Equality for women progress for all

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

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Equality for women progress for all

Bijaylakshmi Baruah | March 16, 2019 13:55 hrs


A nation cannot achieve its target if half of its population (read women) stay in the dark. Hence equality for women is progress for all.

 

A recent study of World Economic Forum showed that while in the last six years, many countries of the world have improved their gender ratio, yet in many other countries the gap between men and women remains huge and is widening day by day. This problem is quite distinct in several African and South American countries.

 

All over the world the fair sex is, more or less, facing all kinds of discrimination, domination, torture and violence. They are economically, socially and politically exploited by their male counterparts.

 

A recent study of a UK mission reveals that one in three women have been beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime; usually the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her. In some parts of the world a girl is more likely to be raped rather than taught how to read. Every year 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or on their way to school. Every year more than 60 million girls go missing from various populations. Up to 5% of women report being physically abused while pregnant. 50% of physically abused Indian women report violence during pregnancy. 60 million girls worldwide are child-brides.

 

The above data itself project the present status of women in the world. The former Secretary General of United Nations Organization (UNO), Ban-KI-Moon, strongly condemns the violence against women. He said, “There is one universal truth applicable to all countries, cultures and communities - violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable and never tolerable. Despite stringent laws and actions women are not getting due justice and status in their lives.

 

In this regard, Nordic countries like Iceland, Finland and Ireland should be the role models for many countries of the world. The World Economic Forum’s report reveals that for the fifth consecutive year Iceland retained the top position in global gender gap index. In these Nordic countries women equally share all kinds of facilities with men. They have high rate women labour, low pay gaps and no barrier for women to rise in the ranks.

 

These countries have generous mandatory paternity as well as maternity leave. Gender equality helps parents to raise their children and work equally. They have high class facilities, equal share of work boasting participation of women in employment. As a result they are economically, socially and politically sound and advanced. Sweden is the one country which has the highest number of women in its parliament.

 

The ten top most countries of the world in the list of global gender gap are Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Philippines, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland and Nicaragua. In the Economic Forum’s list America is in 23rd position. This country does not guarantee paid maternity leave.

 

There is strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its national development. In this regard, India has been struggling over the last six decades. Although the Constitution of India is framed on the basic principle of equality, yet when the question of status of women comes up, it seems that the status women have been given by the Constitution is only a de facto status. Rampant crimes against women, female infanticides, dowry deaths and child marriages are enough to reveal her true position in the society. To transform this de facto status to de jure status, the women of India should all-inclusively come out from ignorance. They must be educated and conscious about their rights. And most importantly the mindset of our people must be change; we must necessarily give up some old customs. A girl should be taught how to develop her personality. She should be respected as a human being first, not as someone’s subordinate. None should be discriminated at by the name of gender, colour, caste or religion.

 

By realising power of women Mahatma Gandhi proved to the world how strong woman power was by making thousands of them from all classes of the society to come out their homes to participate in the political and freedom movement. Gandhi passionately desired utmost freedom of women. It is really disgusting to see that in Gandhi’s own country women are not secured today. The fact remains that around one lakh rape cases are still pending in the courts for judgment. That itself speaks volumes about women’s insecurity in India.

So it is high time for everyone to be alert and active to reduce the gender gap. Instead of offering a rose or a chocolate to a woman on Women’s day, let’s make it a habit to treat women on equal terms. What can be a better idea that to practice it first at our own homes?

(The author is a freelance journalist and editor of a technical tabloid Karikori Sambad published from a vocational institute)

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