are seldom taken into consideration. The male children are pampered. The sex ratio is also changing alarmingly. The advent of technology to identify the sex of the foetus has actually spelt doom for the female population. Female infanticide is on the increase. Such is the alarming decline in the population of females that boys are finding it difficult to find girls to get married. The attitude of the families is ‘’Let there be only boys in our families and let the other families produce the girls’’.

Much of what has been written is about India, but they actually represent the Universal truth. If the status of women is to change the world over, attitudes must change.

A few years back, I was attending a conference at Bangalore. Along with some friends at the conference, I went to a late night movie. One of these friends was from Bihar. He was surprised by the presence of a large number of women and girls at the late night show. He told me that women in Bihar will never venture out after sunset. Recently, three young women were abducted and gang raped in moving vehicles in New Delhi which happens to be the capital of the country. This happened in a span of three weeks. Recently, in the city of Coimbatore, a thirteen year old girl was abducted by the cab driver. She was raped and murdered. Her brother was also murdered. Raping of women is a common occurrence and happens on a daily basis. Some of these rapes are reported and many go unreported because of the social stigma involved.

Police ineptness encourages rape

In many cases, the rape is performed by close relatives in whose custody the young children are left by trusting parents. Rapes are also performed by robbers who see this as a bonus. Rape also becomes difficult to prove mainly because of the lethargy and indifference on the part of the policemen. Many policemen even go to the extent of suggesting that many women bring it upon themselves by their way of behaviour and dressing. Even when action is reluctantly taken, what is the ultimate outcome? In the year 2009, in India, nearly twenty two thousand cases of rape were registered. Of these, the conviction rate was only around seventeen percent. In 2009, there were around forty thousand cases registered for molestation. The conviction rate was around sixteen percent. This actually shows the attitude of the police department in the country.

More than one suffering

Women in India are also affected in other ways also. You have the dowry deaths where arrests and convictions are rare. In several communities, women seldom go beyond school education. Even when there is adultery, the stigma attaches only to the woman. After all, it takes two people to commit adultery. When a wife dies, the husband becomes eligible for marriage the very next day. But even today, a widow finds very difficult to get married again. Sexual harassment of the women at the workplace is on the increase. When a man and a woman are having equal qualifications and talent, it is the man who gets promoted. Women are seldom able to reach the upper management levels in organizations.

Male domination is partly responsible

At home, the views of the women are seldom taken into consideration. The male children are pampered. The sex ratio is also changing alarmingly. The advent of technology to identify the sex of the foetus has actually spelt doom for the female population. Female infanticide is on the increase. Such is the alarming decline in the population of females that boys are finding it difficult to find girls to get married. The attitude of the families is ‘’Let there be only boys in our families and let the other families produce the girls’’.

Much of what has been written is about India, but they actually represent the Universal truth. If the status of women is to change the world over, attitudes must change.

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