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International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality

UNIT 3 STATUS OF WOMEN IN SOCIETY: CONTEMPORARY ANALYSIS
Contents 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Aims and Purpose Introduction Status of Women: Global Scenario Demographic and Health Aspects
3.3.1 3.3.2 3.3.3 3.3.4 Sex Ratio and Life Expectancy at Birth Fertility and Mortality Rates Age at Marriage and Child Bearing of Adolescents Health and Nutrition Status

3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8

Women and Poverty Education and Training Economic Participation
3.6.1 Characteristics of Women’s Labour Force Participation

Political Participation of women Women in Contemporary Indian Society
3.8.1 Demographic and Health Indicators 3.8.1.1 3.8.1.2 3.8.1.3 3.8.1.4 3.8.2 3.8.3 3.8.4 Sex Ratio and fertility Life Expectancy and Mortality Ratio Age at Marriage and Fertility Rate Health and Nutrition

Educational Status of Women Participation of Women in Economy Women and Political Participation

3.9 Concluding Remarks 3.10 Clarification of the Terms Used 3.11 Some Useful Readings

3.0 AIMS AND PURPOSE
In the previous unit we learnt about the position of women in the society from a historical perspective. The change occured in the position of women along with the economic and other development of the society have been discussed there. As we have seen, while the primitive societies were more or less egalitarian, stereotyped gender roles evolved along with the march of human progress for a better living. The focus of the present unit will be the examination of status of women in contemporary society. This unit will enable you to understand:

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An overview of the status of women in contemporary global as well as Indian society; The manifestations of gender disparity in contemporary society; and The reflections of stereotypical gender roles in different spheres of social life.

3.1 INTRODUCTION
As we have seen in the previous unit, in the modern period the distinction based on feminine and masculine gender is very prominant. There are distinctions in terms of access to education, work opportunities, health,

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personal security, leisure etc. The patriarchal system that prevails in almost all world societies gives women a subordinate position in all walks of life. However, due to various factors that worked in consonance, for more than last one century there had been a marked increase in the status of women compared to earlier periods. Compared to pre-industrial society are more visible row. There was an increased awareness among certain groups of women and men alike about the oppressed and subordinated position of women in the society just because of the fact that they are born as women. The initiatives of those groups and the internationalization of women’s struggles for gender justice in the twentieth century promoted the cause of gender equality by the national and international agencies the world around. Towards the end of the century the UN declaration of International Decade for Women and various other international and national conferences, meetings, initiatives etc. for women’s cause certainly did help in improving the status of women - if not all, at least certain sections - in the society, in terms of diverse socio-cultural and economic parameters (Desai 2001). Access to civil and political rights, participation in political process and in decision making bodies, access to and more participation of education and training, more and more entry of women into labour force etc. are a few to name. But all these achievements are far less than what is desirable. We will get more evidence for this when we analyse the status of women in the contemporary society. The contents of the unit can largely be divided into two parts. The former part of the unit is devoted to discuss the status of women at the global level. The latter part of the unit will focus on the Indian situation. In this unit the status of women has been analysed in terms of the standard status indicators.

Global Debates and their Impacts

3.2 STATUS OF WOMEN: GLOBAL SCENARIO
Along with human progress and development from most primitive condition of hunting gathering societies to industrial to post industrial, which witnessed revolutionary developments in technologies, women of the world found themselves in a more discriminated and marginalisaed position. This phenomenon of discrimination and marginalisation against women exist in all societies cutting across the geographical borders and levels of development, though it varies in degree and areas of operation. Women around the world irrespective of the state of economic development of the countries had little say in the domestic or in the matters relating to the society, spent unending hours in the hard domestic work, which hardly found any recognition, and were generally subservient to men. The awareness of gender based discrimination and the injustice meted out to women by women themselves and by the society at large and consequent movements for the advancement of women resulted in the achievement of several civil, political and legal rights for women’s equality. These struggles for the emancipation of women were not confined to one part of the world; it was universal among all countries cutting across national borders, each taking inspiration from others and benefiting from their experiences. Do You Know? 1 Some Disturbing Facts About the Status of Women Around the World

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Each year, 1/2 million women die from pregnancy complications and 100,000 from unsafe abortions. A pregnant woman in Africa is 180 times more likely to die than in Western Europe. In the US, a woman is beaten every 18 minutes and raped every 6 minutes. More women are injured in domestic violence incidents than in car accidents, rapes, and muggings put together.

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4. according to the US Centers for Disease Control. 12. one in three girls is sexually abused by the age of 18 and one in four by age 14. 5.377 6. in Washington state in U. Source: http://www. women still earn only 67 cents for ever dollar a man makes.023 8. It is estimated that in the US. Human Development and Gender Development for Selected Countries Country 1. Table 3. there are more adolescent girls than boys who are diagnosed with HIV. In U.fwhc. society.org/stats. decision-making in family. The UN efforts made national governments to accept the pursuit of gender equality in various spheres of life as one of the goals of development process (You will learn more on this in unit 9). In several countries. On average.htm • The international organization of United Nations played a significant role in spearheading the concerted global action for promoting the realization of the principle of equal rights for men and women for more than last half century or so.971 6. 10.976 5. 14. As of 1996.103 23. 7.S.625 3. 13. 20 million of them are legal.223 23. 3. public and private governance etc. testing for genetic defects is used to determine the sex of an unborn child for the purpose of aborting females only. Women represent 2/3 of the more than one billion illiterate adults who have no access to basic education.1: Per Capita Income. 9.755 24.509 25.4 years less education than boys. USA Japan France United Kingdom Germany Italy Mexico Russian Federation Thailand Brazil Philippines Turkey China Iran DGP per Capita PPP (US$) in 2000 34. 11. employment.626 9. girls receive 4. 8. The UN Charter formulated in 1945 adopts the principle of equal rights for men and women for the first time in the history. could be brought into sharp focus due to such efforts at the global level. 30 million of them are illegal. From 1/5 to 1/2 of women worldwide experience domestic violence during marriage.142 26. There had been several attempts by the International community led by UN and its organizations to improve the status of women in the society. 2. by age 18. 90% of AIDS cases under age 20 are girls. The deplorable situation of women in several countries in terms of their status. their access to rights in various areas like education.974 3.402 7. The majority live in rural areas.884 HDI Rank 2000 6 9 12 13 17 20 54 60 70 73 77 85 96 98 GDI Rank GEM Rank 2000 2000 6 11 12 10 16 20 49 52 60 64 63 71 77 83 11 12 — 16 8 31 38 53 50 — 35 63 — — 48 . 51% at the hands of their husbands. 6.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality • • • • • • • Reports from France indicate that 95% of its victims of violence are women.S. There are 50 million abortions worldwide annually. health.

