Posts Tagged ‘social status’


To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman? –Mahatma Gandhi

The very famous quote by M.K. Gandhi questions society’s view on strength and women.

Gandhi claimed that this perception of men being stronger than women is nothing but a matter of conditioning. Conditioning done by the society, through customs, tradition, laws and rituals.

And yet he, himself fell victim to society’s view in calling women self-sacrificing, a result of this age-old conditioning of genders.

Isn’t this self-effacing Indian woman the pitiful product of a deeply patriarchal society? This glorification of the subservient aspects of women is just another way of binding women in their own weakness.

Could it be the conspiracy of the opposite sex to contain the immense power of women that could potentially cause them defeat? There can be many arguments to this theory with no possible conclusion.

Only the fact remains; by force or by propaganda women have been made to feel weaker and inferior to men. We are made to depend on men for protection. Even if we’re financially stable and emotionally fulfilled, society doesn’t accept our independence. No, we must need a man; we must be in the company of a man or else we’re called names, speculated upon about our character and questioned about our judgment.

What could have caused for her to be middle-aged and single? She must be flawed somehow to be unable to hold onto a man. She’s not pretty enough or slim enough or smart enough or moral enough for men to want her. And because she is undesirable to men she is unworthy of living a fulfilling life. And because she is undesirable to men, she doesn’t deserve respect of any kind.

Do we not often find ourselves speculating upon the character of many women on lines similar to these?

Why are we so willful to jump to such conclusions? Why can’t we simply accept a person’s choice of dissociation without casting insinuations upon their character?

Women must have the right to shape their life.

According to Gandhi, Chastity cannot be protected by the surrounding wall of the Purdah.  It must grow from within and it must be capable of withstanding every unsought temptation.

The question he rightfully raises is the obsession of society with purity of women.

Why must it be so important for women to maintain their dignity and honor to sustain respect in society? The mere idea should be looked at as a disgrace to men and their glorious race. It likens man to a loathsome, scary creature that lacks self-control and respect. If one were to agree to this opinion of men, one must also agree to keep such an untamed creature caged. Even with that conclusion, I fail to understand why ultimately, it is women who are made to sacrifice? Why are they asked to stay inside the house and cover themselves up? Moreover, why must women need men to protect themselves, when it is only these men they seek protection from?

One of the biggest causes of degraded status of women in society is the importance of chastity as a virtue that is imposed upon them since time immemorial. Chastity is not an exclusively female virtue; it applies to both the genders equally. The one who molest loses his virtue as much as the one who is molested. In fact, not only purity of body but he also loses purity of mind and character stooping himself down to the lowest of stature. Such offenders should not only be punished by law but should also be bereaved of all respect and honor in the society. An inhumane act of violence should be met with equal and just retribution.

We have lost the true woman with ages and ages of conditioning. It is really hard to separate society from women. Is subservient nature of women a result of societal remodeling or a cause of societal ideology. Are women naturally weak or strong?

We cannot possibly hope to erase ages of socialization at various levels that fit us in a hierarchical structure with men being on top but we can try to build a better future for the next generation where no hierarchy exists, only co-existence and co-dependence leading to a peaceful environment.

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Guest post by Saikat Kundu:

 

Sexism in India refers to beliefs or attitudes in India that one gender or sex is inferior to, less competent, or less valuable than the other.

Discrimination and violence against women is prevalent, and sexual harassment at the workplace and lack of education continue to be identified as major problems.

Gender inequality, which is the devaluation of women and social domination of men, still continues to prevail in India.

Women are usually deemed as dowry burdens, the weaker gender, and worthy of a lower social status compared to men.

This subject raises the cultural aspects about the role of a female child in society, what her human rights are as a human being and a number of sensitive issues.This issue is important because there is nearly universal consensus on the need for gender equality.. Gender based discrimination against female children is pervasive across the world.

Sex selection of the before birth and neglect of the female child after birth, in childhood and, during the [teenage] years has outnumbered males to females in India and also in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Korea .

As per ?? 105 women per 100 men in North America and Europe but there are only 94 women per 100 men in India and other Asian countries like China and South Korea.

Domestic violence against women in India is a big problem.

For example, a paper published in International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory shows that in 2007 there were 20,737 reported case of rape, 8,093 cases of death due to dowry, 10,950 cases of sexual harassment with total crime of 185312 A U.N. Population Fund report claimed that up to 70 percent of married women aged 15–49 in India are victims of beatings or coerced sex.

In 1997, in a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court of India took a strong stand against sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

The number of girls born and surviving in India is significantly less compared with the number of boys, due to the disproportionate numbers of female foetuses being aborted and baby girls deliberately neglected and left to die.

Compared to the normal ratio of births, 950 girls for every 1000 boys,most states of India, especially Harayana, Mumbai and even Indians in overseas, are not meeting the standard,supported by the steeper child sex ratio, which can as low as 830 to 1000 boys.

India has a low sex ratio, the chief reason being that many women die before reaching adulthood.

It is therefore suggested by many experts, that the low sex ratio in India are attributed by female infanticides and sex-selective abortions.

Even though gender selection and selective abortion were banned in India under Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostics Technique Act,in 1994,the use of ultrasound scanning for gender selection continues.

Other institution effort,such as releasing advertisement calling female feticides a sin by the Health Ministry of India and annual Girl-child day, can be observed to raise status of girls ans to combat female infanticide.

Female feticide will decrease the population of female and further skew the sex ratio of India.

In 1961, the Government of India passed the Dowry Prohibition Act, making the dowry demands in wedding arrangements illegal.

In rural India girls continue to be less educated than the boys.

According to a 1998 report by U.S. Department of Commerce, the chief barrier to female education in India are inadequate school facilities (such as sanitary facilities), shortage of female teachers and gender bias in curriculum (majority of the female characters being depicted as weak and helpless vs. strong, adventurous, and intelligent men with high prestige jobs) The Prime Minister of India and the Planning Commission also vetoed a proposal to set up an Indian Institute of Technology exclusively for females.

Although India had witnessed substantial improvements in female literacy and enrolment rate since the 1990s, the quality of education for female remains to be heavily compromised as the country continues to hold greater value for male than female.