Being a woman in India
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Being a woman in India

The whole world celebrated Women’s day on March 8. India celebrated too, but does India have a reason to celebrate?

Two separate charts released by Economist show the state of things related to Women in India and around the world. First chart is : Hitting Woman

20120317_WOC995  54% of the general population (Woman) in India think that a husband is justified to hit his wife under certain circumstances. 38% of the richest wealth quintile in India thinks so too.

The next chart is economic opportunity for Women.

20120317_WOC994  Of the 138 countries, India ranks at 98 for providing opportunities to women. On a scale of 100, India is at 42. Not quite Sweden, Norway or Finland but not quite Iran, Chad or Sudan either.

Being a woman in India is tough, right from domestic violence to the lack of economic opportunities.

Things are changing though. A radical new bill could put women across India in the driver’s seat. The new bill could potentially make woman head of the family, pushing men to the passenger seat or as India Ink puts it, making men useless.

Reason to celebrate: Leading ladies


India’s draft Food Security Bill is trying to make women the head of the family. As per the bill, a woman will be the head of the family  for issuing ration cards. A man will not be accepted as the head. A man can be accepted as the head of the family if there is no women in the house above 18 years.

330 million families rely on ration cards which is a key document to receive subsidized food items for low-income groups.  That’s a radical shift and has some serious repercussions, not ramifications.

In an appropriately titled post Are men useless?,  NY Times’ India Ink says that  only 10.35 % of the total households are headed by woman now. Inverting the pyramid will have its own benefits.

“Women contribute as much as 90 percent of their income towards their home while men tend to spend their income on non-essential items such as alcohol,” Bina Agarwal, director of the Institute of Economic Growth, said.

The biggest opposition to the bill could be the acceptance of woman being the head of the family? This is both populist and non-populist at the same time. For a parliament which is male-dominated, accepting the bill means swallowing the ego. Rejecting the bill means losing popular vote in the next elections, not just the ruling party but every party involved.

As for celebrities, yes India should celebrate.  You can see women leading in every sphere of life. The corporate world and politics are the two biggest examples. In the corporate world it is names like Chanda Kochar(ICICI Bank), Kiran Mazumdar Shaw(Biocon), Shikha Sharma(Axis Bank),  Naina Lal Kidwai (HSBC), Swati Piramal (Piramal Healthcare), Mallika Srinivasan (Tractors and Farm equipment) and Ekta Kapoor (Balaji Telefilms) which you often hear.  More than the corporate world it’s the Indian politics which is being dominated by Women. Sonia Gandhi at the centre, Sheila Dikshit in New Delhi, Mamatha Banarjee in West Bengal, Jayalalitha in the state of Tamil Nadu, and until most recently Mayawathi in Uttar Pradesh. The food security bill if passed would make sure that women who are not in politics or corporate world are leading too.

Women on top is no longer a trend. It’s mainstream now. If you aren’t sure, just check any kindergarten,  pre-primary or the primary classes in the private schools and observe who is coming at the top.

Featured Image credit : Flickr User aswhelan. Main image credit : Flickr user jajankie

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