On Friday, Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said, "I am sharing it for the first time that when I was born, someone hinted to my mother that beti to bojh hoti hai (daughter is a burden) and therefore, she should kill me. But my mother was brave and she did not do that because of which today I am standing here in front of you."
This version of Smriti's story is making headlines but there are thousands of such women who have same views on their upbringing but remain unnoticed. The reason behind this could be our traditional values, but the stark reality is that women folk in our country is given a step-motherly treatment by their family members. Because of common belief that boy will succeed the family lineage, he is often considered as an 'asset' as compared to the girl child who is termed as liability since she is married off to another family.
India is 4th most dangerous country in the world for women
India might be scripting a remarkable growth story but the 2011 Census data shows that it has left the girl child behind. Modernisation has only changed the way of living here but not the thinking of the people. As per the Census 2011, the number of girls per 1,000 boys in the 0-6 age band has dipped to its lowest levels since Independence to 914. The figure has dropped to 866 in Delhi and 899 in Uttar Pradesh. Haryana and Punjab remain at the bottom of the heap with child sex ratios of 830 and 846 respectively.
Besides, female foeticide, withholding of postnatal health care for girls in certain households is alarming issue. As per survey conducted during BIAAG (Because I am a Girl) campaign in Odisha, one in every three girls die in their first year of life, two of eight girls are malnourished and have stunted growth while seven out of 10 girls drop out of school before they complete school education in the State.
Besides, the women are threatened by multiple forms of violence including trafficking, rapes, harassment acid attacks, beatings and rape. According to National Crime Records Bureau, registered rape cases in India have increased by almost 900 percent over the last 40 years. A rape occurs every 22 minutes, according to Indian Government figures. According to a survey by Thomson Reuters in 2011, India is the fourth most dangerous country in the world for women.
The new dispensation at the Centre has already pledged to curb violence against women. Prime Minister Modi has always highlighted this point in his speech that women should be at par with men. But it wouldn't be an easy task for the Modi Government to accomplish the plan into reality.