All through the ages women have always been discriminated against on the basis of gender in almost all societies of the world.
Sexual differences are biological but gender differences are sociological. Gender inequality in India exists in terms of gross population, literacy, sex ratio, socio-economic status, and opportunities.
Sex ratio has always been a matter of concern in India, but in north eastern states it has been alarming.
On 26th January, 1950 Indian constitution was promulgated, which assures equal status and opportunity to each individual without discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 51A (e) of our constitution provides to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
In India women have been recognised as a separate target group since 1980.”National commission for women” was set up in 1992.Constitutional safeguards and initiatives in the area of gender sensitisation have been undertaken by our Government, in addition to creation of separate cells for eradication of crime against women.
Let us now examine some ground realities. In 1951 there were 956 females against 1000 males and after 5 decades, in 2001 we had 933 females against 1000 males on countrywide basis. From 2001 to 2005 the sex ratio has deteriorated faster. It is not merely a rural phenomenon attributable to illiteracy and backwardness. The position in highly posh locality of South-ex is worse than relatively backward areas of East Delhi. Inspite of all govt initiatives and legal measures to curb crime against women, their condition is deteriorating. Our ex President Shri K R Narayanan had once remarked, “A girl is not safe even in her mother’s womb”.
Ours is a hypocritical society. We worship goddesses Laxmi, Saraswati and Durga, quote scriptures in praise of Sita, savitri and Damyanti but maltreat our wives sisters and daughters. Birth of a son is celebrated but the birth of a daughter is frowned upon. Boys are pampered but girls are despised. Even the attitude of mothers is not wholesome towards their daughters.
For a purposeful living, money is an absolute necessity but it has to be earned righteously. When aggrandizing wealth becomes the purpose of life, life becomes meaningless. Absence of emphasis on “morality” in our education has drastically distorted our values. Today people are prepared to go to any extent for the sake of money. Instead of “Simple living and high thinking”, “high living and no thinking” has become our apothegm. Entire emphasis is on “looking good” instead of “becoming good”. Rather than living a straightforward life, we are not living at all- we are just “acting hypocritically”.
While constitutional safeguards and legal provisions have provisions have failed to improve women’s plight, inculcation of right moral values in our Educational system may perhaps do.