Gender equality has been a long waited subject in Indian society. Whether it is women reservation or temple entry, the rights of women have never been a priority for Indian politicians.The recent tripal talaq bill also receiving the same treatment by leading parties. When the entire world is encouraging female participation in workforce, India is still struggling to treat half of population with equality. In this blog “Gender equality in India” I have highlighted some key aspects for improvement.
Gender equality index
Gender equality index is a yardstick or tool to measure the state of female population nationwide based on certain aspects.
In 2019, India placed at the 95th position among 129 nations. It manifests that the state of female population in India is below average and need to do much more.
The measuring agency considers key aspects or parameters while determining the final score. These are health, education, poverty, literacy, political representaion, and workforce participation. India’s dismal performance is still continue in the areas of political representation, workforce participation and health.
Women’s political participation
It seems that woman empowerment is mere a political slogan in India to woo women population. Unfortunately, it only happens in the election campaigning and most of the time it remains absent in agenda. It is nothing but the hegemonic patriarchic mentality of political elites.
In the political representation, India is lagging behind of even its Asian peers such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It is placed at the 5th position in the south Asian nations.
As we know that women representation remains around 10 percent in the higher level legislative bodies like Parliament and state legislature.
So far, women reservation bill has taken more than two decades, but still it is out of reach. It looks against the Democratic principles when the 450 million population don’t have theirs adequate representation.
Then, how do we claim to support the women empowerment without participation in decision making process.
Female workforce participation is directly linked with the education and money power. Recent study shows that female workforce participation is continuously declining. It is more in the rural areas compare to urban.Lower participation means lower education and income as well.
In India, female workforce participation is around 25 percent compare to make. It is the clear-cut manifestation of women dependency on male partner for financial needs. Therefore, these population is still vulnerable and prone to exploitation.
In the rural areas, already there is disguised unemployment and women work isn’t considered as a source of income. Traditionally, she is destined to bear the burden of responsibility without right to have power of money. In this situation, in the absence of financial empowerment, women empowerment is a distant reality.
The agenda of women empowerment and gender equality should not be confined to mere election campaigning. Considering the present state of women in India, politicians should come together irrespective of party interests to pass the women reservation bill to begin a new era of gender equality for just society.