Women must fight

26.09.2009 - Delhi - Kaja Cudak

*What is a woman’s status in India?*

The Status of Women in India causes concern with socio-economic indicators showing a disturbing trend – a failing juvenile sex ratio, rising levels of property and unemployment, starvation deaths linked to denial of right to life and livelihood and increased violence in all spheres.  This trend has been accelerated in the light of globalization and rising caste and religious intolerance.  The persistent failure of laws to check the discrimination against women.

Trafficking in women and children for commercial sexual exploitation and other abusive purposes is rampant.  The women are not adequately represented in political decision making and political offices.  There is an increasing government focus on encouraging private sector involvement in education has led to the state gradually withdrawing from the education sector, and it is negatively impacting the education of women and girls, the poor and socially disadvantaged.  Women in the unorganized and agriculture sector are being impoverished by economic and labor policies and need equitable wages and protection to their jobs and livelihoods.
Given the rise of religious fundamentalism and blatant attacks on minorities especially minority women.  There is widespread practices of discrimination and social exclusion of women from Dalit (untouchable) communities, despite constitutional guarantees of equality and decades of targeted interventions by government.  Dalit women are most exploited on the basis of class, caste and gender in caste hierarchy of Indian society.
 
*Are there two diverse types of woman’s status? In this context – how much depends on education and how much on religion?*

Women do not fall within the homogeneous category and they are diverse because of class, caste, religion and educational level.  The majority of women in India are from Hindu communities and the minority of women are from Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Buddhists etc.
Of course if you are an educated women, the chances of development and growth is possible. Socially and economically they are better off than the illiterate sisters.   Her ability to climb economic ladders and to certain level provides autonomy and freedom.  Educated women can get into any type of superior work and achieve professional carriers.

*What does it means be a country woman in India in an everyday life?*

When you say country (do you mean rural) rural women in India contribute roughly 55 to 66 percent of total labor in overall farm production.  One fifth all rural household in India is female headed, few women hold titles to land, even in land owning house holds they do most of the work on the farm but are not seen as farmers.  The major issues confronting them today is lack of access to credit and decision making.  Specially the dalit and adivasi women face vulnerability arising from social exclusion and thus become victims of caste violences.   Women access to land is a crucial problem.  Women in rural areas are over burdened doing farm work and household work, additionally they lack access to basic amenities in the villages.  The rural women also faces the problem of displacement due to development projects which has a direct impact on women.  Most of the rural women who are poor face poverty, social exclusion, homelessness and hunger.

*How can one fight against this discrimination?*

Women in rural areas must be organized and mobilized.  They also should be given awareness education of the various programms of government and on legislation who can protect the rights.  Once women are able to develop confidence with in themselves and understand the nature of hierarchical social relations they will be able to fight against discrimination.

*Which role in this fight is for the enlightened, educated women and which for men?*

The educated women must join hands with the discriminated people and take up task of facilitating and supporting the rural poor sisters.  Men must break away the feudalistic and patriarchal mode of understanding of society and women, but much more listen to women and understand their problems and their status.

*We, so to speak, “inherit” our attitude towards women, towards religion, towards life in our families. How much must an Indian family change?*

Indian family must stand by principles of equality, non discrimination and start practicing those values from home.  As the time changes, they must also become progressive and must transform their traditions and prejudices against women.

*All over the world women build their own social and professional status arduously. Why do you think it is so?*

Unless women come forward to raise their voices and their rights will not be fulfilled.  Therefore globally women move forward, holding their hands together improving their status social and professional status to bring about equality, development and peace.  This was done in 1995 in the World Women’s Conference in Beijing and they drawn out a PLATFORM FOR ACTION (PBA) towards change.

*Women’s gainful employment is a never ending topic. Almost everywhere woman’s labor is worse paid than the same labor done by men. Can we do anything about it?*

Yes, we must ensure that equal pay for equal work must be paid.  There is enormous discrimination in terms of employment against women. The stratified structure of society on sexual division of labor, control over womens sexuality and active practices of discrimination have combined to invisibility and devalue womens contribution to the economy.  The forces unleashed by technology, liberalization and globalization have adversely effected the rights of workers specially the women workers and their bargaining capacity vis-à-vis employers. 
Yes we can do by organizing the women workers to demand their rights for equal wages, secondly the women should increase in number in decision making and managerial position to see to that equal wages policy be implemented.  The organized workers in the Trade union movement also should demand that the ILO standards are followed in protecting the rights of women.

*Women’s gainful employment is a never ending topic. Almost everywhere woman’s labor is worse paid than the same labor done by men. Can we do anything about it?*
 
a)  The entire society of men and women in India must be educated on the rights of Women and encourage them to minimize gender discrimination in day to days affair. 
b)  Gender just laws to be implemented in spirit and in deed in order to minimize womens discrimination. 
c)  Formal education must address gender stereotyping and prejudices and provide progressive orientation towards gender equality.
d)   Men should be encouraged to share the household work with women .

*What do you think should be changed in India so as to minimalize at least a little the women’s discrimination?*
  
a) The Indian people must adhere to Preamble of Indian constitution which says there shall be no discrimination on the basis of  gender, caste, class and religion. 
b)   The Indian education must openly address caste system in India violates human rights and therefore the Indian citizens are duty bound to follow the values of equality, non discrimination and social justice.
c)   The dalit women themselves must struggle and revote against discrimination meted out to them and they should not be subsumed to dominant caste people.   They should also get educated and pressurize the government officials, judiciary and legislators in implementing the laws in order to provide justice.

*Are India ready for an end of the existence of castes? Will India be ready any time in future for this step?*

Existence of Caste is violation of human rights.  Caste system is hierarchical and therefore the human beings are treated unequally because they are born in different caste.   Caste is man made in order to acquire superiority, higher status, opportunities and access to all benefits depriving the lower caste persons their dignity.   Therefore for centuries the caste system is continuing by not submitting the benefits that they acquire through the superior status. 
The Dalits or Untouchable who are victimized by caste system for centuries are revolting that the caste system must be eliminated, like the apartheid in South Africa (racism) one day.  That is a big challenge exist !  “Caste out cast” is a slogan began in 1998 as a campaign in India, and for centuries dalit people have struggled to put an end to caste system. 

*To sum up, In India and in the world, there are numerous organizations which act in the interest of women. Don’t you think they should unite? Wouldn’t they have greater influence on the governments and countries?*

Unity is strength.  But it is difficult to deal with various problems of  women by one organization and therefore multiplicity is necessary and essential.  In the world how ever there are different that they have shown to the world that they unanimously opposed to Patriarchy and male domination and they aspire for violence free homes, communities, work places and violence free world.  It is being one of the strongest social movements globally they are constantly having greater influence on the governments in their country’s.  They demand for equal share in worlds economy and its resources and in political spheres too.  They want a better world to be left for their children and the future generation.  They want peace not war.

Categories: Asia, Culture and Media, Interviews

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