Challenges for Women in India

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In this article, I try to expose the discriminations against Indian women, beginning with the origin of such discrimination in India. Then I discuss the reform movement against these acts of discrimination before describing the current prevalence of discrimination in that country.

In India, Women play a very important role in society. Women in India get a prominent role in all walks of life. Now women are shining in every field and are doing as well as men. For example:

Mizoram has a higher proportion of women in its population than men. However most of the states in India have fewer women than men in their population. New colleges for women are being opened India all the time. Even male colleges are changing to co-educational faculties. Women are working on night shifts in their employment, just as men do. That is one side of the story. On the other hand, you should look at the other side of these optimistic statements.

Mizoram did not have a woman MLA until 2003, and there were just four women candidates in the last electoral ballot. St Joseph's College in Bangalore is being accused of a gender bias in its admission policy after the college raised the cut-off percentage marks for girls to qualify for a course. The Government introduced an AIDS-awareness campaign for the telemarketing and call center industry. Since these workers are working at night they are easily discriminated against by men. While women are guaranteed equality under the constitution, legal protection has little effect in this society. Legal loopholes are used to discriminate against women in India. Now let me explain when such discrimination against women began in India.

Firstly, let us examine the status of women in ancient and medieval India.

Status of Women in Ancient India:

In this period, women also had equal status to men. Women were educated just as men were. Hindu religious books like the Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, and Mahabharata mention the names of many women who were great scholars, poets and philosophers of the time.

Here I would like to mention some of the women achievers in ancient India.

· Leelavati, who, in 6,000 BC, established mathematical lore in India, leading eventually to formulation of the decimal system in later centuries.

· Dhanawantri, who along with her husband Sage Dhanawantar, was the foremost physician in 5,000 BC, and established a comprehensive system of medicine and surgery.

· Devi Leilama, who was the first to establish Guilds in India, and was the Chief of the Clan in 5,333 BC

· Mailalladevi, a senior queen of Someshwara-I ruled the important province of Banavasi comprising 12,000 villages.

· Jakkiabbe ably administered seventy villages after the premature death of her husband.

· Piriyaketaladevi, a queen of Chalukya Vikramaditya VI, ruled three villages.

Such examples go some way to demonstrate the high status and image of women in ancient India. If there was discrimination in these periods, it was perhaps against men; for instance, men were to retire as hermits at the age of 60, while a woman was free from such disability.

Most of the discrimination against women came during the grim centuries of the Muslim rule. During the Muslim period of history, women were deprived of their rights of equality with men. They were compelled to keep themselves within the four walls of their houses with a long veil on their faces. Even today in some Islamic countries women are not allowed to go out freely, whilst in India the Muslim women are far more backward than their Hindu, Christian and Sikh counterparts.

Now let me mention how the discriminations such as child marriage, Sati and Dowry were started in India.

[BB] FEATURED ARTICLE: Shaken, not Stirred

Sati : This is the practice of widows killing themselves by jumping into the funeral pyre of their dead husbands. There is not even one scriptural statement in thousands of Hindu scriptures concerning Sati. On the...
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