Tedx: Need for Men’s Rights

Men’s Rights a concept which sounds alien in this modern era. We hear so much about rights for various groups, that we have ended up trampling on the most basic fundamental rights for men. Still on the backdrop of patriarchy we keep giving them the short end of the stick and ask them to ‘man up’.

Recently in an address in Tedx, the discussion was on Need for Men’s Rights.

The speaker very articulately explains the distinction between economic power and decision making power. He explains this concept with the story of Shantanu. Certain parameters can be used as a barometer to measure the health and quality of living of men in the society.

There is something very wrong with the society with majority of child labour being boys, victims of violent crimes being men and violent crimes committed by women on the rise. The discussion then went to if we are really living in a patriarchal society and the rape laws of India.

The presentation used at the address is given below:

Need for Mens Rights_TEDxJuhu

Let’s all Stand Up for a Cause…

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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.

Child Labour in India

India, as all developing countries is plagued with the problem of rampant ‘Child Labour’ being employed even by established companies either directly or indirectly. Children are employed in various industries be it textiles, garments or jewelry related industries or small road-side shops and hotels. Frequently we see sting operations conducted by NGOs exposing how child workers are used even by multi-national textile companies indirectly through outsourcing of tasks.

The usage of children as domestic help is the most rampant urban abuse of children as labourers. A recent rescue of a child working as a domestic help was carried out in Delhi. The report states that the child was made to drink urine, kept naked in the bathroom, was singed with frying pans and hit with brooms. The article shows how child labour is treated in India and the torture they have to face.

India currently has an estimated 2.4 mn child workers as per the 68th NSS survey[i]. If we include the part time workers[ii], this number shoots up to 3.22 mn. 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 Children

 Rural Working Children

If we see the charts above, the number of urban working children has not reduced. The disparity is stark in the ratio of working boys to girls. It has in fact  increased[ii] from 2.9x in 2004 to 5.9x in 2009 implying that roughly 6 underage boys work for every underage working girl. This trend which shows that boys are employed as child labour, six times more than girls  is very disturbing, as the childhood of these children is being snatched away from them at a very tender age.

Over the years inspite of embracing a progressive outlook, the role of burdening young boys as ‘providers’ to shoulder the family responsibility has not changed even a bit as is evident from the chart below.

 Child Labour

India is the only country in the world which celebrates a Children’s Day, inspite of having all the good intentions and policies, we have to reflect why the young boys are still being forced into growing as ‘men’ sooner than they should.

There is also one more trend that has come to the fore in recent times. Are we sending our young to work because our women are voluntarily choosing to go out of the Labour Force?

This is a point to ponder upon, let us all Stand up for a Cause…


[i] Based on Usual Principal Status Approach. The estimate is derived by multiplying estimated population in the age group and per 1000 working population for that age group.

[ii] Based on Usual Principal Status Approach & Usual Subsidiary Economic Activity Status approach. The estimate is derived by multiplying estimated population in the age group and per 1000 working population for that age group.

Note: The data above is for age group 10-14. NSSO employment surveys 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68. Usual Principal Activity Status  approach data. (Participation rate per 1,000)

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