women safety in india essay upsc
India is known all over the world for its great tradition and culture, where women are worshipped in the form of Sati, Savitri, Durga, and Lakshmi. But if we take a glance behind the curtains, the story is totally different. Indian women work in all fields like politics, banks, sports, schools, businesses, army, and many more. Due to this greater exposure of women in every field, the cases of violence against women has increased by many folds.
Women were previously restricted to corners of the house, but after globalization, the patriarchal mindset of society has changed to some extent but not to the level it was supposed to. Mindset of the people is somewhere still the same that treats males as superior to females and always tries to dominate the womenfolk. Male-dominated society uses different tools to prove their domination over the female, including domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, acid attack, teasing, etc.
Many women are identified to be harassed, molested, assaulted, and violated every day at various places all over the country. According to a survey, around 80% of women have fear regarding their safety, and that’s why it is a prime concern in India. Women Safety is the practice and policy that aims to reduce gender-based violence and uplift women’s status in society. They cover almost 48% of the country’s total population, and they are a half participant in India’s growth and development.
We are running in an advanced era of the 21st century, and it is very shameful to say that women are not feeling safe in our nation. According to the reports of the “National Crime Records Bureau,” crime against women has shown an exponential rise in the last few years, so the safety of women has become a burning topic that should be discussed and solved.
Crime Against Women in India
Crime against women in India refers to sexual or physical abuse committed against women by their husbands, friends, relatives, or strangers. There is a big list of the activities mentioned above in India, such as an acid attack, child marriage, domestic violence, gender inequality, dowry death, female infanticide, trafficking, forced prostitution, female foeticide, etc. According to an International survey report, India is the fourth most dangerous country for women in the world.
Researches reveal that violence against women begins at home at an early age, especially in a rural area by family members. In recent decades, a sharp number of crimes have registered under ‘cruelty by husband and his relatives.’ Married women in India are subjected to violence as a routine part of their married life, and many such violence remains unreported due to certain Indian norms and cultural beliefs.
A Girl child is taught to be tolerant, and they have an immense pressure of not damaging the family’s honour. They feel violence at the child’s age in the form of gender inequality, such as the right to education, proper diet, or decision making of their life. 65% of Indian men believe that women should tolerate violence to keep the family together.
Acid attacks and rape cases are the two most dreadful crimes prevailing in Indian society, and it is found that a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. Indian women are at high risk of being an acid attack victim compared to women of other countries. Nirbhaya rape case, Unnao rape case, Laxmi Agarwal acid attack case are some of the heart trembling misdeeds against women.
According to the statistics of the National Crime Record Bureau, the highest rate of crime against women were recorded in Chennai in 2000. However, the crime rate fell largely by 2013 in Chennai. It was just opposite in the capital city of India, Delhi. The crime rate against women in Delhi was 17.6 out of 100,000 females in 2000, which rose by 151.13 out of 100,000 females in 2013. Although, the government of India is coming forward with new laws and policies against those crimes. Let’s discuss some of the amendments implemented by the government for the upliftment of women in India.
Safety Laws of the Government of India
The government of India is committed to eliminating violence against women through various policies, laws, and programs. Many councils and their partners are rigorously working on the strategies and services to be implemented in every part of the country. There is a list of safety laws for women in India from all types of crimes against women. Some of those safety laws include Child Marriage Act 1929, Widows Remarriage Act 1856, Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, Foreign Marriage Act 1969, Equal Remuneration Act 1976, Muslim Women Act 1986, National Commission for Women Act 1990, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013, Triple Talaq Act 2019 and many more.
The Indian government is emphasizing on women’s empowerment to control the crime rates against women. Here are some schemes that work on the prohibition of violence against women.
- The prime minister, Narendra Modi, launched a scheme in 2015 for girls named “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” to save and educate the girl child. It aims to bridge the gap between boys’ birth and improve the efficiency of welfare services for girls in India.
- One-Stop Centre Scheme, popularly known as ‘Sakhi’, was implemented on 1st April 2015 for providing shelter, police desk, medication, and counselling seminars for the victim.
- The Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP) aims to provide opportunities, skills, and employment to the women. It enables the woman to become self-dependent and confident.
- The Swadhar Greh Scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2002. It provides rehabilitation to marginalized women such as deserted widows and victims to extremist violence.
- A Working Women Hostel Scheme was launched to promote safe accommodation for women who work far from their homes.
Many other acts like #metoo and #time’s Up has also helped to raise the voice of silent victims and gained social attention against discrimination and violence against women. Apart from these government policies, women should step forward for their personal safety girls should be trained for self-defence and physical fitness from their childhood.
Tips for women’s safety in India
Safety of women matters a lot, whether at home, outside the home or workplaces. According to the report, it is found that every 2 out of 3 women have suffered around two to five times sexual harassment every year. In India, a woman is the symbol of ultimate power called ‘Devi-shakti’, and now the time has come to take the one’s safety in your hand. Women have to come forward first for their personal safety. They have to inbuilt confidence and feel empowered to protect themselves in any situation. And here is a list of measures that should be taken for the personal safety of women as mentioned below:
- Self-defence techniques are the first and foremost that every woman must be aware of. They must get some proper self-defence training and technical like kicks to the groin, blocking the punch, hitting hard on eyes, etc.
- Escape and run is a good way to reduce the risk of mishappening. Never feel ashamed to shout and gather a crowd. It will help to escape from dangerous situations.
- Women should never feel physically weak than men because confidence can help inbuilt the power to fight for themselves. An incident in Bareilly, a girl managed to escape from a gang of boys using her physical strength and techniques.
- Paper spray and knife can also be used to threaten and run away from the danger zone.
- Women must have all the emergency numbers with them, and they should immediately ask for help from their family members and police.
- They should also be alert while communicating with someone on the internet as cyber abuse is a serious concern in this technological world. It is reported that 412 complaints of cyber abuse have been filed between March and April under this lockdown period of COVID-19.
- Women should be very cautious while driving the car or any other vehicle. They must lock the car doors while travelling and always wear a helmet while driving scooters and bikes.
In the past few years, the safety of women in India has been declined because of continuous crime against women. Women’s safety is a big social issue that needs to be solved as it inhibits the country’s development. According to the constitution of India, Women have equal rights of freedom and dignity as men, and they contribute equally to the growth of the nation. They are joining almost all the high posts and offices like the President, Lok Sabha speaker, Union Ministry, Chief Ministers, Governor, defence team, etc.
Despite the formation of various rules and regulations by India’s government, the number of crimes against women is increasing exponentially. Women’s status in the country has been terrific and offensive in the past few years. It has also decreased the confidence levels of women and hurting them mentally, physically, and socially. It’s also true that only the government should not be blamed because the safety of women is not the responsibility of the government only. Every citizen of India, especially men, should take responsibility, and there is a need to change the mindset for women.