043 3. 20. Despite these positive gains the state of women’s position in several countries around the world is nowhere near satisfactory level. There had been initiatives to improve women’s access to health care from different dimensions. 18.of) Ethiopia 1. especially the domestic violence. All these strategies did help in improving the status of women world around to a considerable extend.358 1. Many countries increased the use of targets and indicators and of special strategies including quotas to increase the participation of women in decision-making until parity is achieved at the national.15. 16.928 1. in the following section. • Inequalities exist in sharing of power and decision-making at all levels. Rep. (Agrawal 2004).635 2.996 3. 49 . 23 Vietnam Indonesia Egypt India Pakistan Bangladesh Nigeria Congo (Dem. Legislative measures have been taken to protect the interests of women. Even at the turn of the century there exist factors that work against the advancement of women in societies to a large extend. stereotyping of women. Against this backdrop.602 896 765 668 109 110 115 124 138 145 148 155 168 89 91 99 105 120 121 124 131 142 — — 65 — — 66 — — — Global Debates and their Impacts Source: UNDP Human Development Report 2002 Notes: FDP per Capita PPP is GDP per Capita adjusted for purchasing power HDI is Human Development Index Calculated for 173 Countries GDI is Gender Development Index Calculated for 146 Countries GEM is Gender Empowerment Measure Calculated for 66 Countries * India ranked 95 according to Human Development Report. The status of women is generally assessed and compared in terms standard status indicators such as a) demographic and health indicators. • Gender based inequalities exist in the economic policies and in all forms of productive activities and in the access to resources. 21. was adopted by nations as a priority area of national crime prevention strategies. Many a global states enacted legislation to comply with the human rights and international labour conventions that promote women’s economic rights. which showed sufficient political commitment and resource allocation. The gender-based inequalities exist in access to education and health care. Affirmative steps taken by the governments could promote progress in education of girls and training at all levels. local and community levels (King 2000). 1998. The eradication of violence against women. Provisions for guaranteeing the enjoyment of human rights without discrimination on the basis of sex has been included in many national constitutions. especially in countries. b) educational and training levels c) economic participation d) participation in political decision making. equal access to economic resources and equality in employment. violence against women in the family and society. let us examine the status of women first at global level and then with special reference to India. • Persistent discrimination against and isolation of rights of girl child etc. Let us point out some of teh indicators of womens' low position in society: • • There is persistent and increased poverty among women. 22. 17. 19. The special session of the UN in the year 2000 (Beijing + 5) makes an evaluation of the achievements made by the member states towards the goal of status enhancement of women.

6 108.2 73. United States of America and Japan it was 1030-1050 females per 1000 males (Coale 1991).8 Thailand 64. which remain as it is? 3.6 Turkey 68.7 81.7 United Kingdom 59. education. 13.8 108.2: Gender Parity — Demographic and Health Indicators for Selected Countries Expectation of Birth (Years) (2000-05) Country Estimated population (million) in 2000 Sex-Ratio (No.0 82.5 107. It is widely known that the probability of survival in South Asia is higher among male children than female children.49 1. 6.5 Japan 127. 9. life expectancy etc. for example in China and India. In the year 1995 the global sex ratio was 986 women per 1000 men.022 1.3 DEMOGRAPHIC AND HEALTH ASPECTS Even though there are tremendous variations among women based on spatial location.15 3.2 105.3 1. There are numerous studies that show a systematic deprivation of women vis-à-vis men in many societies (Dreze and Sen 1989) and this may reflect in the low sex ratio. They all might have faced at some point or other gender-based social discrimination in all realms of their lives. 4.of females per 1000 males) in 2002 % of females to males life expectancy Total Fertility Rate 2000-05 Female 1.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality Learn From Your Experience 1 If you analyse the status take any two aspects for analysis of women of your generation and a generation before.1 Sex Ratio and Life Expectancy at Birth Sex ratio is the number of females per thousand males.5 120.24 2.5 Mexico 101.2 109.294.4 72.20 2.027 986 981 946 80. 3.8 109. 10.5 73.4 85. 50 USA 288.61 1.8 Russian Federation 143.00 2.1 81.5 108.14 2. In most of the South Asian countries sex ratio is less than 950.029 1. Whereas most of the developing regions around the world show a low sex ratio.80 . 8. nutrition.3 Brazil 174.29 1.6 China 1. 12.0 73.0 106.30 1. favouring the females.7 Germany 82. linguistic and cultural identities.93 1. education. profession etc.80 1. This suggests that the households treat male children differently from female children with regard to allocation of resources.139 1. there are some important commonalities that a women share. Table 3. 2.0 Italy 57.4 1. class. All the developed countries and have a sex ratio of over 1000.039 1.5 France 59.0 76.0 80.7 112. 11. 3.022 1. which are the avenues you find a transformation and what are the aspects.1 108. in comparative terms women are still behind men in all objective and material measures of well being such as economic self sufficiency. In Europe. Notwithstanding the social change and the status improvement of women witnessed in the last few decades.6 122.33 1.045 1.028 1.062 1. caste.8 72.053 1.6 72.9 107.7 Philippines 78. religious and ethnic backgrounds. 7. Some countries have shown even less than 950 women per 1000 men. 5.3.

These methods are all believed to be quick and painless. Sometimes the infants are fed milk laced with sap from poisonous plants or pesticides. Other technologies available for sex determination are amniocentesis and chorionic biopsy.9 60. Volume I: Comprehensive Tables. Other methods include feeding them salt to increase blood pressure.14. If there is no deliberate intervention in sex selection at birth there shall not be any deviation from the standard biological sex ratio. The main factors that determine the ratio of women to men in a population are the sex ratio at birth and the different patterns in mortality and migration of men and women. World Population Prospects.0 99. The deviation shows selective interference.2 53.007 994 976 940 948 941 983 1.5 104. 17. but invite scrutiny by authorities.3 69.9 102. Population Division.5 100.3 2. which can through chromosomal analysis. low maternal mortality. 23 Iran 72. it appears the infant simply contracted an illness and the homicide won’t be as apparent. equal treatment of boys and girls as they grow up. the mortality rate among women decline after a particular age because of their stronger biological constitution.3 India 1. The government cracking down on infanticide has given rise to methods that are not so quick and painless. 22.” There are a number of methods for killing the infants.4 Vietnam 80.76 2. With the increased usage of ultrasound devices sex of the infant is known well in advance and female foetuses are simply aborted.6 69. proper access to safe drinking water and sanitation and gender-neutral health care.08 3.42 6.7 Bangladesh 143.3 100.3 Ethiopia 66.of) 54. Do you Know? 2 Female Infanticide and Foeticide “Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females.25 2.9 107. Sex-specific abortion or foeticide is another popular method of preventing female additions to the family. the tendency will be for women to outnumber men.or simply snapping their necks.9 60.70 6. under conditions of low fertility.N.88 2. With these methods. being stuffed in clay pots.2 Indonesia 217. such as starvation or wrapping them in wet towels so they contract pneumonia. 15. Thus a gender egalitarian society will exhibit a female favoured sex ratio.56 5.8 71.9 64.1 Pakistan 148. 19. Although boys outnumber the girls at birth the world over. obviously. The low sex ratio in some of the countries is an indication that the modernization and decreasing fertility have led to greater discriminations in some countries against the girl child through interference in selection before (and after) birth ((Rao and Rao 1999).0 Congo (Dem.97 5.0 956 1. help detect the sex of the foetus. 18.which snaps the spinal cord . 21.75 Global Debates and their Impacts Source: Based on data from U.5 43.041. 51 . The 2002 Revision.8 52. Others are given paddy (rice with the husks still attached) to swallow which slit their throats.8 102.27 2. holding the baby by the waist and shaking it .6 102. The sex ratio at birth is biologically stable. 16.1 104.016 1.4 Nigeria 120.010 70. 20.0 106. Rep. Such imbalances is the reported sex ratio at birth might be explained by female infanticides and underreporting of female births and increased availability of technologies that facilitate sex-selective abortion. Let us see the reasons for low sex ratio in society.5 Egypt 70.

