In the wake of #MeToo, people are re-evaluating issues of gender inequality and sexual harassment in their own lives. And as more news of the mistreatment of women and especially women from minority groups in India emerges, the world is being called to act.
In 2018, within the global context of the #MeToo and the Time’s Up movements, actress Tanushree Dutta shared her experiences of harassment in the Bollywood film industry and is said by many to have sparked the #MeToo conversation in India.
With the ever-growing movement in India, more and more women are speaking about their experiences of sexual harassment and gender-based violence.
It is an important step toward a world where all genders are viewed as equal. But this does not mean that gender inequality no longer exists.
Learn more about gender inequality in India, and what you can do to contribute to a more equitable society.
What does gender inequality in India look like?
The current social and economic structure in India means that, more often than not, women are considered inferior to men.
As a result of the social inequalities in their society, women in India can face issues such as demeaning and negative treatment, forceful marriages from a young age, and sometimes even being totally denied an education. This lack of education creates a domino effect on both the social and economic aspects of these women’s lives.
For example, the labour force participation rate for women in India fell to 15.5% in 2020 – the lowest rate ever in India, which has one of the lowest employment rates for women worldwide. Even when women are able to access employment, the gender pay gap between women and men is unequal, and women are less likely to be employed in permanent positions than men are. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic worsen an already critical situation for women.
Women also face higher risks with regards to their health. Inadequate and poor nutrition, coupled with a lack of access to primary healthcare are major contributors to India’s high rates of female mortality.
With COVID-19, women’s safety in India is more compromised as access to protective equipment and even vaccinations can be restricted. This, along with the fact that many women are on the ground responding to COVID-19 cases and caring for the sick, yet very few women hold decision-making authority, means support is vastly needed.
These have become major forms of inequality on the basis of gender.
Volunteering for change
GVI offers a women’s empowerment project in Kerala, India. Lasting anywhere between two and twelve weeks, this program enables participants to play a role in long-term women’s empowerment initiatives.
In many senses, knowledge is power. So with the program aiding in giving women and young girls access equal education, it helps to ease critical social issues such as poverty and employment.
By ensuring women have access to resources, we can help women to empower themselves, become more financially independent, and achieve their goals.
Want to play your part and support women in Kerala, India? Speak to a member of our team today to find out how.
Disclaimer: The images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.