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New Research Says…Countries That Treat Women Equally Are Also Richer!

'It seems as if the surest way to curse one’s nation is to subordinate its women'. If a family/country is to be happy & prosperous, women must be respected & given equal opportunities.

The international weekly “The Economist” recently published a research-based article on gender discrimination vs. economic performance of a country.

The article ranked 176 countries in the scale of 0 to 16 on parameters such as: unequal treatment of women in family law and property rights, early marriage for girls, patrilocal marriage, polygamy, bride price, son preference, violence against women and social attitudes towards it.

‘It seems as if the surest way to curse one’s nation is to subordinate its women’

“Rich democracies do well; Australia, Sweden and Switzerland all manage the best-possible score of zero. Dismal scores are not limited to poor countries: Saudi Arabia and Qatar do terribly.  India and most of sub-Saharan Africa do badly, too.

The authors also found evidence that patriarchy and poverty go hand in hand. “It seems as if the surest way to curse one’s nation is to subordinate its women,” they conclude.

In India, only 13 % of land is held by women

The obstacles women face begin in the womb. Families that prefer sons may abort daughters. This has been especially common in China, India and the post-Soviet Caucasus region. Thanks to sex-selective abortion and the neglect of girl child, at least 130 million girls are missing from the world’s population, by one estimate. That means many men are doomed to remain single; and frustrated single men can be dangerous.

Parts of India with more surplus men also have more violence against women.

Patrilineality is sustained by property rules that favour men. To keep assets within the patriline (male line in family), many societies make it hard for women to own or inherit property. Written laws are often fairer, but customs may trump them.

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In India, only 13 per cent of land is held by women. Several studies have shown that women who own property have more bargaining power at home and are less likely to suffer domestic violence. 

Gender equality & justice is mocked and seen as a western concept

When I read the article, this quote from Manusmriti remains wise after centuries: यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः । यत्रैतास्तु  पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफलाः क्रियाः 

We as Indians take pride on our rich heritage and deeply rooted culture in the name of Indianism and sometimes hinduism. Though Ironically enough, women are projected as secondary citizen of the society in the present.

At a macro level, countries are poor where women are treated poorly. If I take it to micro level, a family would be dysfunctional when a wife, mother or sister is disrespected, insulted or gaslighted. If a family is to be happy, healthy and prosperous, women of the family are to be given equal opportunities, uncaged from nonsensical rules/manners and respected.

An overwhelming number of netizens aggressively debate about Hinduism, Indian culture vs. foreign influence. But if there is a discussion about gender equity, gender equality or women empowerment, it is either mocked or criticized heavily by labelling it as ‘western ideology’, ‘anti-culture’ or ‘women’s foul cry’ concept.

But we forget that social and economic welfare of a society is interwoven. This has been evident over the centuries in different cultures and countries.

If we are to be prosperous, each culture needs to update its traditions & customs as we evolve as humans and society as a whole.

Image source: Still from Andhadhun

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