In America women have the right to work, vote, and own just about anything that they can afford. The only thing limiting them is their credit score, or the limit that the bank determines. These may seem like rights that are universal because the reality of America is not the dismays that other countries have to deal with. In other countries this luxury of Equal Rights is not common, and is actually rejected and avoided by all costs. Some countries do not believe in these rights because of their religion, and what they’ve been taught.
How can a fundamental value not be learned? Other countries just do not know any different than the man as the hunter or provider, and the woman as the caregiver or housekeeper. These roles in America only recently began to be shared amongst the genders, and to this day these roles are not confirmed by any means. Other countries are beginning to open their mind to other policies mostly because of influences of other cultures, and it is about time this happens.
Some of the horrifying conditions that women in India have to deal with are issues that no women would ever want to fathom, and is very unfortunate. Not always being granted the ability to gain an education, being married at a youthful age without any say in the choice of a partner, and unwanted abortion of female fetuses are just a few that surface news channels. Those disturbing issues listed above are what these women have to deal with regularly and have no hope of these problems ever changing because of what some people in some cultures call beliefs.
Media has placed great emphasis on the stories that depict that the women’s rights in India have been improving over the past few decades. Improvement can be misinterpreted when a third world country is involved, because any change that is not for the worst can be considered an improvement. What has really improved? Is it going to be up to the women to determine at which point they feel like they are an equal gender in this country? Until this point, there is no telling how long this can take. Cultural Belief of Equality
The problem lies in the internal practices of the country. India is a country which mainly operates from the religious inclinations of the population. Be that as it may, how can anyone question their beliefs, and furthermore, who is to say that these practices do or don’t work? Shouldn’t the answer of whether or not their current policies are effective come from the source – the women in this country? In 1926 Sarojini Naidu, the first female president of the Indian National Congress party, had helped achieve the right for women to vote along with the men.
It had taken, like most political victories in India for women, a great deal of time and patience (Roy, 2012, para. 15). Indian society is also one of the world’s most culturally diverse, with innumerable linguistic, cultural, and religious groups. Due to the diversity of the Indian populace, Indian policy makers have faced a tough challenge in ensuring that the individual rights of its citizens, including women, are protected (“Balancing Minority Rights and Gender Justice: The Impact of Protecting Multiculturalism on Women’s Rights in India,” 2005, p. 05).
This is a country where religion has always ruled their judicial and ethical structure, and because of this it will need to be a common agreement that there needs to be a change from within. The Butalia (1998) website describes a poor woman Rojammas who took a literacy class. She read a story about a woman who had to endure physical abuse from her husband due to his drinking habit. The woman in the story went through the village speaking with the other women to see who had the same problem as her.
She determined that the reason for most of the abuse is that their husbands would go to work, and come home and spend all of their money on alcohol. The husbands would get upset when the women weren’t able to feed them because all of their money was spent at the liquor stores. The women rallied and protested at the liquor stores and eventually, in Andhra Pradesh liquor was banned. As a result, families were able to save, violence rates dropped, and life seemed to improve for these people.
Unfortunately women are no longer able to be seen in the streets protesting. These brave women were able to make a difference, and had the strength and tools to do so. Since then, their power of protest and voice has been taken. Is this an improvement, and if so, what is next? The nineteenth century was to be considered “the age of the women”, because all over the world women’s rights and wrongs were the main topic of heated discussion amongst the world.
Different countries such and France, Russia, England and Germany began spreading women consciousness, and more towards the mid nineteenth century, Russia began having issues with reformers and anarchist because of the question that was being widely spread across the nations; should women have rights? Although these issues were now arising throughout most countries, in India, the men still see it as men have all power and women obey as they are told. This now brings us with today’s issue that is still being fought in India and even in some other countries.
Women now come across broken promises and the “possibility” of women rights when those rights were already being fought for and stated in the Indian Constitution. In the Constitution it states that “every single woman’s and girl’s well-being and safety paramount; that their liberties and rights are not to be challenged on the basis of attire or profession; that they are treated equally. ” (Women’s Rights in India, 2009) With that being said, this is not the case of what is going on with the women in India; one in particular that was being socially, economically, and politically deprived.
This is what is being said about this situation. “The police commissioner on the other hand has referred to the recent attacks on women as mere incidents of “eve teasing. ” While eve-teasing is itself a term specific to the South Asian region, associated with unsolicited verbal harassment like catcalls, whistles and/or remarks directed towards women, the incidents that he so casually referred to were actual assaults on women for being dressed in western attire. More importantly, even eve teasing calls for action against the perpetrators” (Women’s Rights in India, 2009).
It is not ethical for any one person to use their stature for their own personal gain. Although, different countries do have different ethics/cultural ethics, morals and religious beliefs they choose to abide by, does not mean it is not right to degrade women as sexual objects, “different” because of their personal beliefs, or even their own sense of style. How can one be punished because of the attire they chose to wear? Women have come so far from being just a “house wife”, to working while World War 1 was taking place, to joining the army to help our fellow soldiers fight for this country, to running as a presidential candidate.
Women bleed, breath, think, feel emotion and get hurt physically just like men do, so why do we treat women any differently than a male? If you look back into Egyptian history, Greek Mythology and even some of the “Gods” that were “Political” figures to us at one point in time were women: Aphrodite, Artemis, Isis and etc. Women should be granted the exact same rights as the men in this world because they contribute to a lot of the findings we discover, cures we find, the birth our children, some of the things we study and so forth. Will we ever be able to look passed all of the things that we say and do about/towards women?
Is it possible to give the rights that we promised for so many years to the women of our country and the other countries that have promised the exact same thing? Discrimination is such a huge discussion amongst our community today because it continues to thrive off of those that are not subjective to change. Change is exactly what we need to bring out the different opinions between cultures, and religious beliefs. Although it is a belief, that does not mean that it is morally right to believe it is ok to treat women in a certain fashion that we see as correct.
The mixed bag of laws, bills, commitments, broken promises, new pledges and fresh possibilities for women’s rights comes with its share of anticipation and disappointments. Will promises be converted into laws and will prejudices make way for a little more tolerance and a little less chauvinism? Will social perceptions of women and their traditionally assigned roles in society witness a change under the collective pressure of government laws and social campaigns? And will society eventually look at girls through the same lens that they see boys? And yet hope survives…
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Topic: Current Rights of Women in India
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