spacing. Among others a reason for low fertility rate is narrowing of gender inequality in the society. China) to 32. It is important to assess the mortality rate (both infant and maternal) since a high female mortality rate show low level of gender parity in the society. In some of these countries fertility rate is in excess of five. a lower difference between the life expectancies of females and males in the society shows unequal treatment that women receive in these societies. and infant mortality. 3. labor force participation. When the tendency all over the world is longer life expectancy for women than men. The Southern Asia and the Sub Saharan countries register a high infant mortality rate (85 – 95 per 1000 live births). economic status. In most part of the world infant mortality rate declined in the past few decades due to increasing control of the major childhood and communicable diseases and the widespread improvement in maternal health services. culture. 52 . and timing of births. In Africa and in most developing regions the difference is small and in Southern Asia the life expectancies are almost equal. Think It Over 2 Examine how fertility and mortality rates are related to the status of women in the society. the tendency around the world is that women live longer than men. The number of children that a couple will have is determined by many factors. In such societies one can evidently conclude existence of high gender inequality. In a more equitable society women are more active outside the home and exert more control over their fertility and can choose the size of their families. including health. age at marriage. Nigeria etc. In countries like Pakistan. Think It Over 1 In your opinion what are the reason for the low female sex ratio in India? Give some suggestions for improving sex ration in favour of women.3.2 Fertility and Mortality Rates Total fertility rate is the average number of children that a woman has over her lifetime. Biological. cultural. There is also substantial difference in the expectation of life at birth for females across the countries from 82.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality When we come to the life expectancy at birth. have a strong correlation with levels of fertility because these factors help determine the number. Sex-wise infant mortality rate favours girls in developed countries. the difference in the life expectancy of men and women varies from countries to countries. But there is limited scientific understanding or consensus on why women’s and men’s life expectancies differ and how much difference is natural due to “innate characters”. fertility rate is high. all the countries in the world have a higher life expectancy for females than males (HDR 2004). Hong Kong. women’s choices (or lack thereof) regarding childbirth. Except for Pakistan. religion.7 (France.5 (Zambia). Zambia and Zimbabwe. There is some consensus that female mortality from birth through the first years is lower than male mortality in societies where boys and girls are treated equally (Source). use of family planning methods. education. For example. and socioeconomic conditions influence her exposure to sexual interaction and her ability to conceive a child. Howeveer. breastfeeding etc. and the ability to have the number they wish to have. for reasons not well understood. Bangladesh. Many of these factors relate to the status of women in society and of individual women in different societies. The difference is higher in most of the developed and some developing countries. as well as the number of children she may wish to have (Visaria 1999). In the developed countries infant mortality rates are very low.

Do You Know? 3 Women and Health > Women are becoming increasingly affected by HIV. who marry around age 24. Southern Asia the 53 . and the number of infected women is expected to reach 15 million by the year 2000. and accesses to health services etc. but the vast majority of childbearing takes place within marriage in most part of the world.un.600 every day.3 Age at Marriage and Child Bearing of Adolescents Generally. The average age at first marriage varies widely among the countries and within the same country is very different for women and men. An estimated 20 million unsafe abortions are performed worldwide every year. South America. 1 in 13 women will die from pregnancy or childbirth related causes.000 women die every year. developed countries have a better stand with just 10 to 20 per 1. Thus high rates of female infant as well as maternal mortality point to the gravity of the gender gap that persist in the society. unmarried women may also have children. the fertility rate of women is high. which makes the age at marriage a valuable indicator of a woman’s lifetime fertility. The differences may stem from socio-economic and cultural factors that may determine nutrition. educational attainment. In sub-Saharan Africa. Source: www.300 women in the United States. The causes for death for men and women may be different. Conversely. In South Eastern Asia the rate is nearly double of that (37) and even higher in Eastern Europe (47). China.whereas the difference is very low in developing countries. the age at which a woman marries first is directly related to the number of children she will bear because it determines the length of time she will be at risk of becoming pregnant. Of course.000 live births. over 1. from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. which is very high. Vietnam. Global Debates and their Impacts > > > Globally. In countries where the average age at marriage is low. In the case of maternal mortality too. In most of the developed regions and in Eastern Asia the average fertility rate in the age group of 15-19 is about 20 per 1000. their health.3. These differences may lead to the gap in the preventive and the curative services provided for both the sexes. lifestyles. Today about 42 per cent of estimated cases are women. women in Yemen. employment opportunities and decision making in the family and in the community. Some of the developing countries such as Mexico.5 children (Rao and Rao 1998). have rates less than 100. resulting in the deaths of 70. average is 6. who marry earlier.00. Also women and men differ in the ways they are exposed to disease and how they are treated for that. The rates are relatively high in some of the South Asian region. Approximately 585.3. For example the total fertility rate of German women. 43 per cent of all women and 51 per cent of pregnant women suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. But in countries like India the mortality rate for the female children in the age group of 1-6 is 45 per 1000 live births. The corresponding rate for male children is 29. But some of the African countries have high rates of maternal mortality rates of more than 1000 per 1. compared to 1 in 3. Child bearing in adolescence is closely related to women’s status because it hurts the chances of young women to improve their lives. In Northern Africa.org 3. is 1.000 women.000 live births. etc.00.

