Gender Inequality

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““GENDER INEQUALITY AND WOMEN IN INDIA”

Md Shakil Anjum

In India, since long, women were considered as an oppressed section of the society and they were neglected for centuries. During national struggle for independence, Mahatma Gandhi gave a call of emancipation of women. Men and women are both equal and both play vital role in the creation and development of their families in particular and society in general. Indeed the struggle for legal equality has been one of the major concerns of the women’s movement. Thus the first task in post independent India was to provide a constitution to the people, which would not make any distinction on the basis of sex. The preamble of the constitution promises to secure to all citizens Justice- social, economical and political. It is really important to note that though the constitution of India is working since more than sixty years, the raising status of women to one of equality, freedom and dignity is still a question mark.

Talking of any religious community, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christianity or Parsi, each have their personal laws and all such laws reflect that the women in these communities have fewer rights than those corresponding to their counterparts in the same situations. This is nothing but “Gender Inequality”. As a concept, “gender inequality” refers to the obvious or hidden disparities among individuals based on the performance of the gender. This problem in simple terms is known as Gender Biasness, which means gender stratification or making difference between a male and a female. India stands at 10th position among 128 countries all over the world, in gender biasness. This is indeed shameful for us.

Gender inequality is not one homogenous phenomenon, but a collection of disparate and interlinked problems. The issue of gender inequality is one of which has been publicly reverberating through society for decades. The problems of inequality in employment being one of the most pressing issue of today.

Gender disparity can be described as:

• Natality inequality: in this kind of inequality a preference is given to boys over girls. It is ardent in many of the male dominated societies

and this manifests in the form of parents wanting their newborn to be a boy rather than a girl. With the availability of modern techniques to determine the gender of foetus, sex selective abortions has become common in India.

? Employment inequality: in terms of employment as well as promotion at work women often face greater handicap than men. This is clearly exemplified as men getting priorities in getting better work opportunities and pay scale than their female counterparts.

• Ownership inequality: in many societies ownership of property can also be very unequal. Since ages the traditional property rights have favored men in the most parts of India.

• Special Opportunity inequality: even when there is little difference in basic facilities including schooling, the opportunities of higher education may be far fewer for young women than young men. Indeed, gender biasness in higher education and professional training can be observed in India.

This stratification of society on sex lines has brought inequality among men and women in their status position, which has resulted in an inferior ranking of women vis-à-vis their male counterparts. “Gender” normally refers to the traits and behavior socially designated as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ in a particular culture. Gender differences are the variations in social positions, roles and behavior, attitudes and personalities of men and women in a society. Sociologists believe that gender identity and behavior are heavily influenced by social factors. The major status difference is not caused solely by biological difference and it is reinforced through gender role socialization. Indian society, where the gender bias had been so strong, relegated inferior status to the women...
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