Equal Rights for Women

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Women have long been fighting for equal rights in every sphere of society. Land ownership, choice of marriage partner, and right to work or leave the house are a few of the basic rights that many men and women take for granted. Many nation-states have been reluctant to treat women as full citizens, entitled to the full array of civil and human rights, because they view them as incomplete national subjects . The issue of women being viewed as incomplete national subjects is three-fold; male-dominated societies, class and caste systems, and religion have all caused this trend to exist and continue. There are many male-dominated societies around the world, including much of South-East Asia and Africa. Women have had a complicated and often violent time securing rights and fighting oppression in these male-dominated societies struggling against class and caste systems. A greater challenge to progression of women's rights is the underpinning of religion in their societies. India is a leading example of a male-dominated society struggling in a religious caste system. Women's place in Indian society has been extremely fixed in nature, and has kept women at a low rung on the ‘status-ladder'. The main handicap of women in India, and truly world-wide, has been that of childbirth. The bondage of reproduction has left women reliant on men for food, protection and shelter. While men are able to do work viewed as productive, women are treated as property bought and sold as chattel to reproduce. Male-domination and this view of women being owned results in young marriages; this is believed to guarantee the virginity of the girl. In India, Hindu religious leaders decreed that a girl should be married soon after the beginning of puberty, and that the age of ten is considered puberty. For Hindu girls, this means that they have little chance at education past this age, and truly many do not even receive education before. Traditional beliefs on whether women should be educated or whether they should work outside the home have also aided in their suppression. One reason for this is that many prospective in-laws would not want an educated girl, since they believed that she would not want to be a virtual servant then. The plight of Women becomes very apparent in the sphere of marriage. Women are expected to marry, and many call it the "aim of her existence". There is a general belief of parents that if their daughter does not marry, she will go to hell, and any woman in this society which does not marry is not seen as a real woman. At this point she is forced to go into the workforce. There is a common fear among many that if an Indian woman works outside the home, their families will suffer from neglect, since all household duties are thought to be the responsibility of women and women alone. Still, in modern India, when a child is sick, it is the woman which is expected to take the time of work to take care of them, and even working women are expected to still maintain all of their household duties. Because of this fear of neglecting their family, as well as other reasons, many women still show preference to working at home, rather than outside of it. Although Indian women have been entering the workforce in recent years, they have been met with serious opposition. Often Indian girls do not have the chance at education, unless their father somehow deems it important, which rarely happens. An Indian girl's life is geared towards marriage, there is no expectation for her to train herself or to ever work – in fact she is told not to work. These Women are subject not only to their fathers, but after marriage, are subject to their husbands and mother-in-laws. They are given little freedom in choices, and often find it difficult to enter the workforce from this point, but still there are some which do. Women which do manage to enter the workforce, often do so because they need it economically, and not because they...
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