1/3 women & girls face violence for poor care-work in rural Udaipur, Delhi: Oxfam

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New Delhi, Oct 28 (PTI) One out of three women and girls have faced physical violence because of poor care-work performance in rural Udaipur and Delhi, according to a new report.

Prepared by Oxfam, the 'India Inequality Report 2020: On Women's Backs' pointed out that 50 per cent of interviewed women said men should not help with unpaid care work.

'What will people say about us, if we make our men do the work which is our responsibility?' the women were quoted as saying.

'One out of three women and girls have faced physical violence because of poor care-work performance and two out of three women have faced verbal violence at home and one out of three men admitted to have been violent to their wives,' the report said, in its findings from rural Udaipur and Delhi.

The report said it found men to be afraid of being shamed for doing housework and women fear being shamed for making men do the housework.

'Among dual-earner couples in Delhi the division of housework can be less skewed yet gendered nonetheless,' it said.

The report said women's unpaid care work, which poses as an obstruction in their aspirational path, is defined and guided by a host of regressive social norms.

'For example in rural Udaipur (Rajasthan) girls and women are not allowed to travel beyond their village or at best their panchayat. While schools are located within this perimeter, institutions of higher education are not. Thus, girls at best study till 12 th standard — most, quite often, drop out earlier to help their mothers with care work at home, which is unpaid and unrecognized,' the study said.

Referring to the National Family Health Survey-2015-16, the report said 26.1 per cent of girls and women (aged 15-49 years) agree that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife if she goes out without husband's permission, while 32.7 per cent girls and women in same age group think domestic violence is justified if the wife neglects house or children, 19.1 per cent if she does not cook properly and 37.1 per cent if she shows disrespect towards her in-laws.

The report recommended providing public amenities (for example, water, gas stoves and toilets) and services (safe and accessible transport in rural areas and childcare) for women to realize their rights to rest, leisure, and equal participation in the labour market.

It also recommended decent local employment, better working conditions and fair pay for women and men and initiating gender sensitization and behaviour-change strategies in schools and colleges, initiation of gender sensitization and behaviour-change strategies in schools and colleges, specifically messaging of redistribution of care work among others.

Speaking at the launch of the report, economist Diane Rosemary Elson said at times the paid domestic work by women also lacks in decent pay and working conditions.

'The COVID-19 lockdown has also demonstrated what the report demonstrates that home is not safe for too many women. It is a place of fear and violence. The report brings out that domestic violence is not just the actions of a few bad men who had too much to drink, which even includes unpaid domestic work,' she said.

Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said it is horrifying that a significant proportion of women think it is fine to get beaten up for not making food for a member of the family or going out without the man's permission.

'The nature of this economy that we have which is so fundamentally based on inequality and the fact that you are using a huge combination of social and cultural norms to re-enforce that deep inequality...that is highlighted well in this report,' she said.

For the report, qualitative data was collected from five blocks of Udaipur district in Rajasthan as well as Udaipur City. Twelve in-depth interviews were conducted among upper middle class and upper class respondents in Delhi.

Seven focus group discussions (FGDs) in a participatory workshop mode were conducted with 161 participants and 74 in-depth interviews (IDIs) were conducted with individuals belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) and Muslim population in Udaipur district, including Udaipur city.

Primary data was collected in Udaipur district in the month of September 2019 and in-depth interviews were conducted in Delhi between October and November 2019. PTI UZM RDM RDM