Most of the people are not aware of this fact, but India is often known and respected by its dwellers as a female or more appropriately, a mother figure; even Mr. Gandhi called it ‘Bharat Mata’ which can be translated as “Mother India”. Certainly it makes people think of the 1957 blockbuster with the same name; in which Nergis starred as Radha and appeared as a woman who earned respect of her village’s community and who is known as their mother. However, it is a painful truth that same India is known to be the country with second highest female infanticide rate and where portable ultrasound machines are being banned for the fear of increase in female infanticide. Yet women of India are facing the broad daylight with courage, confidence and abilities to help their counterparts, the dominant males, create a new India.
Literacy: It is a promising fact that the female literacy rate in India, is steadily growing and now that is approximately 54.16%, which is not really bad compared with 75.85% literacy rate in Indian males. It is another promising fact that as per Unicef, female youth (15-24) literacy rate is 74.4%, which is very close to male youth literacy rate 88.4%.
Employment and work: Indian women are lending helping hand to Indian males in the growth, production and development of their country. An estimated 68.5% of Indian women work on farms as India is a big agricultural country. Then 10.8% of women are employed in the tobacco industry. While a smaller 5.1% of Indian women are working in the construction industry, 3.8% in education, 2.1% in grocery stores while 1.5% women provide personal services. Although Indian film-industry and the media tries to bring out the country’s positive image and women are shown working in a bureaucracy or running corporate companies, but as a matter of fact, only 1% of Indian women manage to secure any position in the country’s extremely empowered bureaucracy. These statistics give us an idea where Indian women prefer to work. Yet urban women are paid 80% of what men are paid and rural women are paid 60% of what rural men are paid.
Housewives: Indian housewives are certainly the reason why this country’s economy is booming and image is stable. They are the real working force behind India’s economic miracles and political ventures. However, it is extremely unfortunate that Indian housewives are still oppressed and tortured every day. Less than 50% of them are involved in decisions related to their own healthcare. As per some facts and figures, India has the highest rate of violence during pregnancy as 50% are beaten during pregnancy while 45% of Indian women are slapped, kicked or beaten by their husbands. As per same statistics from 2001 to 2004, a woman is molested in the country every 26 minutes, a rape occurs every 34, every 42 minutes an incident of sexual harassment occurs, every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped, every 93 minutes a woman is killed and every 102 minutes a dowry death happens.
Although these statistics are shattering, but women in India are playing the most important role in the awakening of Indian society; Indian middle class society is the true strength of India and Indian women are its true spirit. This article was started with mentioning of a movie on an Indian mother and I am finishing it, unintentionally, upon mentioning of another movie, “No one killed Jessica” which was made on life of Jessica who was murdered by a politician’s son; Indian society gave proof of its awareness and protested strongly against that murder, until the culprit was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering an innocent girl.