Gender discrimination or gender inequality is the evil of the society, due to which women have always been deprived of the social status that the male class enjoys.

This is a burning issue today. In this article, we will discuss gender discrimination in a simple and easy way and try to understand its various important aspects. 💡 Social and Politics

“Gender equality will only be achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making.”

– United Nations

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What is gender discrimination?

Men and women are the cornerstone of human society. Society cannot be imagined in the absence of any one, but despite this gender discrimination is a social reality. 

Gender discrimination refers to discrimination against women on the basis of gender, where women do not get equal opportunities and equal treatment with men. 

Women are seen as a weaker section and are exploited and humiliated. In this form the discriminatory treatment of women is called gender discrimination.

Where does gender discrimination begin?

It starts from the family itself in the sequence of socialization, which gets posted later. Family is one of the greatest achievements of human beings. It is the cornerstone of the society. 

Out of all the small and big organizations in the society, the importance of family is the most, it is related to the fulfillment of the basic needs of human beings.

The individual is a biological being by birth and from birth establishes and reinforces certain differences between the sexes. From childhood, boys and girls are taught to behave according to gender differences, dress and play style etc. 

This training goes on continuously, then if necessary, it is forced to cast according to gender and sometimes punishment is also given.

The games and toys of boys and girls are different in such a way that they can develop according to the concept of male and female defined by the society. 

The cornerstone of the interest towards beauty is also imprinted in the girl’s mind from childhood itself, in this process beauty is given priority over intelligence in the context of the girl child. 

That is to say that while the intellectual abilities of boys are given priority in the society, the intellectual abilities of girls are considered as second class.

There are many such institutions or systems established by the society which help in lowering the status of women, such as –

(1) Patriarchal society

The patriarchal Indian society is still plagued by prejudices regarding the capabilities of women, on the question of their self-reliance. He is so obsessed with the efficiency of the woman that it seems to discourage any attempts at innovation.

In the country, from the common man to the special person, this view is prevalent in almost everyone that the circle of the woman should be up to the boundary wall of the house. 

Thus it is clear that gender-based inequalities like work and subordination of women are not biological but a product of socio-cultural values, ideologies and institutions.

Today social inequality is a universal fact and it has been characteristic of almost all societies, it is a major problem of India. Here in different walks of life, women do not have the same facilities and freedom as men. 

This is confirmed by the report of the Global Gender Inequality Index 2023 released by the World Economic Forum . According to this report, India is ranked 127th out of 146 countries. 

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(2) Difference in education of boy and girl

If we talk about the education of girls in India, then the literacy rate of girls has definitely increased after independence, but that enthusiasm is not seen in providing education to girls. 

There is a tendency in the Indian family to spend money on the education of the boy because they think that by doing this the ‘wealth’ will remain in the house.

Whereas their parents think about the education of the girl child that by educating them, there will be financial loss because the daughter will go away one day. Perhaps that is why the female literacy rate in India is so low compared to males:

According to the 1991 census, the female literacy rate was 32 percent and the male literacy was 53 percent. 

According to 2001 census, male literacy was 76 percent and female literacy was 54 percent. According to the 2011 census, male literacy is 82.14 percent and female literacy is 65.46 percent. 

In which in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh there is a difference of 25 percent in male and female literacy.

Despite all this, girls who become successful in getting educated with confidence and want to develop themselves in front of men, they do not even get proper respect in the society of men. Even in jobs, women employees get paid less than men. This is confirmed by the LinkedIn Opportunity Survey-2021

According to this survey, 37 percent of women in the country believe that they are paid less than men, while 22 percent of women say that they are not given preference over men.

This discrimination against girls continues from childhood to old age. This discrimination is more visible in rural areas than in urban areas. It is estimated that every sixth woman in India dies due to gender discrimination.

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(3) Mentality that encourages gender discrimination

In many male-dominated families, the mother is tortured when she gives birth to a girl. In order to get a son, she has to conceive again and again. 

This cycle continues for years even if the woman’s life is lost. This is the reason why the number of females per thousand males has always been less.

Census figures show that in 1901 there were 972 females per thousand males. In 1951, the number of women per thousand decreased to 946, which by 1991 was reduced to only 927. 

According to the 2001 census reports, this number was 933 and according to the 2011 census report it has reached 940.

The main reason for this decreasing proportion is the very narrow mindset of the society towards women. Most of the families think that girls can neither support their old age like sons nor can they bring dowry. 

How difficult would it be for women to live in a society with such a mindset; This is something to think about.

(4) Other factors of gender discrimination

At the legal level, women have the same right on father’s property as men, but even today in India, women’s rights in family property are denied at the practical level.

In matters of political participation, if we leave the Panchayati Raj system , then there is no system of reservation for women in higher legislative institutions. The bill for 33 percent reservation for women in Parliament still hangs in the balance.

️According to the Periodic Labor Force Survey of the year 2017-18, except for some states and union territories such as Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, the female labor force in the Indian economy and The rate of work participation has come down.