Based on that write a report on “health and social problems of adolescent mothers”. It has been concluded in many international forums as well that there is a direct link between women’s empowerment and poverty eradication. aboriginal women. training. Iron deficiency or anemia is more common among women than in men. employment and other productive resources. The additional biological demands due to menstruation. 3. Also talk to women who became mothers at an early age and ask how it affected her personal development. It has serious repercussions on their reproductive health. This includes female lone parents. The rates are lowest in the developed regions. pregnancy and lactation have made nutritional deficiencies the most widespread and disabling health problem among women. It is evident that the health problems that begin in the childhood and adolescence affect the health status of women during their reproductive years and beyond as well as the health of the new born. to credit. finance. The main dimensions of poverty are short life. One of the reasons for this is that girls and women often get the leftovers because of the patriarchal system. elderly women living alone. Various reasons have been given for the increased incidence of poverty among women or feminisation of poverty. In 1990-94. which in turn contribute to increased poverty among them.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality rate is in the range of 60-70. child mortality rates and maternal mortality rates in many societies (Gopalan. where the lowest value observed is well below 10 births per 1000 girls. the proportion of new borns weighing less than 2. Anemia lowers the physical work capacity of women and their ability to cope with various infections. disabled women etc. Women in the developing countries are generally more malnourished than men. compared to men. immigrant and minority women. illiteracy and exclusion and lack of material life etc. Another serious problem afflicting women is the lack of adequate nutrition. Discrimination against the girl child as seen in most societies retards her growth and development. poverty and their poor social status. The discrimination against female gender often lead to their lesser accessibility. Health is an important indicator in the achievement of social status of women whose health is conditioned to a great extend by social attitudes. economic and religious contexts of women’s lives also. education. adolescent girls and girl babies is responsible for the high rates of infant mortality rates.4 Health and Nutrition Status Health conditions in one phase of a woman’s life affect other phases of her life as well as the health and well being of the future generations (World Health Assembly 1992). S. The low birth weight in new borns is partly a reflection of poor maternal nutrition. The neglect of the health needs of women especially that of the pregnant women. The health of women is not only a manifestation of her biological but a reflection of socio-political. Learn From Your Experience 2 Talk to a doctor or subject expert and try to know more on the health hazards for teenage mothers. which is reflected in the social custom any practices. 3. About 55% of the pregnant women and 44% of all women suffer from anemia in developing countries.3. It was found some groups are more vulnerable to poverty than others. Studies show that there is a difference between men and women in terms of access to health services and the quality of the care that they receive. There is a strong relationship between gender inequality and poverty. 2001).5 kg ranged between 13 – 50% in countries of South Asia. According 54 .4 WOMEN AND POVERTY Out of the total poor in the world 70% are women and children (UNDP 2000).

increasing family break up. The unequal distribution of resources that favours male members in the family also contributes to the increased poverty among women. low productivity etc. have fewer children and are likely to have greater means to improve their economic livelihood. 55 . There are 20. Education is found to be a crucial ingredient in improving the status of women and is considered one of the most important means to empower women with knowledge. The total population of poor in the United States is 36.5 EDUCATION AND TRAINING Education is a crucial issue for the development of any society. It is also found to be related to various other factors that are associated with the advancement of a society.to another view the factors responsible for feminisation of poverty are population growth.000 males who are poor which is 12.529. higher school dropout rates of girls etc. Thus gender plays a role in the poverty profile and women are more likely to be poor than men.918. All these factors had a cumulative impact on women pushing more and more women into the status of poor compared to men (Socio Economy Research Centre 1997). Do You Know? 4 Feminization of Poverty in U. The feminists focusing on the gender implications and social costs of poverty argue that the facts such as growing involvement of women and children in the informal economy. There are 15.2% of the total poverty population.000 females that are poor which is 15.353.000 out of which 135. differential treatment of girls and boys in the households. legal codes and political system throughout the world render women more vulnerable than men to poverty (Meer 1990). all connected to improvement of status of women (Rao and Rao 1999).0% of the total population of males and 42. Educated women are likely to marry later. Global Debates and their Impacts 3. liberalization and structural adjustments of national economies push more women into informal sector employment with less pay and low social protection.S. It is recognized that “developmental goals and progress of literacy are interdependent and a modern society based on science and technology requires a corresponding increase in the educational base of the country” (SAARC Guide Book on WID 1986). The number of female headed households are on a rise around the world for the past few decades both in the developed and developing countries and the incidence of poverty is more in female headed families with dependent children.865. pressure to get girls married off quickly. They believe that the pervasive gender inequalities and biases within the households. The total population of the United States is 266. There are more women in the total population of the United States than men and there are more poor women than poor men in the United States. The adverse effects of these factors on women are in turn accelerated by the intra-household inequalities. the emigration of men.611.7% of the total population. Other than the unequal accessibility of jobs and other economic resources. skills and self-confidence.000 are males. socio-cultural and economic factors.218.4% of the total female population and 57. so that they can be equal partners and beneficiaries in the development process. (Source: Ohio State University) From the above discussion it can be concluded that women’s poverty is closely related to certain demographic.000 are females and 130. labour markets.7% of the total poverty population.000 which is 13. lead to higher poverty among women.

5. But in higher education girls seem to cluster more into those educational streams. 3.3 Gender Parity . 17. 10. a preference for investing limited resources in son’s education with a view to parental support in the old age where girls move out of the family to be a part of the husband’s family. 2002.Educational Indicators for Selected Countires Net Primary Enrolment (percentage. But still two third of world’s illiterates are women and also two thirds of the school dropouts of the world are girls. 4. 6. all are factors which work against the prospects for the girls to get educational opportunities. 18 USA Japan France United Kingdom Germany Italy Mexico Russian Federation Thailand Brazil Turkey China Vietnam Egypt India Bangladesh Congo (Dem. 2. Likewise the female enrolment in secondary and higher education is better in countries where gender parity is more prominent in the case of primary education. 15. 2000) Country Male 1 1. Rep. 16. which are stereotypical. Oceania and Latin America and the Caribbean. traditional stereotypes of women’s roles and customary patrilineal inheritance systems etc. 12. UNDP Studies confirm that family preferences and the need for subsistence agriculture labour are factors limiting girl’s education in many parts of the world.of) Ethiopia 2 100 100 100 101 102 100 101 90 97 95 92 102 95 94 — 96 95 73 Net Secondary Enrolment (percentage. 13. High rates of illiteracy among women still prevail in much of the Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and a few countries in Western Asia. and general control of women’s wages by the husband. 14. 56 . 11. 7. Fear of too much freedom. 9. Rural parents give various reasons keeping daughters out of school. Female enrolment rate of girls is only one-third rate for the males in Democratic Republic of Congo and two-fifths of it in Ethiopia. 2000) Female % of Female Rate to Male Rate 7 104 — 93 92 87 87 96 — 54 — — 52 48 — 46 — 16 19 %of Female Male Female Rate to Male Rate 3 95 100 100 100 88 100 100 69 76 96 96 92 95 89 — 100 31 30 4 95 100 100 99 86 100 99 77 78 101 104 90 100 95 — 96 33 41 5 73 — 102 103 101 102 100 — 105 — — 92 104 — 68 — 58 63 6 76 — 95 95 88 89 96 — 57 — — 48 50 — 31 — 9 12 Source: Human Development Report.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality There are near gender parity in net primary school enrolment in most countries around the world and a widespread universal primary education and increase in the rate of women above 15 years with basic literacy rates over the past few decades. 8. Table 3. better job prospects and wages for men.

