Why It’s High Time We Realise Women Are The Backbone Of India’s Prosperity

Our country is facing a serious issue relating to women safety and upliftment. To understand this better, I discussed this issue with Mr. Ashwini Kirti, JRF NET Women’s Studies, DU, MA in Development Studies, TISS, Mumbai who has published many papers on women’s issues.

After extensive reading about this issue through his papers, other news articles, discussing with other females and going through research of Ms Nidhi Sadana Sabharwal (NUEPA) and Ms Wandana Sonalkar (TISS) I came across a very alarming situation.

Women play a pivotal role in the success of any society and culture, without the upliftment of women, no society can prosper. From doing office jobs to taking responsibility for household work, and doing so selflessly, women are the backbone of our society.

An SHG comes together to meet and discuss their agenda in South India. (Photo: EU CIvil Protection and Humanitarian Aid/Flickr)

Ironically, still, women are not treated equally in our society. They don’t get equal rights to property, focus on education and equal participation opportunities.

Women contribute to around 50% of the world population; we can count the women entrepreneurs, politicians or others on a finger.

Ashwini Kirti writes, “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. It is a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. These are the sets of 17 goals comprising 169 targets. These SDGs epitomise the roadmap for the progress of sustainable development with the motto of ‘leaving no one behind.’ Women constitute nearly half the population around the world. Their roles and contributions are elemental in a nation’s productivity and prosperity.”

“Women’s participation is the key to all social development programs. Women’s equality and empowerment are one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDG 5 talks about achieving Gender Equality and empowering of all girls and women. This goal is integral and interconnected with other SDGs, indispensable to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. India is a signatory of SDGs. The Indian Society is severely rooted in Gender-Based inequality. There are various forms of discrimination that curtails women’s rights in public and private spheres.”

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities

GOAL11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below the water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnership for the Goals.

If we further narrow down and see the condition of Dalit women, then horrifying data can be observed.

Nidhi and Wandana write, “As the lowest in the caste hierarchy, Dalits in Indian society have historically suffered caste-based social exclusion from economic, civil, cultural, and political rights. Women from this community suffer from not only discrimination based on their gender but also caste identity and consequent economic deprivation.”

They add, “Dalit women constituted about 16.60 percent of India’s female population in 2011. Dalit women’s problems encompass not only gender and economic deprivation but also discrimination associated with religion, caste, and untouchability, which in turn results in the denial of their social, economic, cultural, and political rights. They become vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation due to their gender and caste. Dalit women also become victims of abhorrent social and religious practices such as devadasi/jogini (temple prostitution), resulting in sexual exploitation in the name of religion. The additional discrimination faced by Dalit women on account of their gender and caste is reflected in the differential achievements in human development indicators for this group.”

“In all the indicators of human development, for example, literacy and longevity, Dalit women score worse than Dalit men and non-Dalit women. Thus, the problems of Dalit women are distinct and unique in many ways, and they suffer from the ‘triple burden’ of gender bias, caste discrimination, and economic deprivation. To gain insights into the economic and social status of Dalit women, our paper will delve more closely into their lives and encapsulate the economic and social situations of Dalit women in India. The analyses of human poverty and caste and gender discrimination are based on official data sets as well as several primary studies in the labour market and on reproductive health.”

So, it is high time to uplift women. We should not only depend on the government or NGOs, but make it our collective responsibility to uplift our society and consider women as equal.

And, society can’t develop if any one section of people is marginalised and oppressed.

Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: Well-Bred Kannan/Flickr.
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