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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Violence against women occurs throughout the life cycle from cradle to grave. Discuss (250 words)

    12 Dec, 2022 GS Paper 1 Indian Society

    Approach

    • Start your answer by briefly highlighting the data about violence against women.
    • Discuss various factors and causes related to violence against women.
    • Conclude by suggesting measures to curb violence against women.

    Introduction

    • The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."
    • Estimates published by World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
    • The National Crime Record Bureau of India report shows that the rate of crime against women increased from 56.5% in 2020 to 64.5% in 2021.
      • Further, it also highlighted stark increase in violence against women in India in the forms of dowry deaths, acts of sexual harassment, torture, rapes and domestic violence.

    Body

    • Violence against women is a social, economic, developmental, legal, educational, human right, and health (physical and mental) issue.
    • From cradle to grave women face tremendous amount of psychological and physical violence, which are described below:
      • Female infanticide: It is described as the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of girl child.
        • In 1921 there were more than 97 women for every 100 men in India. Seventy years later, the number dropped to 92.7. If women were treated equally in India, there should have been 512 million women in the present population of one billion.
        • Further, a recent United Nations report said up to 50 million girls and women were missing from India's population, the result of systematic sex discrimination extending to the abortion of female fetus, which is officially banned.
      • Low amount of education: Usually people living in conservative Indian society doesn't prefer to send their girl child to school, which further creates disparities between male and female education and promotes differential access to food and medical care.
      • Girl Child marriage: Which leads to various other atrocities like female genital mutilation, sexual and psychological abuse by relatives or strangers, differential access to food and medical care, child prostitution and pornography.
      • Girl Child labour: Girl child works as child domestic workers- bitten by their employers, branded with hot irons – or even being chained. Many of the girls were either murdered by their sadistic employers or committed suicide.
      • Dowry death: Dowry deaths are deaths of married women who are murdered or driven to suicide over disputes about dowry.
      • Domestic violence: Domestic violence is violence within the private sphere generally between individuals who are related through intimacy, blood or law. Despite the apparent neutrality of the term domestic violence is nearly always a gender specific crime, perpetrated by men against women.
      • Sexual harassment at workplace: Various reports have highlighted that the primary victims are younger women in their first jobs, or women returning to the workplace after a career break. The victim is usually vulnerable, due to age for instance or employment status.
      • Violence against elderly women: Multiple cases of sexual assault and rape against elderly women to families deserting them in old age or giving them up to inhuman old age homes where a life of misery and indignity awaits them, the life of women is truly tragic.
      • Unfavorable laws and societal mindset: The Indian Constitution guarantees women equal rights with men, but strong patriarchal traditions persist. Women’s lives are shaped by customs that are centuries old.
        • In most of the Indian families, a daughter is treated as a liability and she is conditioned to believe that she is inferior and subordinate to men. The insecurity outside the household is the greatest obstacle in the path of women. Compared to the atrocities outside the house, atrocities within the house are endurable, women continued to accept their inferiority, in the house and society.

    Conclusion

    • Measures need to promote gender equity are as follows:
      • Enforcement: The need of the hour is to enact and enforce legislation and develop and implement policies that promote gender equality by ending discrimination against women in marriage, divorce and custody laws, inheritance laws and ownership of assets.
      • Financial Independence: Improving women’s access to paid employment.
      • Developing and resourcing national plans and policies: It will aim to address violence against women.
      • Capacity building and training: It would enhance the service providers and law enforcement officers to handle cases of violence against women.
      • Male Mediated Initiatives: Ensure male involvement in devising program for abusers.
      • Prevent recurrence of violence: Through early identification of women and children who are experiencing violence and providing appropriate referral and support
      • Promote egalitarian gender norms: It will be promoted as a part of life skills and comprehensive sexuality education curricula taught to young people.

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