Vol. 1, Issue 3 (2016)
Measures taken by the government for gender equality
Abstract: Social inequalities between men and women exist in all known societies. However nature and extent of these inequalities are not uniform. They differ from one society to another, generally these inequalities are more pervasive in patriarchal than matriarchal societies. Superior-inferior or higher-lower social status of men and women does not merely prevail in fact but also exist in design. Women are believed to be unintelligent and weak who are always dependent upon men for protection and guidance. Inequalities are most obvious in: health and education, economic development, violence against women, participation in public life and policymaking and social attitudes and gender stereotyping. Health discrimination against women in India starts early and is evident in the skewed sex ratio of 933 women to 1,000 men (world average: 990:1,000). Maternal mortality in India is the second highest in the world and close to 125,000 women die due to pregnancy and pregnancy-related illnesses every year. In rural areas, 60% of girls are married before the age of 18, and 60% of married girls bear children before they are 19. Almost one-third of babies are born with low birth weight because of poverty, early marriage, malnutrition and lack of healthcare during pregnancy. In the education sector, the inequalities observed are: Around 245 million Indian women cannot read or write and they form the world’s largest number of unlettered women. Female literacy is 54.16, and there are wide disparities within states. Enrolment and retention of girls in education is poor and the average years of schooling for girls is only 1.2 years as against 3.5 years for boys. A look at the economic development sector indicates that, official data does not reflect the amount of work that women actually do to enable their families to survive, collecting fuel, fodder or water, keeping poultry, working as unpaid labour on family farms.