4 59. USA Japan France United Kingdom Germany Italy Mexico Russian Federation Thailand Brazil Philippines Turkey China Iran Vietnam Indonesia 2 58.38 0. 2.8 55.3 73. 10. 75% in Germany.9 38. 15. Thailand.5 49.3.2 3 106 103 106 105 100 106 116 99 98 98 106 114 99 134 97 110 4 81 67 76 74 69 58 47 82 85 52 61 61 86 37 91 67 5 41 19 — 35 25 45 51 58 34 — — — — — — — 6 59 82 — 65 75 55 49 41 66 — — — — — — — 7 100 100 — 100 100 100 100 100 100 — — — — — — — 8 0.3 43. East Asia had the highest female labour force participation rates.44 0. 11. 9.50 0.8 47. In the past few decades there had been an increase in the female labour force enabling them to use their potential in the labour market and to become economically independent.8 50. China and Vietnam have exceptionally high female participation rates. 8.7 29. 66% in Thailand. and 74% in Bangladesh). 16. Table 3. One main reason for this may be because the family responsibilities are still very much assigned to women irrespective of the development status of the society. In contrast. 4. In 2003 for the world as a whole there were only 63 women in the labour force per every 100 men. The gap is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (where there were 36 economically active women per 100 men) and in South Asia (where 44 women per 100 men were active). 57 .46 — — — — 3. they are more able to influence how household resources are allotted.8 48.64 0.44 — 0. 5.3 39.0 73.6. 3.5 52. 12.1 Characteristics of Women’s Labour Force Participation The conspicuous feature of female labour force participation is that they constitute the majority of the unpaid workers contributing to the household economic activities in the developed as well as the developing countries (82% in Japan.4 Gender Parity Economic Activity Indicators Economic Acivity Rate (2000) Country Female Index (19901000) % of Female Rate to Male Rate Global Debates and their Impacts Percentage of contributing workers (1991-2000) Male Female Total Ratio of Estimated female to Male Income 1 1.9 72. in excess of 70% (ILO 2004).61 0. 13. Never before have so many women been economically (in gainful employment) active. This was most likely the result of the traditional role placed on women in many economies in these regions. Still the gap between the male and female labour force participation is nowhere near to closing.8 49. 6.6 ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION Women’s access to paid work is crucial to achieving self-reliance and their well being and that of their dependent family members.59 0.62 — 0.62 0. 14. 7. As women’s contribution to the households monetary income increases.

Women are more likely to find employment in the informal economy than men. In economies with a high share of agriculture. animal husbandry. However.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality When they have to combine child-raising activities with work activities. Studies have showed that thus women’s work is not likely to be status enhancing or empowering for them. In all developing regions women’s share in industry is lower than men’s. women work more often in this sector than men. The Human Development Report 1995 shows that women work (which includes all kinds of work that women do. there is evidence that as the nature of employment in EPZs evolves. The dimensions of women participation in the industrial sector is dealt in more detail in Unit 5) Do You Know? 5 India’s Service Sector An economy can be broadly divided into three sectors namely: the primary. India was also no exception. secondary and tertiary sectors. The growth of service sector is directly related to the development of sophistication in the information technology. social security benefits and a high degree of vulnerability. EPZs have created an important avenue for women to enter the formal economy at better wages than in agriculture and domestic service. India is a primarily an agrarian economy whereas the major share of the economy in most of the developed countries is industry. Agriculture is the most important constituent of the primary sector including forestry. This is despite the fact that export-led industrialization has been strongly female intensive. less for those in self-employment and least for contributing family workers who are unpaid (but still count as employed people according to the standard official definition of employment). with little. with industrialsation women were sidelined in the labour front as well as in family and society. sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa and some economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Role incompatibility is likely to be a greater problem for women in wage employment. especially in situations where they work as unpaid family labourers. Since 1980s the share of services sector in the real 58 . the gender profile of the workforce changes. with higher technology inputs. In many developing economies where consistent data on employment status broken down by sex is available. it suggests that in the poorest regions of the world the share of female contributing family workers in total employment is much higher than men’s and that women are less likely to be wage and salaried workers. women are required to find a solution for balancing these two roles. But the last few decades witnessed a phenomenal growth of service sector around the globe. women’s share is 53% in developing countries and 51% in industrialized countries of West. trade. if any. paid. insurance. particularly in the exportprocessing zones (EPZs) of developing economies. unpaid and other household related work) longer hours than men nearly in every countries and of the total burden of work. especially in economies with low per capita income. outside legal and regulatory frameworks. The specialty of the agricultural and other sector labour where most of the women engaged are either falls into the unpaid family work or with very low pay. Learn From Your Experiences 3 Talk to five male and five female and male agricultural labourees ask them the hours they spend for (1) paid labour and (2) household labour and time (3) Make a comparison of the time spend by women and men for work and lesuire. and other services. we have already seen in unit 2 how. mining and fishing. Women have a smaller likelihood of being in regular wage and salaried employment than men in everywhere in the world. The secondary sector contains all types of industries and tertiary sectors represents the services sector includes banking. Women have a higher share in agricultural employment in Asia.

an estimated 330 million are women – a share of 60 per cent. and male nurse 21 per cent more.7 POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN The political status of women can be defined as the degree of equality and freedom enjoyed by women in shaping and sharing of power and in the value given by society to this role of women. the wage differentials based on sex exists. When we consider the status of women in terms of political participation. Today. having a woman leader does not necessarily result in an overall improvement in the status of other women on a nation-wide basis. Throughout the world women find obstacles to take part in political processes. social and personal services. In Singapore. In the high-skill occupations where the education and training level of the applicants would presumably be comparable. women have a higher share in the number of working poor in the world – those people who work but do not earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the poverty line. Nonetheless it is evident from the status of women in politics world around that women of any group is more able to be active in politics than can the men of the 59 . when we had world level women leaders such as Indira Gandhi. Turkey also had women heads of state. Margaret Thatcher. whereas men dominate the better-paid sector jobs in financial and business services and real estate. access. Although there is gradual increase in the political participation of women over the years it is far from the ideal of gender parity. Countries like Norway. Additionally. Within the services sector. gender wage equality is still lacking. Ireland.4% of world services trade compared to 0.9% of world merchandise trade. women are concentrated in sectors that are traditionally associated with their gender roles. Increasing participation in the political process and in the legislative activities is an indicator of empowerment of women. particularly in community. Even in “typically female” occupations such as nursing and teaching. where most of the opportunities are in the informal sector.GDP in India has also surpassed that of agriculture and industry. services constitute around 50% of India’s GDP. As a consequence. Out of the 550 million working poor in the world. for example. exceeds that of men. or influence equal to that of men (Nelson and Chowdhury 1997). it is very clear in no country do women have a political status. It will not be true if we say that women are or were never powerful or that they never enjoyed political equality with men. But as Barbara Ward (1963) noted there is always a gap between few and many. The estimated income of female workers is around 40-60% of the income of the male workers. Sirimao Bandaranayake etc. India’s service exports recorded the highest growth rate among all countries in the past five years. India accounts for 1. male first-level education teachers earned approximately 6 per cent more than female teachers. But these are exceptional. women’s share of employment in the services sector. It is true that all women may not experience their subordinate status in the same way or all groups of women may not be subordinate to all groups of men. women are more likely to earn less than men for the same type of work. Think It Over 3 Do you think that an increase in the rate of womens’ labour participation automatically improve the status of women in society? Why Global Debates and their Impacts 3. even in traditionally female occupations. Besides agriculture. Women frequently do exercise political power in particular arena and their political activism is distinctive or unopposed. Philippines.

