There are many spheres of life where women are denied opportunities. Discrimination against females starts with their birth and continues through their lives. An unborn girl child is aborted with the help of sex determination techniques. A girl child who is born is seen as a burden on her parents or family and not given equal treatment as boys of the same family ever since birth. She is not given proper nutritious food in some cases.
As she grows, she is either denied of right to education and in some cases it is limited to elementary level. Her health and well being is not given due attention and concern. She is married at an early age and this puts an end to any possibilities of growth and a good life in most cases. The discrimination doesn’t end here but continues with the expectations of giving birth to a boy. The vicious cycle of female discrimination starts here. Almost all women face some incidents of eve teasing, some are unfortunate to be assaulted sexually and raped.
Marriage of a woman becomes more perplexed if she faces dowry threats, which sometimes cause deaths also. With such a deprived living, how can we expect the standard of living of women to rise and their presence be felt at international level? Women, both illiterate and partially literate have limited access to health care and job opportunities and remain confined to the bounds of their household chores, raising children and looking after families. A good education or qualification does not bring women at par with the men.
They are still deprived of many work opportunities as men are believed to be more capable than their female counterparts with similar qualifications. The notion that women do not have caliber and intelligence to take up managerial positions or high profile jobs is another proof of the discrimination against women in our society. According to 2011 census, the female literacy rate was 65.46% compared to 82.14% for males. The underlying thought that educating women is of no value as they will only serve their husbands and family in future makes the parents unwilling to spend on girl’s education.
Women are not able to enjoy equal status in society as men and have very little say or authority. The grant of equal rights by the Constitution does not bring any significant change in their position and respect in the society. Law and property rights are also enforced inefficiently and inheritance is usually the sole right of sons and not the daughters. Even though laws are now enforced for the rights of women on parental property, not many people are aware of it and the social structure is such that daughters do not usually insist on their property rights. Society favors men and gives them higher authority and this makes women vulnerable to crimes like rapes, eve teasing, sexual abuse etc. Though the number of women officers is growing, yet the number is not comparable with men holding higher ranks. The discrimination against women is not only hampering the growth of women at social, economic and personal level but also significantly lower female-to-male ratios impact the growth in both agriculture and industrial sectors. Thus, gender discrimination also impedes the country’s growth.
While women are the most common sufferers and remain suppressed due to social pressure, there are some disadvantages that men have over women as laws favor women in certain cases. For instance, in case of adultery husband can be jailed for his unfaithfulness towards wife. However, there is no law which jails and no court that punishes women for adultery. Sexual molestation of men is rarely taken into procedure or FIR filed in the regard. It is men who are blamed for this crime even if the woman is the culprit. Some women also misuse the anti-dowry law to get their husbands jailed for dowry demand. The law does not favor men until there is solid evidence provided against the allegations.