A recent study conducted by a global market and opinion research company, Ipsos MORI reveals that majority of the people in India feel that when it comes to giving women equal rights with men, things have gone far enough in the country.
Around 59% agree that a lot has been done to ensure equal rights for men and women in India.
The survey across 27 countries reveals global attitudes towards gender equality and finds that most men acknowledge that gender equality can only be achieved with men’s support, however around half think that they are being expected to do too much.
When asked if people think that there are more advantages in being a man or woman, or is there no difference, 38% said that more advantages in being a man, 29% said no difference and only 24% said there are more advantages in being a woman in India.
69% Indians think that women won’t achieve equality in the country unless men take the initiative to support women’s rights too.
While 74% of Indians feel that achieving equality between men and women is important to them personally, majority felt that sexual harassment and sexual violence are the most important issues facing women and girls in our country.
The data is based on an online survey conducted on 18,800 adults aged 16-64 across 27 countries from 21 Dec 2018 – 4 Jan 2019.
Pune365 spoke to city activists who shared their candid opinion on the survey and its findings in the context of our society at large.
Vinita Deshmukh, Journalist and RTI activist disagrees with what 59% of Indians believe. “I do not believe that this is the case. There are a lot of grey areas where we need to ensure equality.
The biggest glaring example is that of Sabarimala Temple case where despite the orders from the Supreme Court people have gone to regression by showing men are more important than women.
Secondly, despite the Nirbhaya and Visakha guidelines in place, I know many women who have been trying to procure enquiry reports in their sexual harassment cases but the issue has not been addressed because the government officers handling their cases are patriarchal in nature. The law is implemented but, it is still pro-men.
On the domestic front, women are still termed housewives. It shows how being a home maker is looked down upon. Lastly, in the case of youngsters getting married, a lot of the divorce cases are because the lady is equally or more financial independent than her male counterpart.
A lot of men grow up to believe that they are superior and must take all decisions. Now, empowered and independent woman are hurting this male ego.
How many more years will it take to get 33% women representatives in the parliament? All this clearly points to the fact that inequality still prevails in the country,” adds Deshmukh.
“Yes, to some extent, the laws have paved the way for equal rights, however, what is more important is a change in the mindset of people.
This I believe, we as a country are far removed from. And it stems from Religion and Tradition,” shares social activist, Jaya Banerjee.
“It’s more about equal opportunity that should be present irrespective of gender. Women and men are not equal, we are different, and gender should not determine opportunity and mindsets.
The core, I believe, is in the area of Religion and Tradition. No matter the amount of laws, which find their source in religion, it’s still a perspective that’s deep rooted in people’s minds.
How many heads of religion, across religions, do we see as women? And the irony, in India with a majority population of Hindus, where Shakti is supreme.”
When quizzed if she believes that women won’t achieve equality in their country unless men take actions to support women’s rights too, she said, “Our society as a whole needs to work towards equal opportunity, and to undo the suppression and oppression that women face till today.
Everyone, men and women, need to understand this and bring about better change.”
When asked if we are expecting a lot from men when it comes to working towards empowering women, Banerjee says, “Not only men, I think for Indian society, it’s an expectation that isn’t easy.
However, in the recent past we have seen change. If you study the feminist movement, and the waves of feminism, in the west, which began in the 60’s, we realise we as India, need to approach it a little differently.
The report says 50% of Indian people said that they are feminists. According to Banerjee, someone who can identify and appreciate a woman as a woman, not equating her to a man, is a feminist.
“We are different. But that never meant that we were to be suppressed and oppressed. That is the fight, to be the best a woman can be, and not be told we are any less because of our gender,” adds Jaya.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @KaurKaur18
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