Women’s Security in 21st Century as a War in India

human human chain Indian women

Over 79% of women in India have reported being harassed, discriminated or abused.

Women are God’s best creation, yet they endure suffering as marginalized due to their gender differences, class, age, or sexual orientation. Women’s lives can be negatively impacted by violence and discrimination, which prevents them from participating completely in society, the workforce, and the economy. She lacks security both inside and outside the house in  21st century.  

“We have to have dialogue. And if people are not on our side, it is a fault of ours, not theirs; we didn’t do enough to win them over.” – Shantha Shah

Indian Women, Women’s Issues, Exclusion, Security, Equality

Human rights belong to every individual. The rights to live free from abuse and discrimination; the right to the best physical and mental health possible; the right to an education; the right to own property; the right to vote; and the right to an equal wage. Women’s safety and security are major issues that have recently drawn attention across the globe specially in India. Women still come across many difficulties when it comes to their safety and security, particularly in public places, despite of the significant advancement made in the past few decades. Among these challenges are gender-based discrimination, assault, domestic violence, and sexual harassment. Women’s security and safety in developing nations like India are further hampered by social norms, an absence of resources and possibilities for education, and a lack of adequate legal protection. In our nation’s capital, New Delhi, a young girl was brutally murdered in public. There is no longer any fear of police and authorities, which is why criminals have become fearless and dared to commit this vicious crime  This is a recent instance that demonstrates the value of women’s security and the battle that women keep on fighting even in the twenty-first century. 

Status of Women in Contemporary Times

According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) crime against women overall data highlights the total 4,28,278 cases of crimes against women were registered in 2021, showing increase of 15.3% over 2020 (3,71,503 cases) ii. Majority cases of crimes against women under IPC were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (31.8%) followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (20.8%), ‘Kidnapping & Abduction’ (17.6%) and ‘Rape’ (7.4%). The crime rate registered per lakh is 64.5 in 2021 in comparison with 56.5 in 2020. These statistics show that women have long been the targets of gender-based violence and harassment; these occurrences are still prevalent in your developing country, India, in the 21st century. India recorded the highest number of crimes against women in 2021, which was released by government. Women’s safety and security in both rural and urban life, including their ability to study, work, and move around, as well as address the violence that women and girls experience while going about their daily lives. The deeply ingrained patriarchal culture in India, which frequently reinforces gender stereotypes and discrimination against women, is one of the primary barriers to the advancement of women’s security. A wide range of actions, such as gender-based violence, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace, in schools, and in other contexts, can be examples of this.  Although the concepts of women’s safety and gender-inclusive places are broad, this study will emphasize women’s safety and security in both rural and urban life.

Survey 2022-23 says about gender inclusion in India

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman Survey 2022-23 in the Parliament The survey paints quite an optimistic picture of gender inclusion, quoting the United Nations Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index (GII). The GII component, which was part of UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) 2021, ranked India the 122nd out of 190 countries. “On the parameter of gender inequality, India’s Gender Inequality Index (GII) value is 0.490 in 2021 and is ranked 122. This score is better than that of the South Asian region (value 0.508) and close to the world average of 0.465. This reflects the government’s initiatives and investments towards more inclusive growth, social protection, and gender-responsive development policies,” says the survey. Also, the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report ranks India 135th out of 146 countries in gender parity in 2022. This report too assessed countries on similar parameters — economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

What Is the Battle About?

To acknowledge that women are more than just a commodity, a difficult phase must be overcome. They have faced a variety of problems and difficulties throughout history, and they continue to do so today.

Lack of education:  Most women continue to be denied their fundamental right to education. Their parents make them take care of the housework. Women who don’t have access to education might be less aware of their legal rights, health risks, and safety precautions, making them more susceptible to abuse and exploitation. Education can also give women the knowledge and assurance they need to fight against gender-based prejudice and stand up for their rights, which can contribute to the development of a society that is more just and equitable. It may be possible to increase the security and wellbeing of women by promoting education and expanding their access to educational opportunities.

Lack of employment & opportunities: Women’s security can face challenges when it comes to employment and opportunities because these variables may restrict their economic empowerment and independence, which could in turn boost their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. Women who are economically or socially excluded or at risk of discrimination or violence may also have fewer opportunities for support and resources. In addition, discrimination and harassment in the workplace can make it hostile and unsafe for women, which worsens the problem. It may be possible to improve women’s security while creating more inclusive and equitable societies by encouraging greater access to economic, educational, and training opportunities.

