Do women want to be treated specially or equally? – Do men know the difference?

As per Article 15(3) of the constitution of India a special enabling provision was made towards the upliftment of women – “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children”, thereby allowing positive for discrimination for women. The reason for insertion of clause 3 to article 15 was that, for centuries, women in India had been socially and economically handicapped. Thereby they were unable to participate in the socio-economic activities of the nation on a footing of equality with their menfolk. This article was to empower them by way of positive discrimination so as to bring about an equality between men and women, gradually reducing the gap between the two sexes.

Let us evaluate if this is true in modern India. The data points that can act as a barometer for concluding whether women are underprivileged could be:

  • Life Expectancy of women: Showing how well they are cared for and have access to medical facilities
  • Unnatural deaths of women
  • Women’s access to higher education
  • Women Child Labour
  • Homelessness of Women
  • Violent Crime against women
  • Women casualties in war
  • Political representation of women

Let us critically evaluate every parameter above with data comparing how well men and women of India have fared on the same:

Life Expectancy of Women: It is widely believed that women donot have access to medical facilities. If that is the case their life expectancy ought to have been lower as compared to the privileged men of India.

 

Particulars

Male

Female

Life Expectancy

62

65

As we can see above life expectancy of women is higher than men in India.

Unnatural deaths: Even in the case of unnatural deaths women have fared better than men. As per the WHO data, the number of non-natural deaths in the South East Asian Countries (India is a part of this group) is given below:

Year: 2008

(In ‘000)

Reasons for Death

Male

Female

All Causes

79,13,478.64

65,84,985.96

Communicable Diseases

25,25,517.23

2,507,378.56

Cancers

5,68,926.57

5,66,482.90

Cardiovascular diseases

20,10,290.25

16,05,605.64

Injuries

9,91,230.123

5,60,454.64

Intentional Injuries

2,93,042.05

1,27,055.14

 

Women’s access to higher education: India is currently having more number of graduates and post graduate women. The census data below speaks for itself:

Age

All India Female – Male Sex Ratio

Graduate and above Female – Male Sex Ratio

All India

Rural

Urban

Total

943

955

962

939

20-24

935

936

933

25-29

975

980

967

30-34

984

1001

951

35-59

951

966

924

60+

1033

1036

1027

As can be seen above the all India all age group graduate female to male sex ratio is way higher than the population sex ratio implying that more women as a percentage are sent to colleges than men. The difference is even wider in rural India where even more women as a percentage than men attend colleges as compared to urban India.

Child Labour: The working children are primarily boys who carry the burden of the patriarchal social construct in their roles as protectors/ providers of the family and at that young age have to shoulder the responsibilities of the family. Still India has special schemes for education and development of a girl child and not for a boy child

Urban Working ChildrenRural Working Children

Homelessness of Women: In the recent census data for 2011 about 1.05 mn men were found to be homeless with over 600 thousand in cities. Around 1.8x times more men were found to be homeless in the urban areas as compared to women. The situation was not very different in the rural areas where more men are homeless as compared to women. The all-India average is at 1.4x times more homeless men.

Homeless Indian Men

Homeless Indian Men

Violent Crime against women: Majority of the crimes are against the male population in India; we see that around 74% of all violent crimes are against the male gender. Men are 2.7 times more likely to be murdered and 4.4 times more likely to be seriously harmed than women in India.

