What is Gender Inequality?
Treating the males and females or the boys and girls differently is called Gender Inequality. As a result of such a disparity to feminine gender including women and girls suffered from many disabilities.
Efforts were made by the Government for the Empowerment of Women. But when India became independent, the gender inequality prevailing in Indian society could not be tolerated anymore so various steps were taken for the empowerment of women. One by one, all the discrimination practiced against women was done away with.
Women were given the Equal Right to Vote.
When India became free, all women (above the age of 21, later on, reduced to 18) were given the equal right to vote like those of men. This was thought necessary otherwise democracy could not prove successful if almost half the population was debarred from the right to vote.
Our leaders gave many arguments in giving the right to vote to women along with men, They said :
(i) Democracy is based on equality for all the citizens. But if women are not considered equal to men, democracy cannot flourish.
(ii) Women do not have as much freedom as men. But liberty is a must for democracy. And without liberty to all the members of the society, democracy has no meaning.
(iii) If men commit atrocities on women and exploit them, it is a big blow to democracy.
Equal Share in the Property of Her Parents.
Formerly, the girls or women had no share in the property of their parents. Only the sons enjoyed this right. This was a great injustice to girls. The government of India passed the Hindu Code Bill and the Kamala Act to do away with this disparity. Now girls have equal share along with their brothers in the property of their parents.
Declaring Dowry as Illegal.
Women suffered much humiliation because of the demand for dowry. The Government of India has now declared dowry illegal and now no one can force the other party to give dowry. Such persons can easily be prosecuted. This very fact has removed a great inequality against women.
To impart education to girls, various schools and colleges, some exclusively for women, have been opened. Consequently, women are gradually coming forward and have begun to occupy high positions both in jobs and politics.
As a result of the above efforts made by the reformers and the government, much improvement has come in the status of women in society. We now see women occupying high posts in different institutions. Many of them are Parliamentarians and some are Ministers. Some like Indira Gandhi have adorned the office of the prime Minister.
However, in spite of the best efforts of the social reformers and the government, many social ills especially the dowry system still persist in society. More efforts are still required to uproot this evil. The well-wishers of- women-folk suggest the following measures to end the dowry system prevailing in our society. Girls should be made economically independent. The right to work should be guaranteed to women so that they are not a burden on their parents.
Girls should be well-educated. Only educated girls can save themselves from falling prey to greedy in-laws. The government should make laws more strict against those who are still found demanding dowry at the time of marriage of their sons. Social institutions like the Arya Samaj, the Namdhari Movement, etc. should be encouraged to perform dowry-less marriages.
Those who don’t take dowry from the girl side should be given some incentive i.e., employment to the unemployed and increments to the employed. All the marriages should be registered and undertaking from the parents of the bridegroom should be taken that they have not taken anything in dowry. Programs against dowry should be relayed on mass media like radio, television, etc.
Read More: Challenges to Democracy: Illiteracy and Regional Imbalance in India