Updated August 12, 2022
Challenges for Women in India is no new, its a perpetual reality and there are substantial reasons behind. Indian society in theory, seem to accord the status of a goddess. However, the problems being faced by the women against the time and space just show the opposite of this concept.
Women in India have faced persistent challenges, hindering their growth in the political and economical sphere. The condition of women in India has always been a matter of grave concern. The Durga Maa (a woman) on the one hand is being worshipped as a goddess, while on the other hand common women are abused endlessly and consider them inferior.
Women in India were never given equal status and opportunities as compared to their male counterparts. The patriarchal nature of the Indian society has greatly hampered both independence as well as the safety of the women.
How Do Challenges for Women Feel Like
In the Early days, there were severe issues like the Sati system, no widow remarriage, devadasi system and may more. Although most of them are not prevailing in these days, there are new issues that women face. Women continue to face the violence from womb to tomb.
While in the womb they face the ever-impending threat of feticide and after birth, they are subject to various forms of violence and harassment at different points of their lives. They are being molested, assaulted and violated at the hands of different actors, ranging from their husbands to the members of the general public and to their employers.
In modern India, women have held high offices including that of the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Leader of the Opposition. However, women continue to face atrocities such as rape, acid throwing, and the forced prostitution of young girls.
For instance, the fatal Nirbhaya gangrape on the street of Delhi showed the fragile status of women in India. It affects all kinds of women regardless of the time and space they are in. Women in India face many socio-cultural, economical and political challenges. These challenges can be classified as:
Challenges for Women in India against Time
(i) Patriarchal System- Entrenched patriarchy has led the conception of inferior status for women. Women are mainly employed in household works. They are not provided job security and opportunities to grow and expand their status.
(ii) Violence Against Women- Women in India has faced persistent violence against time, hindering their growth in the political and economical sphere. Violence against women has affected all their life sphere. Women are victims of violence both at home as well as at work.
Gender Inequality- Women are paid less than men. The gender wage gap between women and men is estimated to be 23 per cent. This means that women earn 77 per cent of what men earn. These figures understate the real extent of gender pay gaps, particularly in developing countries where informal self-employment is prevalent.
(iii) Problems of Female Education- Literacy and education is low in India especially in the rural areas because women are discouraged for higher studies like professional and technical education.
(iv) Dowry System- It is huge problem in the society Women are ill-treated, man-handled, disrespected, tortured and suffer other cruelties (Violence, murder and suicide) because of the lack of dowry at the time of marriage.
(v) Selective Abortion and Female Infanticide- It is the most common practice for years in India in which abortion of a female foetus is performed in the womb of mother after the foetal sex determination and sex-selective abortion by the medical professionals.
Challenges for Women in India Against Space
Less Participation in the Political field- The political parties are reluctant to give tickets to women candidates for elections to the legislatures and the parliament. This makes the representation of women in the political parties a concerning issue because, through the political parties, women can be empowered to get involved in the political decision making. In the fourteenth Lok Sabha, the strength of women members was 51. In the current Lok Sabha, there are only 78 women members out of 550 even though they constitute almost half of the population of India.
Pink Collarisation of jobs: In our society, stereotyped thought for women still exist, the women are mostly deemed fit for “pink-collar jobs” only, such as teachers, nurses, receptionists, babysitter, lecturer, etc. This discouraged women to engage in other fields.
Access to Public Space– Women are restricted to go into public space. In fact, women and girls face a range of public barriers and vulnerabilities: sexual harassment and assault on the workspaces. These are making public spaces unsafe for women.
Women are Still Less likely to have Access to Social Protection- Gender inequalities in employment and job quality result in gender gaps access to social protection acquired through employment, such as pensions, unemployment benefits or maternity protection.
Employment- The reduced opportunity for employment in private as well as public services. Only 8.78 per cent of police forces comprises women.
Less Access to Financial Resources– Women are less likely to get access to financial resources from the formal banking system. Women disproportionately face financial barriers that prevent them from participating in the economy and from improving their lives.
The Way Forward
For the well-being of women, the society must put an end to the conception of patriarchal thought, gender inequality, discrimination etc. As stated by J.J. Nehru “If women grow, the family grows, if the family grows, the society grows ad if the society grows then the country will flourish. For the development of the society and country,
(a) Awareness generation and sensitization about gender equality and women’s rights should be instilled in boys and girls from a very early age in order to end the myths and misconception of people.
(b) Respecting women should be done from home. When women are respected at home, then children will also learn about the importance of respecting women. Parents cannot treat their sons and daughters differently.
(c) Developing and resourcing national plans and policies to address violence against women.
As per the Gap Report of the World Economic Forum and Gender Inequality Report of UNDP, gender empowerment is necessary to achieve SDG Goals.
Beyond Challenges for Indian Women Under Awareness Reads
- The Chittagong Armory Raid & Freedom Fighter Kalpana Datta
- Jhansi Ki Rani Lakshmibai-The First Woman Freedom Fighter
- Challenges to our Cultural practices in the name of Secularism
- Emergence of ‘Principle of Federal Supremacy’ & ‘Harmonious Construction’
- What can France Learn from the Indian Secularism
- Important Facts about World War I/ First World War