By Rupane Goyat
Gender inequality subsists in Indian economy and prevails in all sectors of life like health, education, economics and politics. Men have always had the upper hand in these fields, depicting how deeply patriarchy is entrenched in India. Even though gender equality soars to great heights in post-independence era, many steps have been taken in various sectors of life to bridge the gap between men and women and to bring them up to the same level.
Women have been actively involved in economic activities and labor force in contemporary times. In the agriculture sector for instance, 74% of the labor force consists of women. Yet, the wage gap between men and women across the Indian economy despite the active involvement of reformists and feminists who have been fighting for equal pay.
Women are also discriminated in terms of credit lending and property ownership. This situation can be again drawn back to the patriarchal system prevalent in the Indian economy: women have always been disbanded from share in the properties as it is believed that men are the ones who actually carry their generation forward and earn bread and butter for the family, while women would just sustain upon the money earned by men.
Women also lack behind the corporate and government sectors. Various government programs and schemes have been launched in an attempt to provide equal opportunities for men and women. Reservations have helped to rise the number of jobs of women in government sector. This growing trend also lead to changes in the corporate sector. Earlier, not a single woman was to be seen in the top tier of the corporate world. Today, there has been escalation in the number of woman in these top sectors. Even though there have been reforms and number of women have increased in jobs but still they lag behind in the total percentage of jobs.
These issues are very debatable why women still lag behind men despite the increase in the number of opportunities and affirmative action programs. These debates in my opinion would always lead to the issue of patriarchy. Patriarchy, according to me is so entrenched in the Indian society that even though one may try their hardest to uplift women to the level of men, patriarchy would pull them down. I believe until and unless patriarchy is removed, nothing can bring equality among men and women.
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- Ajit, D., Donkner, H., Saxena, R. “Corporate Boards in India: Blocked by Caste?” Economic and Political Weekly 47, no. 32 (2012): 39-43. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23251799
- Ghosh, R. “Human Rights and Sexism in Indian Education.” India International Centre Quarterly 13, no. 3/4 (1986): 57-76. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23001437