Gender inequality in socio-political scenario across the globe and in IndiaGender inequality is the concept or idea that women and men are not equal. Gender inequality refers to the unequal treatment or perceptions of different individuals that usually arises due to their gender.
It can be due to the differences in gender roles or characteristics. Gender inequality stems from distinctions that are either socially constructed or are empirically grounded.Many cultures, religions and societies across the worldview woman as inferior or subordinate to men and discriminate against them in various ways from female children not been given education, healthcare, nutritious food, job opportunities, inequality in wages, political representation and it reaches such extremes that the girl child is killed- infanticide/feticide etc.Gender discrimination is deeply rooted in history, tradition, religion, culture, and society. Gender inequality is a highly discriminating stigma and leads to detrimental levels of women’s psychology of their worth and dignity to themselves and to society.Highly developed nations such as the USA also face discrimination against women even though the feminist movement first began their sometime in 1980. While the female sex constitutes about 50% of the total population hardly 14 of the total of 200 governments or 7% is headed by women.
India has due to the various reforms and policies both before and after independence from the British has provided women with a voice and role in politics. From universal adult franchisee women are allowed to vote from 18 years of age. After getting independence we have progressed and have provided for reservation of seats for women in the parliament and other political bodies.Indian women were lucky and among the first to get their political rights (right to vote/franchisee) without any political movement or protests. They were also active before independence and during the independence struggle e.
g. Sarojini Naidu the nightingale of India or the Rani of Jhansi who actively took part in politics and even in war, diplomacy with British and Indian National congress.Indian women have held distinguished positions and been eminent leaders and role models like the UNO Secretary – MRS. Vijay Laxmi Pandit, the Prime Minister of India MRS. Indira Gandhi) and many Chief Minister like Sucheta Kriplani, Jayalalitha, Uma Bharati, Mayawati and Vasundhara Raje and even the highest post of President of India MRS.
Pratibha Patil. (The USA is still yet to have its first female president – Hillary Clinton was close to becoming but was defeated by Trump).Women could enter into any level of politics and have the 33% reservation in seats. One could become a Pradhan or a ward member in a Gram Panchayat or any other civic body, or a member of State Assembly or Parliament; it augments respect within the family as well as in the community at large besides increasing their self-esteem, confidence and decision-making ability.
If we take the women’s participation in politics as one of the measurements of their emancipation, we find at present their number is very low in comparison to men in State Assemblies and Parliament. It is about 11 percent only (26 women in the upper house—Rajya Sabha consisting of 245 members and 59 women in the lower house—Lok Sabha consisting of 543 members. There are only 8 women ministers out of total 75 in the government of Dr.
Manmohan Singh).In Sweden, 45 percent of seats are occupied by women in parliament. So far as the administration is concerned, there are only 592 women IAS officers out of 4,671 officers. The demand for special concessions and privileges along with the reservation of posts in assemblies and parliament (the bill is pending for the last more than ten years) and other civic institutions are a few steps towards women empowerment in India.Women have started writing and reading what other women have written. During the last two decades, the writings of many women writers (such as Arundhati Roy) have been acclaimed by the institutions of international repute. There are many women in the field of journalism which was previously dominated by men. Now, she blogs and networks using it for the freedom denied so far to voice her angst, express outrage, and disapproval, fulfill the need for acceptance and approval.
In spite of many gains, much remains to be done to improve the status of women in India. The female work participation rate in India is only 26 percent whereas it is 46 percent in China. Some 34 (2011) out of every 100 women are illiterate as compared to only 13 in China.Female feticide accounts for an estimated half-a-million missing female births in India every year, lowering the female sex ratio to a dismal 914:1000 (2011). It is worst since independence. According to the report of UNICEF, India ranks at 115 out of 162 countries in matters of gender development.Though the above changes signify positive gains from the point of view of equality for women, the reality is beset with many problems and tensions.
The observation about the gains in equality applies only to a meager number of Indian educated women living in urban areas.Many studies conducted in India and elsewhere (in so-called developed countries) revealed that equal sharing of housework is still a nightmare for women. Working wives find that housework and care of children are still largely their task, quite unequally wives shared with the husband as on an average working wives/mothers are compelled to work at least 14 hours a day and even more. The weekend is less a time for rest and more to catch up on unfinished and pending tasks of the household.The status of women in a society cannot be secured by her economic power alone as is generally supposed. It depends on culture also. As a micro-study reports that ‘women’s participation in the job market is more intensive when they come from poor and very poor households.
Women’s income, in particular, becomes a means to survival of the poor people.’ Does this crucial income of poor women enhance their status? The study further reports. They are empowered as far as earnings are concerned but not with respect to spending the earnings.