Only 14% of the parliamentarians are women in USA. All these measures did help to some extend in the status improvement and empowerment of women in India compared to the past. However. 3. 22%. setting their own agendas and bringing their issues to the forefront of international debates and policy. economic. Indian government declared the year 2001 as the Year for the Empowerment of Women and in the very same year the National Policy for the Empowerment of women was adopted. senior officials and managers are in most cases less than or around one-third and is less than 10% or low in Pakistan. In the previous unit we have already seen the status of Indian women in the historical periods and how it deteriorated as the time passed. If we look at the participation of women in politics world around. India and in Japan as well (Agrawal and Rao 2002). employment and reproductive health status.8 WOMEN IN CONTEMPORARY INDIAN SOCIETY Within the Indian continent there have been infinite variations on the status of women. but when it comes to the economic front and power sharing in public and private spheres the gender gap is still very wide. medicine or engineering. Mexico and Philippines. they can enter and excel in every possible field including those considered as the bastion of males. administration or diplomacy. Thus we see that despite an overall improvement in women’s education. entrepreneurship or management or even in the unconventional fields of police and military. legal etc. compared to the past there is a huge and glaring divide in the quality of life of women in the developed and developing worlds. Bangladesh. socio-cultural. But what is achieved is much less than what needs to be achieved. fine arts or sports. In many developed countries as we have seen the gender gap seems to be narrowed down in terms of many standard status indicators. caste property rights and morals (Thaper 1975). be it in politics or social service. It is also evident that the subordinate status of women in politics is intertwined with her other status in the society such as family. it is equally correct to say that gender discrimination does exist everywhere. the highest female participation in Parliament is in Germany (31%). religious. Women got a subordinate position in all arenas of domestic and social life. diverging according to cultural milieu. we shall focus specifically on women in India.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality corresponding group. 60 . family structure. less than in countries like UK. Women are now articulating their needs and asserting their rights as never before. The Indian constitution made special provisions to enforce equality between men and women. the single point that unifies them is their identification of marginalized group. The issues of women had been taken care of in the development policies of India. there was a definite improvement of women’s status in the last one-century due to initiatives of women’s activists and other international and national institutional support to enhance their status in the society. The females among the legislators. They have demonstrated their potential in almost every field. class. Besides that there are legal provisions to maintain the gender parity and institutional support for the empowerment of women in the society. Yet despite this. Let us now focus on the economic. Indian women over the decades have proved that given the opportunity and access to strategic resources. There had been various initiatives by the government of India to improve the status of women in our society. But the fact is that only a small portion of total Indian female population could enjoy all this benefits of development. The vast majority of women remained deprived of it. followed by China. However. After this brief overview of the contemporary position of women around the world. health and political status of women in India. science and technology.

Gujarat show a decline in the sex ratio. Maharashtra. Gender biases are widely prevalent in the allocation of food and health care in India.8. Karnataka. Another study of children under five by the institute of Health Management. Both female-male and girl-boy sex ratio show considerable spatial and temporal variations. Factors such as the neglect of the girl child at an early stage leading to a higher rate of female infant mortality rate. decreased maternal mortality. But many of the prosperous states such as Punjab. a slight increase over the previous decade (927). which has declined sharply from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001.1 Demographic and Health Indicators An assessment of status of women in India can be done by examining the status indicators such as sex ratio. the absolute number of female population has increased in India over the years. Haryana. mortality rate etc. increase in the rate of female literacy. death during child birth. a) sex determination before birth and elimination of female births b) changes in the sex ratio at birth c) killing of girl children. these are. it cannot be denied that there is a definite achievement in certain gender related status indicators such as increased female life expectancy. d) neglect of girl children e) high maternal mortality. when we look at the status of women as a whole in the contemporary Indian society. As per 2001 census the sex ratio of females per thousand males is 933. Global Debates and their Impacts 3. The 61 . female sex ratio has steadily declined. increased female work force participation rate.Besides these individual and other achievement of women. It is also a matter of concern that in these states the improvement in female literacy could not arrest the tendency of declining sex ratio. the level of gender parity and standards of gender development indices are much less than the required level or the achievements attained by many a developed and developing countries around the world. pointed out five reasons for the declining sex ratio in India. Notwithstanding all these achievements. shows that the disparity in nutritional status is the highest in the age group in the 1-3 years. increased female participation in formal and informal political process etc. In a study conducted in Tamilnadu (Mishra 1996) it is shown that the male children were breast fed for five months longer than the female children in the landed families and for about ten months longer than in agricultural labour families. Andhra Pradesh) showed an improvement over last one decade. narrowing gap between male female infant and child mortality. 3.1. largely contributed to the declining female sex ratio in India. The improvement in the sex ratio in 1991-2001 decade is claimed to be due to the decrease in the maternal mortality rate. But there is a disturbing trend in the sex ratio of 0-6 age group. Do You Know? 6 Sex Specific Health Neglect in India Neglect of the girl child in providing the required nutrition is one of the main cause for the relatively higher mortality among the girls.8.1 Sex Ratio and Fertility Though. along with the population growth in general. Registrar General of India. 2001. all the reasons pointing to low status of women in the society. Let us see briefly some of the gender related status indicators to analyse the status of women in the contemporary Indian society. and foetus killing etc. Pochad. In 1901 there were 972 females to per 1000 males while this number has declined to 930 in 1971 and again to 928 in 1991. The highest sex ratio in both the categories is shown in the state of Kerala and most of the South Indian states (Tamil Nadu. female infanticide. fertility rate.

