I was part of a discussion on the BBC World Have Your Say which spoke about India being fourth on a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey on the most dangerous countries in the world to be a woman in.
I am a woman who have lived and worked all her life in a city like Mumbai. Maybe I am not representative of women as a whole in the country.
Yes, there are foeticides, there are dowry deaths, there are rapes and child brides. Yes, there is sex trafficking and minors forced into prostitution, which happens to be the criterion that played a major role to get us onto this honour list. Yes the gender ratio is so skewed now that I seriously think the next generation of Indians will have to adopt polyandry as a practical solution to the shortage of brides. Which, I think, would actually be a good thing, and slowly tilt us towards a matriarchal culture, well a girl can dream can’t she? Yes, the system is skewed towards patriarchy because that is how it has been for so many centuries. But to say that India is the fourth worst country in the world to be a woman? I would say that is stretching the truth a bit too far.
Here’s what the report says: LONDON (TrustLaw) – Violence, dismal healthcare and brutal poverty make Afghanistan the world’s most dangerous country for women, with Congo a close second due to horrific levels of rape, a Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll said on Wednesday.
Pakistan, India and Somalia ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide, genital mutilation and acid attack
I grew up in a metro and I have traveled the length and breadth of the country and I do feel that yes, there is danger here if you are out in certain parts of the country beyond a certain time, but I hear horror stories of rapes, muggings and killings from all across the world. Thankfully I do have the freedom to move around by myself and do not need to be escorted by a male relative wherever I want to go. I am free to drive, to get an education, to pursue a career. But then, I am a girl from the metro. I do understand things are different in the rural areas. I do know that had I fallen in love with the spouse in rural Haryana, the khaps might have just ordered both of us dead, if my father and brother hadn’t killed me off before that.
On the flip, we have so many powerful women in business and politics. The corporate world has women at senior positions. Girls are outperforming boys in competitive exams.
But to be bracketed in the same category as Congo and Somalia, where genital mutilation is the norm, rapes by bayonets part of daily living, maternal health care so terrible that 50 per cent women dont make it past childbirth.
I have my issues with the methodology of the poll. Read more about it here: http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/news/trustlaw-poll-afghanistan-is-most-dangerous-country-for-women/
213 so called gender experts spread across five continents donot make an adequate representation of ground reality.
Paradoxically, I feel coming at 4th spot might be a blessing in disguise. It might just be the wake up call the country needs and the government needs to get their act in place and get serious about tackling gender violence related issues.
What do you think? Do we really deserve to be at 4th spot? And what can we as individuals to try and move our country off this list? Any suggestions?