Perspectives

Fight for women’s rights in India

Just like in other parts of the world, feminism in India pursues gender equality in the workforce, in education, and in politics. Indian feminists have challenged culture-specific issues such as inheritance laws.

Feminist movements in India have also been criticised for focusing too much on middle-class women and neglecting poorer or lower caste women. This has led to the creation of feminist organisations and movements which fight for issues specific to poorer women.

The patriarchal culture of India is an important factor in the discrimination of women. The idea of women’s inferiority to men can still be found in Indian culture, leaving women vulnerable to abuse. Women’s servitude and dependency on men are seen as virtues in many households and families, and independence from domestic, traditional roles as mothers, daughters, and wives is still frowned upon in some areas.

Women’s sexuality is also largely seen as taboo, and the public discussion around sexual abuse often leans towards victim-blaming. This leads to many women modifying their behaviour to ensure some safety – they do not go out after dark, they avoid walking alone even during the day, and they censor their clothing, speech, and body posture to avoid unwanted male attention.

Although women are largely protected and given equality under India’s constitution and laws, India is often seen as a dangerous country for women.

Stories of sexual abuse of toddlers, girls, and women have emer...

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