Even today almost one in every 5 girls get married before the age of 18 and over 50% of the girls get married between 18-20 years of age. Still large numbers of girls continue to get married before the age of 18 despite the legal stipulations. 2001).2 Life Expectancy and Mortality Ratio In India life expectancy has increased for both the sexes.8. Women have a better life expectancy at birth due to their superior biological strength with better chances of survival at older ages.000 live births is acceptably high compared to 10 to 20 in developed countries. child and maternal mortality rate are much higher in comparison to many other developing countries in the region.1. Early child bearing follows early marriages. India’s performance in infant. Morbidity affects females more than males in India. It has come down from over 5 in 1970 to about 3 in 2001. 2006). The causes for death among women are mostly due to pregnancy and childbirth related reasons. Both the life expectancy and the infant and child mortality vary across regions. the rate of ailing persons per 1000 population is higher than males. the life expectancy of females recorded all time high of 63. This may interfere the health of the women and also the quality of life. burns. The Infant Mortality Rates and Child Mortality Ratio declined over the decades and the gaps between the male and female infant mortality rates declined considerably. they are taken to the health centers less often. which is based on patriarchy that places women on a lower status (Gopalan. Jaundice and cancer. Apart from that causes for death are anemia. suicide. Several studies indicate that fewer resources are invested in the health care of girl children. The gender based age specific death rate shows that women’s death rate has always been higher than the males in all age groups except for the age group of 50 years and above. In 1994 the life expectancy for the male and female has become 61.7. 3. In both rural and urban areas female morbidity rates. This is basically due to the strong and deep-rooted social pressures.1 years respectively. even when they are taken they are taken late leading to their death etc.8. Life expectancy in India is still not as it ought to be. In 2001. S. 62 .1. Source: 3.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality same study also shows that the percentage of severely mal-nourished female children was consistently 2-3 times higher than that of boys. It is lower than in other advanced countries owing to the prevalent social milieu. Indeed the higher female infant (both prenatal and natal) mortality rate has been a prime cause for the declining female sex ratio in India (Raju. Although the total fertility rate is better than compared to many other South Asian and African countries it is slightly higher than the developed countries where it is around 1-2. But the maternal mortality rate of over 400 maternal deaths per 100. Early childbirth will have an impact on the life style of women. It may reduce their access to education. Fertility among the Indian women has declined over the years. Maternal mortality rate also declined over the last one decade.4 and 61. Preference for sons is closely related to the fertility rate of women in India.3 Age at Marriage and Fertility Rate The average age at marriage of females in India has steadily increased from 15 to around 20 over the last half a century and the minimum age for marriage for girls as per law is 18 years. However female child mortality rate continues to be much higher than the child mortality rate. training and employment and their productivity. S. In 1921 life expectancy for both the sexes was 26 years. The interstate variation is seen in the case of maternal mortality rate too. Mishra points out that the sex based discrimination is extended from nutrition to health care. tuberculosis.

000 births. attitude to marriage. In India. This problem should be viewed from the point of view that early marriage and a large number of pregnancies act as severe blockage for women’s educational and economic well being. the low nutritional status is mainly due to poverty and the burden of family responsibilities. The nutritional status of women in India especially that of rural women is far from desirable. The dietary intake of women in the low-income group is deficient by 500-600 calories.2 Educational Status of Women With the recognition of the need to direct the process of social change and development towards certain desired goals. In India. this figure is as high as 1. it is aggravated by general neglect and is the indirect result of stronger gender discrimination (Aruna Goel). However.200 in some rural areas. 50% of the girls were introduced to the reproduction process at teenage. women get a very low access to medical care. Because of malnutrition. caste and religion. and the ideal role demanded of women by social conventions affect the women’s health adversely. in the lower middle income groups. 7% of the girls in the age group of 10-14 and 43% in the age group of 15-19 years were married. It has also empowered the state to make specific provision for the educational well being of women and other weaker sections of the society. these pregnant girls have a higher risk of life. women have an average 8 to 9 pregnancies.000 to 1. its educational background. within the given socio-cultural matrix. around 10-15% of the annual births is from these adolescent mothers. Though the percentage of literacy has increased among women in India over the years 63 . illiteracy. While in the low socio-economic groups. in the age group of 1-5 years. who suffer form underweight and risk of mortality. Micro studies have pointed out that women do not get adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. Do You Know? 7 Early Marriage.3. pregnant and aged women.4 Health and Nutrition In India. over burden of work. of weight during pregnancy which is far less than the required weight. in spite of the various commendable provisions available in the constitution and various initiatives undertaken by the state (howsoever serious may it be) even after the 50 years of our independence a vast segment of the female population in India remains illiterate. Early marriage and multiple pregnancies result in lack of opportunity in attaining full bodily growth for women.8. sex. almost half of the girls were underweight. The maternal mortality is 400 to 500 per 1.8. ignorance of sex behaviour. Some factors like levels of earnings of the family. The Indian constitution provides equality of opportunity to all citizens irrespective of race. value attached to the fertility of women and sex of the child. According to an assessment of underweight and stunned growth of children.00. Pregnancies and Women’s Health In 1981. education has come to be increasingly regarded as a major instrument of social change (CSWI 1974).1. Anemia in pregnancy account directly for 15 to 20% of all maternal deaths. Many of them suffer from acute anemia. Again more than 29% deliveries in the urban areas and 71% in the rural areas take place without trained personal (NPPWD 1988). The events stop the process of their social and economic empowerment in the long run. Global Debates and their Impacts 3. Study shows that in low income group pregnant women have a deficiency of 1.100 calories and lactating mothers around 1000 calories. They gain only 3 to 5 kgs. However. The low nutritional status of women applies to all age groups but is more acute in the cases of young girls. Thus.

16 Literacy Rate Decadal Difference + 6. Regional variation in female-male literacy level is also wide.97 29. In 2001 only a little more than half of the female population is literate compared to the three-fourth of the male population. culture.31 34. helped improving the educational status of women in India.55 +13.5: Literacy Rate of Women in India (1961-2001) Year Women 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 16. its values. The structural elements of education viz. institutions and the process of socialization act as barriers for the girls enrolment and retention in the schools. Table 3. such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan. Out of 100 girls enrolled in class 1 less than 40 joins class V (NSSO 1997).74 Total Male+Female 28.34 21.6: Number of Girls per 100 boys enrolled in Schools and Colleges Year 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 Primary 76 75 76 77 77 Middle 66 64 64 66 68 Secondary 57 55 55 59 62 College and Universities for general education 50 52 52 56 66 Source: Census Report.38 Decadal Difference + 6. Distance Primary Education Programme. Gender bias in textbooks and also among the teachers cause enormous damage to women’s education.42 54. various years The government programmes. But there are several structural and socio-cultural and economic factors working against the educational well being of women in India.45 43. rigidity of school timings.75 39. Shiksha Karmi Project. various years The female literacy rates in India are greatly constrained by the drop out rates among girls.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality form 15.63 + 7. rigid admission rules. especially at the upper primary and secondary levels.16% in 2001.78 + 9.27 Source: Census Report.11 + 9.70% points between the male-female literacy rates. beliefs. According to the NSSO 1997. National Open School etc. act as severe barriers against women’s education in India. The traditional normative arrangements of the society. there still exists a wide gap of 21.69 +14.56 52. insufficient number of women teachers etc.. Think It Over 4 What are the socio-cultural factors negatively influencing the state of women’s education in India? 64 .14 + 9. The number of girls per 100 boys is also low especially at the higher education level (table). in rural India for every 100 girls who enrolled in class 1 only one enters class XII.11 65. In urban areas it is 14 girls at that level. Table 3. non-availability of sufficient number of schools. Operation Black Board.34% in 1961 to 54.

