From Restrictions to Rape, a Girl’s Everyday Fears

I can’t stay late at work.
I hope my parents don’t force me to get married right after college.
I am scared I will be judged for my clothes more than my work.

These are some of the fears too many Indian girls and women have to live with everyday.

1. Kept from Education

We have all come a long way from the time when education for women wasn’t even an option.

But according to a study by the International Monetary Fund, while the enrolment of girls in higher education might have increased, women’s participation in India’s labour force has declined to a low of 27% in 2014 from 34% in 1999.

2. Dowry: a ‘Price’ On Her Head

Now of course, nobody likes having a price put on them in exchange for a ‘forever relationship’.

While asking for dowry has been illegal in India since 1961, families still continue to practice the “ritual”.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, in 2015, 7,646 women died in dowry-related disputes. Yes, this is still a thing.

3. More Work, Less Pay

While many might brush the topic of “equal pay” under the carpet, the harsh reality is that Gender Pay Gap DOES EXIST!

As per the ‘Monster Salary Index’ (MSI) report, women still earn 25% less than their male colleagues. There are various factors contributing to the pay gap, but preference for male employees, bias in promoting male employees to supervisory positions over women, and career breaks women are often forced to take are some of them.

Add to this a UN report showing that as much as 51% of the work done by Indian women is unpaid and uncounted in national statistics, and the picture that emerges is that women are paid less for more work.

4. What’s Consent in Marriage?

Yes! If your husband forces yourself on you without your consent, that DOES amount to marital rape.

Unfortunately, while most countries prosecute this as a crime, the government has resisted making marital rape a crime in India, citing ‘tradition’ and ‘the sanctity of marriage’.

Other countries that join the list for not criminalising marital rape are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, and Kuwait, among others.

And On, and On, and On...

An exhaustive list is close to impossible to write here. But we hope you get the idea. It might be Women’s Day again, but we still have miles and miles to go.

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

(This article has been republished from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of National Girl Child Day, It was first published on 7 March 2017.)

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