Higher Education Gender Biasness Myth – Part 2

This is the part 2 of the previous article titled Higher Education: Gender Biasness Myth. It is been said that women in India are not allowed to study, which is not correct as enumerated by the census data. The fact is quite contrary and completely opposite to the popular belief.

Women are promoted more in India for higher education (which is classified as graduation and above). 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.

If we take the decadal changes in education in India, we can look at Post Graduates in the age group of 20-29.

Age Group 20-24

Males (#)

Females (#)

Post Graduates

25,66,169

28,31,783

In the field of medicine, we have now more women graduates / post graduates at 183,342 women as compared to 171,843 men in the 20-24 age group.

This gets us to a few pertinent questions:

Some thoughts to ponder upon. Stand Up for a Cause…

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Data Source: Census 2011

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Women’s Reservation in the Parliament

In the recent past there have been a lot of debate on the reservation of women in the Parliament and a bill on Women’s Reservation has been promulgated in the parliament. There have been many reasons advanced for passing the bill such as:

  • 50% of the population are women, hence reservation should be there in the Parliament: As per Aristotle, democracy is akin to freedom, a freedom to rule and be ruled. “But one factor of liberty is to govern and be governed in turn; for the popular principle of justice is to have equality according to number, not worth, … And one is for a man to live as he likes; for they say that this is the function of liberty, inasmuch as to live not as one likes is the life of a man that is a slave.” In essence, freedom to be elected is an important canon of democracy and reserving seats in the parliament is a blow to this canon and counterproductive to democracy. Reasons such as 50% of the population are women is not a correct way of looking at it. In India, there are no restriction on women to contest elections and canvassing for the same. As democracy is based on the concept of liberty and choice, let the people choose whosoever they feel are the best candidates to represent them.

Having a reservation, takes away the liberty of choice from the people and also the liberty to be elected to represent the public, which is against the philosophy of democracy.

On another note, taking the above reasoning further, as 25% of the Indian population are children, why should we not reserve seats for them in the parliament?

  • There is no political representation of women in the parliament: India being an indirect democracy, has elected representatives who control the law making process. The elected representatives need to do as directed by the electorate as they are representing them. In case of India, over the last few elections, the percentage votes of men and women are:

 

General Election Year

Men (% votes)

Women (% votes)

1999

40.01%

59.99%

2004

41.93%

58.07%

2009

45.8%

54.2%

 

The dominant group from the above data is clearly the women of India, as they are nearly 60% of the voters, and not the men. Hence, women exercise more political representation than men as is evident from the voter data above. Women have themselves elected their representatives to the parliament and stating that they donot have an equal representation is incorrect as it is primarily their representatives in the parliament.

  • Women own just 1% assets of the world: How is owning just 1% assets a proof of ability to be elected to the parliament? Further, this number is used in many places but no source for the same is ever given. As per an estimate, the consumption of assets (real estate and jewellery) per year between men and women in India is about US$ 40.8 bn for men and US$ 58.5 bn for women. If they consume more assets than men then how come they hold only 1% of the assets? Further, this reasoning does not have any bearing on the discussion at hand.
  • Women’s voice is not heard: Again this is a misplaced argument. The government has special ministry just for Women’s Welfare and also many NGOs are funded for the development of women and to hear their voice. The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) has been formed by the government of India. As per the website of MoWCD “the broad mandate of the Ministry is to have holistic development of Women and Children. As a nodal Ministry for the advancement of women and children, the Ministry formulates plans, policies and programmes; enacts/ amends legislation, guides and coordinates the efforts of both governmental and non-governmental organisations working in the field of Women and Child Development”. Another statutory organization working for women development is The National Commission for Women (NCW) whose mandate includes, “review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women, recommend remedial legislative measures, facilitate redressal of grievances and advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women”. Therefore, stating that women’s voice is not heard is an incorrect reasoning as there are ample constitutional machineries for the same.
  • Reserving seats in the parliament is a tool for women empowerment and upliftment: India has about 11% women in the parliament. Pakistan has a reservation in its parliament for women and has a 17.5% women representation. Do let me know if Pakistan’s ranking in women empowerment and freedom is higher than India. United States does not have any reservations for women in their house of representatives, do women there have no empowerment and freedom?

Reservation in the parliament is not a method and correct way to improve women empowerment and freedom. These objectives are best achieved by way of primary, secondary and tertiary education. India is already focused on education for both the genders, you may refer to the article Higher Education: Gender Biasness Myth for a further discussion.

 

One of the noteable feature of the Indian Constitution as compared with the Government of India Act, 1935 (which was passed by the British) was the abolition of communal elctorates, which the British had incorporated in the 1935 Act. Our forefathers adopted the ideology of no voting on communal lines in the Indian Constitution in the interest of national fraternity and solidarity. The vice of communal voting and reservations was abolished with the Indian Constitution. Therefore adding reservation based on gender in the parliament not only vitiates the ideology of our founding forefathers, which they had for independent India, but also infringes upon the liberty of the Indian people. Such a reservation, in essence, is a step backwards in democracy and against the vision of our learned forefathers. Reservations may also cause a deterioration in the quality of leaders/representatives as then the electorate may have to choose between sub-optimal candidates.