Crime[i]

Men

Women

Murder (#)

25,665

9,457

%

73%

27%

Harm Not amounting to murder  (IPC 304/308) (#)

3,362

761

%

82%

18%

Women casualties in war: the male gender is primarily on the receiving end of all wars and lay down their lives for protecting the society. The casualties across all wars is given below–

Men

Women

Troop Casualties in WW1

3,74,64,404

Nil

Troop Casualties in WW2

2,70,70,026

Nil

Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

6,800

Nil

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

12,843

Nil

Kargil War

980

Nil

Political representation of women: Women have higher political representation (shown by the number of voters) and it is seen that a dominant group is one which has more political representation as they control the law making in a democracy-

Year

Men (% votes)

Women (% votes)

1999

40.01%

59.99%

2004

41.93%

58.07%

2009

45.8%

54.2%

 

As we see above in all parameters women fare better than men still there is a demand for positive discrimination for them. Is this positive discrimination beneficial for the society. We have more women graduates, still the women are going out of the work force and prefer to stay at home. Men are required to maintain well educated women, which is evident in the laws such as Section 125 of CrPC. The violent crimes committed by women has substantially increased over the past decade; still they are treated with kid gloves in the eyes of law.

Given the above scenario, do we really require any type of special laws favouring women? Are women really underprivileged and donot have opportunities? It’s time to ponder. Let’s Stand Up for a Cause …

I’m blogging for the India Today Woman Summit 2015 #WomenPower activity at BlogAdda.

——————–

(i) Table 3.3 and 3.4 of Crimes in India 2012, NCRB.

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Benefits of Legalizing Prostitution

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Sexual Economics – Theory of Sex

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Why should Women Study?

Education is the pillar for economic growth and development. As a nation develops, the share of Industrial and Services sector increases in the GDP. Employment opportunities are generated and the country requires educated workforce. Economic growth is related to improvement in technology, which in turn is dependent on the availability of researchers in the country. Therefore, education can said to be one of the most important pillars for growth of a country. No wonder every year the Indian government spends crores of rupees on the education sector.

For the XI plan a total of Rs. 177,566.86 crores has been spent on educating the youth of India which is divided into –

  • Allocation for higher education: Rs. 39,646.82 crores (ie. Average yearly expenditure of Rs. 7,929.4 crores)
  • School Education and Literacy: Rs. 137,920.04 crores (ie. Average yearly expenditure of Rs. 27,584.0 crores)

Taking into account the total enrollment of students for school education and higher education , the average expense per year for every student paid by the taxpayers comes to Rs. 1142 for school education and Rs. 2776 for higher education. Therefore on an average to train 1 student (who has cleared higher education), the total taxpayer expenditure comes to Rs. 22,030 (12 years of schooling and 3 years of college).

Now a question arises why are we discussing the amount spent by our government for higher education. We will shortly come to that question. In the meanwhile let up analyse the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for women in India. The LFPR for women has been continuously declining since 2004 from 208 to 168 per thousand persons, which is a substantial decline. Every year roughly 1.3 crore women graduate in India, hence in the past 10 years about 13 crores women have graduated. As per the NSS estimate about 0.6 crore women in the age group of 25-34 are working in administrative, technical, professional and clerical roles .

Of the 13 crore trained women only 0.6 crore are in the Labour Force. A whooping 12.1 crore women are not working even though they are highly qualified. The taxpayers have spent roughly Rs. 265,816 crores in training these women, who are not contributing to the growth of the economy. These funds could have been better used at some other place which could have provided better economic growth and return on investment.

Now an interesting question arises as to why women donot want to work even though they are equally qualified. Often a reason promulgated is sexual harassment at workplace. We do have strict sexual harassment laws, still the workforce participation rate is falling. If sexual harassment was the reason, these strict laws ought to have increased the LFPR, which is not the case.

Now a question arises that what could be the reasons for this deep rooted social issue where well educated women are going out of the work force and even applying for maintenance from their husbands:

  1. Lack of agency on women’s part which means treating them as children. They are grown up and ought to be treated as same and should be made responsible for their own decisions
  2. Lack of responsibilities on women. All the responsibilities are on men socially as well as legally. Section 125 of CrPC specifically states that men are responsible for the upkeep of their wives and parents. No such responsibility is there on women howsoever qualified she might be.
  3. Lack of accountability on women. It has been seen that women are not made accountable for their actions. As is evident in the sharp rise in frivolous cases filed by them. Further, women centric laws are being implemented and sops are regularly doled out for them during each government budget

