From infanticide to dowry deaths, women face challenges at every step in life. Why is it so hard for society to let women just live?
We may live in the 21st century but even today, the Indian society’s mentality is still in the 18th century. Daughters are still considered a burden. I know many of you would have a lot of things to say against this, but do read this completely before giving any comments.
The first challenge that a woman has to undergo is survival during her pregnancy and immediately afterwards.
When a daughter is born, parents may welcome her with love or just welcome her into this world, that is the girl’s first achievement. ‘How?’ You ask.
This article states that nearly 45.8 million females are missing which is 32 percent of the world’s missing people count. So basically if a girl survives not being eliminated during the pregnancy or immediately afterwards, she has won the first battle.
So after the first achievement of surviving female infanticide/foeticide comes the challenge to survive the first five years. It is said that most of the child’s brain development happens during this time. Many parents do not feel that females need nourishment as much as males. So, she would be living off scraps or whatever survives after the males of the family eat.
If the girl is one of the lucky few to have a loving family, she may easily move to the next challenge. Not just in low-income families, but even in middle-class and upper-middle-class families, you might see this. The number is so high, a few episodes of shows like Savdhaan India showcase it.
Now all the girls who have had bad parenting would be used to the torture and would suffer the same for the next 15 years. While some of them may be sent to schools, others might not get even that. The lucky few from the previous set at pampered and sent to school. They will get good schooling and will even graduate from college.
The girls who go to school and college may rebel and ask for equal rights while trying to get out of this mess. They might even start working and support themselves and their families financially.
According to a 2018 report by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights across India, 39.4 percent girls between 15 and 18 years drop-out of school and college. Of these girls, 64.8 percent do so because they are forced to take up household chores or have to beg.
So, by this point, less than 35 percent of the females who were supposed to live have survived after challenge three as well. Not to forget the children that succumb to child trafficking and such other crimes.
Without taking into account the illegal child marriages, according to 2020 statistics, there are 924 females to every 1000 males in India. Haryana had the lowest female to male ratio – 879 females to 1000 males. Even when there are fewer women, the groom’s families ask them for dowry and they still have to go through the scrutinising process for their looks.
This is one of the hardest challenges they have to face. Among the few that survive challenge three and four, their next challenge is marriage. And it comes with so many conflicts. This article states that around 20 women succumb to dowry deaths every day which basically amounts to 7000 women a year! Though this may look like a really small number, these are only the reported cases imagine the number of cases that go unreported.
Then there is domestic violence, polygamy, honour killings, rapes and human trafficking that ensure that women don’t survive.
I am not saying that the males have an easy time, there are so many crimes against men too, but you cannot overlook what I have said. It is high time to learn a lesson and try to treat women better.
If you cannot offer equality at least try to help and support them. There is so much more I want to add, but I don’t have the strength to do the calculations with these numbers.
All I know is as a girl I am scared now. My parents kept me in a safe world but when I came out of the bubble to work, I could always see the fear on their faces.
Today after seeing these numbers I know the reason for that fear. So let’s please do something about it. I want to see my family worry-free, no one can fight destiny but we can at least try to make our country safer for everyone. This is the same country that has a number of its deities as females. Why, then, can’t they treat their own daughters, wives, daughters-in-law, sisters, grandmothers better?
I hope for a safer India and I will put in my effort to ensure it for everyone around me, I request you for the same.
Picture credits: Still from 2018 movie Amoli
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