The condition of women is an excellent indicator of the status of a nation. By this yardstick India is one of the most backward countries. Her 550 million women (less than the number of men due to female infanticide and selective abortion) are still leading a life of utter poverty, illiteracy and neglect in a patriarchal society. One of the causes for persistence of hunger and abject poverty in India is due to the subjugation, marginalization and disempowerment of women. The oppression of women is so much here that Indian women do not even think about equality.
The Indian woman is jobless, hungry and malnourished, poor illiterate and oppressed, anemic and unhealthy, has five or six children, lives in a poor home with an alcoholic and abusive husband. . They suffer from hunger and poverty much more than men and she has the primary responsibility to feed, educate and guide the children. Women are more hungry and malnourished than men as they have to eat at last (even when they are lactating) after ensuring the male members had enough. Females get less food and health care..
Girls get less education (the preference is always for boys), even if sent to school they are pulled back to help the household. Women end up working more hours than men (often more arduous work) and their work goes unrecognized and unpaid. Women who are employed outside have to do the entire household work all by themselves and the males only find fault with what they do..
A guy who marries a girl has to be offered a huge dowry and other valuables as per the pre-agreement of the conditions of the ‘sale’ of the woman. She is a like commodity sold by her family to his family, the only difference being the sold item has to be offered with a huge amount. A girl is expected to be a virgin before marriage but the boy’s past does not matter at all. After marriage she is generally ill-treated, assaulted and murdered (for bringing less dowry) in the households by the husbands and in-laws. Female infanticides and selective abortions is common too. The constitution of India guarantees equality but under the prevailing patriarchal society and its norms, women are powerless to decide their life or the number of children they want, whom they will marry or what they will do.
Women are traditionally responsible for the welfare of their families but excessive poverty (more than one in two of all women is under extreme poverty) make them helpless. Without family planning measures she delivers a number of children many of whom die an early death and she herself may die at childbirth.
Women are more mal-nourished, ill-treated, assaulted, abused and subjugated. They are less educated, have lesser skill and are confined within the four walls of the house unable to have a meaningful life, or contribute to the development of the society and family as a whole. There may be exceptions to this in the urban areas but as a whole it holds good. The plight of women and their backwardness could be the single most reason for the underdevelopment of India.