Let us all Stand Up for a Cause…

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Higher Education: Gender Biasness Myth

In the past, there have been many debates that women are not allowed to study due to the patriarchal mindset. Let us try to break this myth of women’s higher studies.

The measure that is used to calculate parity in education is the Gender Parity Index (GPI), which is the ratio of Female Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to Male GER. A GPI of 1 indicates parity between the sexes.

Select states of India having the highest GPIs are given below:

State GPI
Kerala 1.39
Meghalaya 1.28
Goa 1.16
Uttar Pradesh 1.16
Jammu and Kashmir 1.10
Manipur 1.07
Uttrakhand 1.05
Chandigarh 1.03
Assam 0.98
Haryana 0.96
Delhi 0.94
Himachal Pradesh 0.94

In the above table it can be clearly seen that many states have a GPI of over 1, which means that more percentage of women (of the total women) are being imparted higher education as compared to men. It also implies that there is no biasism in imparting higher education for women.

It would be interesting to note that in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand and UT of Chandirarh, the GPI is over 1, implying women are more educated than men. In the states of Haryana and Delhi, the GPI is nearly equal to 1 implying no bias in educating women in these states and they are equally qualified as compared to their male counterparts.

Could anyone explain to me how does patriarchy stop women from being educated? As can be seen above, states which are touted to be highly patriarchal have a GPI of above 1 or nearly equal to 1. Further, the data also rebuts the myth that women are deliberately not sent to schools or refrained from higher studies.

Let us all Stand Up for a Cause…

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Source: Table 11a: All India Survey on Higher Education 2011-12 (Provisional), Ministry of Human Resource Development.

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Child Gender Preference – India

In recent past I have read news articles wherein gender ratio is linked to patriarchal societies. This seems to give an impression that patriarchy is a reason for lower gender ratios in states such as UP, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. Let us delve deeper into  the preference of married persons for the gender of their child in these so called patriarchal societies.

Married persons (age 15-49 yrs) who want more Sons than Daughters – %

Area

Mother

Father

Bihar

39.2

38.5

Rajasthan

34.3

24.0

Uttar Pradesh

33.5

27.8

Madhya Pradesh

30.8

27.9

Jharkhand

28.1

24.6

Orissa

24.2

20.3

Gujarat

22.7

20.0

Haryana

22.0

18.4

Uttarakhand

20.7

13.6

Punjab

17.7

13.4

Further, for Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Jharkhand more men want daughters than sons as compared to women.

The above data shows that in the so called patriarchal societies of India it is the womenfolk who prefer sons over daughters as compared to men, and that too over a wide margin. The lower gender ratio in these states could be due to this preference of womenfolk. It would be great to know how come this gender preference of women be related to patriarchy, as claimed…

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Date Source: MoHFW_National Family Health Survey, 2005-2006, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi_2007

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

False Rape Charges on the Rise

Rape

A resent news article titled ‘False cases behind Delhi’s tag of rape capital: Court’, stated that a 75 year old man was accused of raping his maid servant was acquitted. As per the judgment, a frail old man of 75 years was accused of rape and had to suffer 6 months of jail time before being granted bail. The main reason for slapping the false rape was to merely extract money from the man.

Based on the lady’s complaint, the old man was sent for potency test wherein it was opined that there is nothing to suggest that he cannot perform sexual intercourse. Read more of this post

“20 Million” Missing Indian Men

Yes, you have read it correctly; over 20 Million men are missing from the working population of India based on the data tabulated for the past 15 years. The results are shocking, the death rates of Indian men increase once they are born. The number of deaths of Indian men over a 5 year time period from 1995 – 2000 in 5 year age groups are given below [i]

(in ‘000)

Age Group

2000

2005

2010

15-19

364.3

327.2

295.0

20-24

477.8

438.4

399.5

25-29

575.3

549.1

501.4

30-34

608.9

632.9

579.6

35-39

670.3

706.2

680.3

40-44

719.1

766.3

762.9

45-49

828.5

863.7

876.8

50-54

1,048.0

1,080.9

1,116.0

55-59

1,333.0

1,386.0

1,447.2

Total

6,625.1

6,750.8

6,658.7

Read more of this post

IrBM Arguments in the Media

Divorce Cakes a_007

Recently there has been a spate of discussions in the media on the upcoming Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage Law (IrBM). Some important highlights of the proposed bill are –

  1. Divorce can now be filed as a ‘No-fault Divorce’ stating that marriage has broken down irretrievably.
  2. Husbands do not have the right to oppose the divorce petition filed by their wives, whereas the wives can oppose the divorce petition filed by the husbands. Hence, the irretrievable break down of marriage can only be claimed by a wife and not the husband as husband’s petition can be challenged by the wife.
  3. All the property of the husband that he currently owns and his ancestral property (inherited or inheritable) will be divided between the husband and the wife.

Some arguments that have been promulgated for supporting this bill during media debates are –

1) Poverty is a gender issue and primarily in India women are poor: This is a baseless argument as the data shows just the opposite. Two most important features of poverty are malnutrition and substandard healthcare due to which the life expectancy reduces and deaths due to diseases increase respectively. Read more of this post

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