Gender discrimination: Traditionally, in gender roles males are prioritised over females in all major decision-making processes. In terms of their hiring, pay, and promotion opportunities, Indian women have historically had their potential and abilities under-appreciated. Even if a woman works, her husband, father-in-law, or an older family member will often receive all of her earnings, limiting her independence to a surface level. Despite working, a woman still needs to rely on someone.

Lake of legal protection: Women may not receive enough legal protection against violence or prejudice, or they might encounter challenges to getting justice. The inability of women to seek justice or security as a result of this can foster a society of impunity for those who harm them.

Limited access to healthcare: Women may have limited access to vital healthcare services, such as reproductive health services, which may have detrimental effects on their health and safety. Women without access to prenatal care, for instance, may be more at risk of complications during the pregnancy and delivery process, while people without family planning services may be more prone to unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Inadequate healthcare facilities can also aid in the spread of illnesses and diseases, endangering women’s health and wellbeing even more. Increased gender equality and the ability for women to live secure, healthy lives may be possible through improved access to healthcare services.

Female Foeticide: Despite how far our society and country have come, there are still many places where female foeticide is practised, and our government is doing everything it can to stop it.[1] Due to the harmful gender stereotypes it reinforces and the threat it poses to women’s safety, female foeticide is a serious threat to their security. Parents may choose to abort female foetuses in cultures where boys are valued higher than female children, which can result in unequal sex ratios and have several harmful social effects. Due to its ability to perpetuate the notion that female offspring are inferior or undesirable, female foeticide can also foster a situation where abuse and prejudice against women become accepted norms. It may be possible to lessen the prevalence of this harmful practise and build a society that is fairer and more just for all by tackling the root causes of female foeticide and advancing gender equality and social justice.

Social status & stigma: Women have to work hard to be noticed in society. They are fundamentally and socially denied their right to ripeness. Social Status: Women have to work hard to be noticed in society. Their rights are fundamentally and socially denied to them. Due to possible limited access to resources like healthcare, education, and other security measures, women who are financially impoverished or socially excluded may be more vulnerable to violence and exploitation. The perception and handling of women by others, including those in law enforcement and the justice system, can also be influenced by social status. These organisations might not always place a high priority on the security and well-being of women from underrepresented groups. It might be possible to improve women’s security and build a more equitable society for all by addressing disparities in society while promoting greater access to support and resources.

Family and responsibility: They might have less freedom and opportunity as a result, which would leave them more open to abuse and exploitation. Inability to pursue education, employment, or other activities outside the home may prevent women with caregiving responsibilities from doing so, which may restrict their access to resources and social networks. Dependency and vulnerability may result from this, raising the possibility of abuse or violence. It may be possible to enhance women’s security and lower their risk of exploitation and violence by addressing the difficulties of family responsibility and fostering greater gender equality in caregiving and household roles.

Online harassment: Women may experience threats and harassment online due to the increased use of technology, including cyberbullying, stalking, and revenge porn.

All of these hindrances help to eventually neglect women and girls from society’s everyday affairs and from acting as social change individuals. This needs to change shortly thereafter. These issues require an integrated approach that includes growing gender equality, fighting damaging cultural stereotypes, enhancing the availability of legal protection and justice, and addressing social and economic disparities. A more equitable and just society that supports the security and protection of all women might be possible through an effort to address those underlying causes.

Way Forward

In India, women’s security is regarded as the highest priority for us. Yet, humans lack to provide basic security necessary to prevent them from evildoers. The barriers that women and girls face in exercising their right to freedom of expression can be surmounted. For instance, women who top civil exams, lead industries, become entrepreneurs, or achieve notable success in various sports have a positive impact on women’s development by challenging stereotypes, providing inspiration and role models, increasing gender representation, and advocating for women’s rights. Their accomplishments contribute to shaping a society that is more welcoming and allows women to flourish and play a significant role in determining the future of the country. However, it’s important to remember that there are still many areas where gender challenges and inequalities exist. By addressing root causes and presenting opportunities for a higher quality of life, advancements in women’s development can also aid in the reduction of crime rates.

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