The effects of these social issues are grave such as:

  1. The loss to the GDP of India as discussed above
  2. Increase in the number of serious crimes committed by women
  3. Reduction of women from the workforce
  4. Rise in frivolous case of sexual assault
  5. Increase in the number of male suicides

In a maintenance case filed by an educated wife, the learned Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had commented, “The law does not help indolents as well idles so also does not want an army of self made lazy idles. Everyone has to earn for the purpose of maintenance of himself or herself, atleast, has to make sincere efforts in that direction.” The learned Judge further stated, “In fact, well qualified spouses desirous of remaining idle, not making efforts for the purpose of finding out a source of livelihood, have to be discouraged, if the society wants to progress.”

How do we rectify these social issues? What should be the future steps, let us all Stand Up for a Cause…

———————-

Sources:

  1. Yearwise Plan Expenditure (Ministry of Human Resource Development): http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/YearwiseXIPlanExpdt.pdf
  2. Statistics of School Education 2009-10 (Ministry of Human Resource Development): http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/SES-School_200910F.pdf
  3. All India Survey on Higher Education 2011-12 (Ministry of Human Resource Development): http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/AISHE2011-12P_1.pdf
  4. Key Indicators of Employment and Unemployment in India 2011-12 (NSS 68th Round) (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation)
  5. Code 1-4 of NCO-2004 (Ministry of Labour): http://dget.nic.in/nco/CodeStructure.pdf . Calculation Steps: Multiplying the women in workforce (Age 25-34) given on pg 119 with women working in office given on pg 196.

Definitions:

School Education: Typically defined as classes I to XII.

Higher Education: Typically Universities, Colleges and Stand-Alone Institutions and includes integrated, certificate,  diploma, degree, post grad. and PH.D. courses.

Note: Do feel free to comment if you have any concerns or suggestions for the article. Your comments / concerns will be suitably included in the article.

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IrBM Arguments in Media (Part 3)

Picture of the "Gingerbread House" i...

This is the third part to the series of Irretrievable Break-down of Marriage (IrBM) Arguments in the media[i]. The Part 1 and Part 2 of the article can be found here and here.

Another interesting argument promulgated in the media for passing the Marriage Law Amendment is that women donot own any assets and post a divorce are on the streets to fend for themselves.

The argument seems to state that women donot own any assets and hence should get an equal share in an asset which the husband has created. This share is to ensure the safety of women.

Let us analyse this statement in-depth based on the assets majorly owned by Men and Women in India.

Men

Women

  1. Own a House
  1. Own Jewellery (Also classified as Stree Dhan)
  2. Also own a House
  • Jewellery: The jewellery in India can typically be classified as
    • Gold Jewellery: India is the largest consumer of gold for jewellery purposes and it is estimated consumed roughly 745.7 metric tonnes of gold in 2010 for jewellery manufacturing[ii]. (ie. Approximately 7,45,700 kgs of gold). This amounts to approximately Rs. 2.23 lakh crores (ie. ~US$ 37.3 bn)[iii]
    • Diamond Jewellery: As per a Bain & Co. report, India consumes approximately US$ 8.5 bn of Diamond Jewellery annually[iv].
    • Silver Jewellery: It is estimated that India consumes approximately 3,700 metric tonnes of silver annually for ornamental items such as jewellery, utensils and gift items[v].  (ie. Approximately 37,00,000 kgs of gold). This amount to approximately 16.6 thousand crores (ie. ~US$ 2.8 bn)[vi]

Therefore, gold, silver and diamond consumption in India for ornamental purposes totals to US$ 48.6 bn on an annual basis.

  • Houses: The real estate sector which consists of residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and SEZs was about US$ 50.7 bn for FY 2011[vii]. Of the total real estate sector, women do hold a decent share of housing stock. This data can be estimated from the housing loans given to women as a percentage of total housing loans. As per an RTI[viii] by Vaastav Foundation on Union Bank of India, on an average 19.6% of the women were given housing loans as a percentage of total loans disbursed. As houses are typically purchased by way of housing loans, it can be said that approximately 19.6% of the houses are held by women.

