Essay on The Problems of Women In India:
Except in a few matriarchal societies in the past, the condition of women all over the world has been inferior to that of men at best, and like slaves at worst. Though every country has produced some remarkable women, the lot of women, kind in general has been bad. All the customs, value systems, and morality have been male-oriented. In ancient Greece, women did not have the right to vote. In England up to the sixteenth century, the law made discrimination against women. A woman who was guilty of killing her husband was regarded as a witch and burnt alive at the stake; a man guilty of killing his wife was executed or hanged but never burnt alive. In India too, the condition of women has been almost equally bad. They have always been regarded as inferior to men and treated as such. In many cases, to be a woman is to be a problem for herself.
The problems that Indian women have been facing are many. Politically, of course, they have the right to vote and equality of opportunity before the law. But this remains mostly in theory. In practice, our social thinking is still medieval. A woman’s sphere is regarded to be home. That is why many women are still denied the benefits of higher education simply because they are women. Even those who get an education and enter some service are expected to do the household work in their spare hours. Where the husband and wife are working, the husband still regards it as his prerogative to be served by his wife while he can relax and read the newspaper or gossip with his friends. No such husband will help his wife in the kitchen even if she is earning more than he. This is because of the age-old concept of male superiority.
In offices and other avenues of employment, women are still treated as intruders. They are thought to be intellectually and professionally inferior to their male counterparts. Many employers refuse to employ women because they believe that working women keep on worrying about their families during working hours or come to offices just to while away time. This social prejudice persists in many cases still, though many women workers and officers have definitely proved superior to their counterparts professionally.
Women in India are still the target of eve-teasing, molestation, and even rape. Cases of teasing in buses, at the platforms, and at the bus stand frequently come to light. Every young woman has to hear some indecent remarks here and there. Even in offices and public service departments, the otherwise educated and responsible men do not hesitate to use indecent language in the presence of women. Sometimes, a few men deliberately use ambiguous words and gestures.
Women who remain, housewives, all their lives are virtually treated as servants working in all three shifts without getting any money in return. From parents-in-law to her own children, a woman receives commands and orders. Husbands too fail to recognize the work their wives have to do at home. “What have you to do at home?” is a question almost thoughtlessly addressed by husbands to their wives.
Worse yet, dowry still remains a prevalent custom and makes women to be treated as slaves. Parents regard their daughters as a burden because they know that they may have to pay a dowry beyond their means. Many working girls earn money to provide for their dowry. And those who cannot bring any dowry either remain unmarried or are subjected to various tortures and insults by their in-laws. Many cases of young women killed because of their failure to bring more dowry are reported by the newspapers; many go unreported. Some women are forced to take their own lives simply because their life becomes a living hell for them.
The condition of women thus remains quite miserable. Their lives are a series of problems. Although the constitution gives them equal rights and guarantees against discrimination. In practice, women are still discriminated against. Barring a few lucky women, others continue to be treated as inferior to men in almost every way. Unless a great social awakening comes and until all women in join hands to fight discrimination against their sex, women will continue to face many problems regardless of the guarantees that the constitution provides them.