Women in India

From Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Overview of India
India has 29 states and 7 union territories
Ruled by the Union Government
India is approximately one-third of the size of US
The population is four times that of the US – 1,276,267,000


  • 79.8% Hindu
  • 14.2% Muslim
  • 2.3% Christian
  • 1.7% Sikh
  • 2% Other

Common languages: Hindi and English

  • Over 20 languages officially recognized
  • 29 languages have over 1 million speakers in India
  • Over 50 languages have over 100,000 speakers


1858 – British Rule in India begins
1891 – Age of Consent Act raises age of consent from 10 to 12 years
1927 – All India Women’s Conference is set up
1929 – Child Marriage Restraints Act
1947 – British Rule in India Ends
1949 – Women gain the right to vote
1949 – Age of consent is raised to 15 years
1966 – Indira Gandhi serves as first woman Prime Minister
1978 – Prohibition of Child Marriage Act passed
1982 – Age of consent raised to 16 years
2012 – Age of consent raised to 18 years
2014 – India elects its highest number of women Parliamentarians: 66

Education Inequality 

  • More than one-third of all women around the world who are illiterate are Indian women (187 mil).
  • Education in India is a privileged offering
  • Commit2Change is an organization that strives to help orphaned girls and other at-risk young women.
  • Aahana India is a non-profit organization created by a student at Drexel University in order to improve education in Gujarat.
  • Check out what’s going on at Pitt to combat the education inequality in India! Pitt Asha for Education

Sex-selective Abortion

906 girls per 1000 boys

Why? There is a son preference because of economic liability and the difficult lives women must lead.

Movements to fight this include #fight4thefoetus and the Pink Spot

Menstruation Discrimination

  • It is a common belief that menstruating women are impure or dirty
  • The use of cloth pads lead to poor hygiene and increased risk of infection, however, many women in poverty cannot afford sanitary pads
  • 66% of menstruating girls do not go to school
  • 20% of girls drop out of school

Arunachalam Muruganantham –  a social entrepreneur who started a sanitary napkin revolution!


Arranged Marriage and Child Marriage

  • Child marriage prevalence is defined as the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before age 18
  • 47% of Girls (UNICEF)
  • Our Daughter, Our Wealth aka Apni Beti Apna Dahn (ABAD) is a conditional cash transfer program in the state Haryana to incentivize families to delay their daughter’s marriages until 18.
  • Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in 2007
  • Legal age of marriage –18 for women, 21 for men
  • 74% believe it’s better

Dowry System


Sexual Violence

Eve-teasing is a term for street harassment used in South Asia

Times of India survey revealed

  • 90% of women experienced Eve-teasing
  • 70% of women were subjected to lewd comments or songs
  • 25% had been groped or molested
  • 8% had been stalked

Buzzfeed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gjuso-SKxc

Delhi bus gang rape

  • Rape and fatal assault of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey in New Delhi
  • Pandey was raped by six men
  • Accompanied by a male friend
  • Sparked protests against the state and central governments

BBC created a documentary called India’s Daughter, which is highly criticized by Indian feminists for sensationalizing the story and prioritizing the story of Mukesh Singh, one of the rapists, who genuinely believes he didn’t do anything wrong

Rape statistics

  • 24,923 reported in 2013
  • A woman is raped every 20 minutes
  • Approximately one in ten women raped is under 18 years old
  • 2 per 100,000 people
  • Large amount unreported
  • Much lower than other countries
  • In US, 18% of women report being raped at least once in their lifetime

Male rape: no way for man who is raped to find justice with India’s Penal Code

  • Only way is through anti-sodomy law if perpetrator is another man
  • Currently there is no way for women to be tried for raping a man

Gulabi Gang – Founded by Sampat Pal Devi in one of the 200 poorest districts in India in Uttar Pradesh

  • Stop child marriages
  • Increase education of girls
  • Train women in self-defense
  • Oppose corruption in administration
  • Create awareness about the evils of dowry
  • Report sex-offenders and abusive husbands
  • Publicly shame molesters
  • Encourage women to become financially independent

Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD)

  • Social campaign launched in 2013 Farhan Akhtar
  • Since then, actors like Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal, and Hrithik
  • Roshan have joined the campaign
  • Akhtar has visited college campuses, sports stadiums, and the UN


  • Organization that educates women on self-defense
  • Supplies women with alarms and pepper sprays so they can defend themselves

Sex Trafficking

  • Placement Agencies sell girls for $600-$700
  • Girls work 14-16 hours a day
  • Perpetuated by little Knowledge of rights

Apne Aap – a grassroots movement to end sex trafficking


  • Transgender women, eunuchs, and intersex individuals
  • Targets of harassment and discrimination
  • Voting rights granted in 2003
  • Recognized as a separate “third gender” by the Supreme Court in April 2014
  • Experience significant rape and abuse at the hands of the police
  • Shabnam Mausi – first hijra elected to public office
  • Most work in the sex trade, beg, or sing and dance at birth celebrations to earn their living
  • Some hijras don’t want to be referred to as a “third gender”
  • Ancient myths describe special powers to bring luck and fertility

Chulein Aasman


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s