Low access to education and training. Bhatia 2002).3. wage rate of women absolute as well as relative to men.93% as against the female worker’s 25. The low level of work participation of women does not mean that only around one fourth of women in India are engaged in economically productive jobs. The extend to which the traditional patriarchal family systems and values that assign the bread winners role to men and care of the household to women have been weakened. extend of urbanization are some of the important factors that seem to have an effect on the work participation rates of women (Agrawal and Rao 2002).26%. the increase was mainly due to the increase in the marginal workers. are not less than the total time of work by male. They are predominantly represented in the agricultural and unorganized sectors. household assets and income. To the contrary there are studies (Ghosh 1990. Significantly the percentage for the male workers was 51. employers negative attitude towards the women employees. Through his study Hirway (2002) proves that 60-70% of women’s time spent on the working for the family’s well being is not counted in the National Accounts.3 Participation of Women in Economy Women play a crucial role in all sectors of the Indian economy. Most of the work that women do go unrecognized.8. household size and composition. which show that though female work participation in economically productive activities (as defined by national account systems) is low. There had been a decadal increase in the female work force participation rate.2% are engaged in organized sector. The 2001 census shows that at an all India level the percentage of workers (both male and female) to the total population as 39. Further women’s participatien in organised labour market is very low. There are various factors that affect the labour force participation of women. Learn form your Experience 4 You may be observing several women working in the organized sector. poor working conditions.4 Women and Political Participation Participation in adult franchise or participation in the decision making processes of the formal bodies of the state (executive. legislative or judiciary) are some of the ways of effectively participating in the decision making processes what 65 . The census of India has defined “work” as participation in any economically productive activity. Out of the total women in the work force as per the 2001 census report. The rate of work participation in economically productive activities has been steadily increasing for the past several decades in both rural and urban areas. only 4. rate of marriage. the educational attainments and skill endowments of women.8.68%. gendered role expectations and self Image of women etc. Interview at least five women of this category and try to know form them what are the major problems they face in performing their duties Global Debates and their Impacts 3. her total hours of work. He identifies three reasons why women’s work goes under-enumerated in India: a) the seasonal. The high incidence of marginal workers among the female working population is mostly because of non-recognition of work undertaken by women as economic activity and their irregular participation in the so-called economic activities. Several reasons are cited for the low rate of women’s participation in the organized sector. intermittent and uncertain nature of work and the mix up of domestic and economic work b) the under reporting of women’s economic activities due to the low esteem given to the manual work outside home c) a belief among women itself that their work is not important enough to be reported. levels of unemployment.

This is what we conclude from the longthy discussion on the status assessment of women in society. The status of women in the society at the global level as well as that of India has been discussed in this unit. 3. Social Exclusion 66 Export Processing Zones : These are one or more areas of a country where normal trade barriers such as import or export tariffs do not apply and bureaucratic requirements . it is still far away from a desirable position in comparison to the development of the society as a whole and what men enjoy in the society. and specially poverty eradication. Independent India witnessed impressive participation of women in the election and in related activities. In general we can say that the women of the contemporary society have to strive for gender parity. as per many a standard status indicators. The stiff opposition to the proposal of reserving 33% of seats for women in the legislatures at the national and state level shows the reservation of the larger society in accepting and promoting gender equality in the society. women of the developed countries enjoy an overall better status in terms of many standard status indicators in comparison to their counterparts in the developing and least developed countries. or educational. The opportunity of both high profile and ordinary women of India to take part in the Independence movement brought them close to the political process of the country. This is reflected in the voter turn out of women during elections as well as the number of women in the legislatures.10 CLARIFICATION OF THE TERMS USED : social exclusion means the various ways in which people are excluded economically. is much behind that of men. economic or other social indicators. But there also women are nowhere equal in position to that of men especially in decision-making and power sharing fronts. All these attempts and initiatives did help in improving women’s status in the society. either with regard to demographic and health indicators. It is shown here that the status of women. Definitely there are some variations in the status of women form society to society. Moreover the 73rd and 74th amendment of the constitution provided 33% participation of women in the local elected bodies. income. For more than last one century there had been applaudable conscious attempts at the international and national level to improve the status of women in the society on recognition of their marginalized and subordinate position. social networks such as family. and culturally from the accepted norms within a society. socially. they have to achieve much more than what they have already achieved. as we have seen. neighbourhood and community. politically.9 CONCLUDING REMARKS This unit has tried to give an overview of the status of women in the contemporary society both at the global and the country level. A major achievement for women’s rights was the recognition of women’s rights as human rights at the international conference of Human Rights at Vienna in 1992. 3. If we take at the global level. This means marginalisation of individual or groups from employment. There had been a wide spread recognition that the status improvement and gender equality in the society is imperative for the development of the society as whole. decision making and from an adequate quality of life. However the number of women in the highest elected body of legislature which actually give them the opportunity of participating in devision making processes and power sharing had never been more than 10%.International Convention and Constitutional Mandates for Gender Equality we shall be calling “political participation”.

P. 1999.B. D. The Status of Wolrd’s Women. and secondary – manufacturing and industry). Service Sector : The tertiary sector of the industry is also known as service sector or service industry. 2004. & Rao. : Preventive medicine is that part of medicine engaged with preventing disease rather than curing it. such as in pest control or entertainment or restaurat etc. as investment incentives.L. For example screening for hypertension and treating it before it causes disease is good preventive medicine. Services may involve transport. Global Debates and their Impacts Preventive medicine Malnourished 3. It is designed to avert and avoid disease. Gender Issues: A Road Map to Empowerment. Discovery Publishing House New Delhi Ray. From Independence Towards Freedom. : Affected by improper nutrition or an insufficient diet. Generally components of industrial products are imported for assembly and export. B. International Encyclopedia of Women 1. Such zones generally offer weak environmental codes and labor rights.are lowered in order to attract companies by raising the incentives for doing business. fishing etc. D. The service sector consists of the “soft” parts of the economy such as insurance. mining.N. They are also referred to as “free trade zones” or “special processing zones”. distribution and sale of goods from producer to a consumer. Indian Women Since Independence.) 1999. Bharati and Aparna Basu (ed. These are generally located in developing countries and created to attract foreign investment in industry. provision of a service.V. education. Rashmi and Rao. Oxford University Press: New Delhi 67 . Shipra: Delhi Rao. (The other sectors are primary – agriculture. banking. turism retail.11 SOME USEFUL READINGS Agarwal. The tertiary sector of industry involves the provision of services to other businesses as well as final consumers.