Therefore of the total real estate sector of US$ 50.7 bn about US$ 9.9 bn is consumed by women and US$ 40.8 bn by men.

The Summary of the yearly consumption of assets between men and women for India is given below:

Particulars

Men

(US$ Bn)

Women

(US$ Bn)

Real Estate

40.8

9.9

Gold

37.3

Diamonds

8.5

Silver

2.8

Total

40.8

58.5

As can be seen in the above table, on a yearly basis, women acquire approximately US$ 58.5 bn of assets as compared to approximately US$ 40.8 bn of assets by men. Therefore, the idea that women donot hold ‘any’ assets does not seem to be backed by data, instead the data shows that substantial assets are held by women of India.

In developed nations of the world such as Sweden and Germany, the properties of husband and wife are treated separately and only joint contributed property is treated as marital property. Hence, only the marital property is divided in the case of separation. This comes from the tenet that all able bodied persons should be liable for their own upkeep[ix].

Do you still support IrBM?


[i] IrBM is a marriage amendment law currently being proposed in the parliament

[iii] At Gold Price of Rs. 30,000 /10 gms and an exchange rate of 1 US$=Rs.60

[v] India’s Consuming Interest in Silver by Rajan Venkatesh, http://www.lbma.org.uk/assets/alch28_india.pdf

[vi] Silver prices of Rs. 45,000 /1 kg and an exchange rate of 1US$ = Rs. 60

[vii] IBEF- Real Estate, August 2013, page 6 and 36, http://www.ibef.org/download/real-estate-august-2013.pdf (adjusted for exchange rate of 1 US$ = Rs. 60)

Women in Work Force – Part 3 (short update)

This is in continuation to the earlier posts which can be found here- Part 1 and Part 2.

One of the justifications advanced for women leaving the work force is that they join the part-time labour force. Let us analyze the past years data on Current Weekly Activity Status Approach (cws). According to the CWS approach, a person is considered as a worker if he/she has performed any economic activity for at least 1 hour on any day of the reference week. For details please refer this link.

As per the CWS Approach the number of women participants in the labour force have reduced by 20% from 2004 to 2012[i]

Female-LFPR- current weekly activity status

Male-LFPR-current weekly activity status

Do feel free to comment and hypothesize any other reason for this trend.


[i] NSSO employment surveys 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68. Current Weekly Activity Status (cws) approach data. (Participation rate per 1,000)

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

Women in Work Force – Part 2

Shopper

I recently got a response to my article ‘Women in Work Force’, that women are leaving the work force because they need to take care of the children.

The justification seems logical but does not hold merit as –

  • Did women not have to take care of children in 2004? Were women not taking care of children earlier and therefore working and have recently realized over the past decade that they need to take care of children?
  • The proportion of children to the total population of India has reduced in the past decade, implying that lesser women-hours are to be spent on taking care of children now as compared to a decade earlier. Therefore logically their participation in the labour force should have increased as opposed to decreasing.

As per the census of India[i], the proportion of children in the age group 0-10 years has reduced from 26.5% in 2001 to 22.3% in 2011. This means, now more women should have free time as they donot have to take care of the children.

Another justification given for women going out of the work force is that they join the part-time labour force. If we analyse the labour force taking into account the subsidiary economic activity (ss) workers, even then number of women participants have reduced by 20%.[ii]

Female Labour Force Participation Rate (ps+ss)

Male Labour Force Participation Rate (ps+ss)

Hence, none of the justifications seem to be backed by facts.


[i] Census of India: 2011 and 2001

[ii] NSSO employment surveys 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68. Usual Principal Activity Status (ps) and Usual Subsidiary Economic Activity Status (ss) approach data. (Participation rate per 1,000)

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

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