️ Some work done by women is not added to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) such as unpaid work done by women on family farms and within households (like cooking, babysitting etc.). 

A study by the International Monetary Fund suggests that if women in India get an equal share in the labor force, GDP can increase by up to 27 percent.

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How can gender discrimination be ended?

To say that boys and girls are two sides of the same coin, but girls are those sides of the coin, which are kept suppressed by the other side (boys). 

The root of the problem lies in this thinking, where boys are taught from childhood that they are the future heads of the family and girls are told that they will be considered good only if they make the family the first priority in every situation.

The sense of ‘dominance’ is assumed to be the share of men and the sense of care as that of the woman. 

Both these expressions shape the personality of man and woman in such a way that they do not even try to come out of this shell. 

For this, the male class will have to go ahead and share its sense of dominance with women and cooperate in those works which are considered to be of women.

UNICEF says that the pressure of work, both at home and outside, is making women physically and mentally ill, in such a situation it becomes necessary that the male members cooperate in the household work, the father’s responsibility is only Rise above the fulfillment of financial obligations and take care of the children. This will increase the sense of equality and the woman will be able to engage herself in other important works.

In Indian society, woman has been presented in a very ideal form. There are descriptions of Saraswati, Kali, Lakshmi, Durga etc. in different forms of the goddesses. Even India is known as Bharat Mata. 

But in practice women do not even get proper respect. For this, the male class has to bring a change in their mindset so that they look at women with the same respect and respect that they expect for themselves.

Girls can be empowered by encouraging them in higher education skill development sports etc. For this the society will have to change its perception and thinking towards girls and the government will also have to promote women empowerment by making appropriate laws or through awareness or investment.

️ Since girls have to face a lot of inequalities from the very beginning, so we have to give a platform to girls where they can share their challenges, find a right choice for themselves and recognize their statutory rights, duties and powers .

Efforts being made to end gender inequality

The ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao‘ campaign was launched in January 2015 with the aim of protecting and empowering the girl child. Which is considered a big step in the direction of saving and protecting the existence of daughters. 

Along with this, the government effort of women empowerment through schemes like ‘ One Stop Center Scheme ‘, ‘ Women Helpline Scheme ‘ and ‘ Mahila Shakti Kendra ‘ is commendable.

The trend of gender budgeting is increasing so that the benefits of government schemes reach the women directly. In fact, when separate funds are allocated for women empowerment in the budget of a country, it is called gender budgeting.

UNICEF India is doing a lot towards establishing gender equality. For this, a program to run from 2018-2022 has been created in the country, under which gender-based inequality and malformations will be identified and efforts will be made to eradicate them. The full program can be viewed by clicking here .

Overall, much has been done to eliminate gender discrimination and much more still needs to be done. Further strenuous efforts will have to be made to eliminate gender discrimination especially in matters such as equal pay, maternity, entrepreneurship, property and pension. 

In order to create a sense of self-confidence and self-respect in women, equal rights and economic freedom of men have to be strengthened.

Facts Related to Gender Equality in India

Here are some facts related to gender equality in India:

Gender Gap Index: According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2023, India ranks 127 out of 146 countries, indicating significant gender disparities in various areas of life.

Women Workforce Participation: The female labor force participation rate in India is relatively low, standing at around 20% as of 2021. This indicates a significant gender gap in economic participation.

Gender Pay Gap: Women in India face a gender pay gap, with women earning less than men for similar work. According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018-19, women’s median monthly earnings were around 57% of men’s median monthly earnings.

Education: The literacy rate for women in India has improved over the years but remains lower than that of men. As of 2017-2018, the literacy rate for females aged 7 and above was around 70%, while for males, it was around 84%.

Maternal Mortality: India has made progress in reducing maternal mortality, but it still faces challenges. As of 2017, the maternal mortality ratio in India was estimated to be 122 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Child Marriage: Child marriage remains a concern in India. According to UNICEF, around 27% of girls in India are married before the age of 18, contributing to various social and health issues.

Violence Against Women: Gender-based violence is a significant issue in India. Instances of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault continue to be reported, highlighting the need for better measures to ensure women’s safety and protection.

Representation in Politics: While women have made strides in political representation, their presence remains relatively low.

As of 2021, women occupied around 14% of seats in the lower house (Lok Sabha) and around 24% in the upper house (Rajya Sabha) of the Indian Parliament.

Legal Reforms: India has implemented legal reforms to promote gender equality, such as The Maternity Benefit Act, 2017, which provides for enhanced maternity leave and other benefits for women in the workforce.

Women’s Empowerment Programs: The Indian government has launched various programs to empower women, such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child) and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (Maternity Benefit Program). These initiatives aim to address gender disparities and promote women’s rights.

It’s important to note that while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go in achieving full gender equality in India.

Ongoing efforts are required to address the challenges and ensure equal opportunities and rights for all genders.

◾ संविधान की बेसिक्स (Basics of the Constitution)
◾ भारतीय संघ एवं इसका क्षेत्र (Union & its Territory)

Gender Discrimination Research Paper
Parallel Question to Gender Inequality – Jansatta