65% Indian women literate, 5% have sole control over choosing their husband

| Updated: 2017-02-24 06:26:46

Gender Disparity, is what, is the reason for such facts and figure i.e. 65% Indian women are literate and 5% have sole control over choosing their husband. It is very disheartening to come across such harsh reality. This is not because of the overnight outcome rather it is due to the traditions & the mind sets of the people in India as a whole.

The women empowerment can be done only through educating them. The education gives qualifications and which subsequently gives financial independence and which is the driving force to all other forms of independence such as lifestyle, control over life-partner selection, helping the society etc. Only 4.99 per cent of women in India had sole control over choosing their husbands, while 79.8 per cent of women needed permission to visit a health centre, according to the 2012 survey.

Almost 80 per cent of women said they had to seek permission from a family member to visit a health centre. Out of these women, 80 per cent said they needed permission from their husband, 79.89 per cent from a senior male family member and 79.94 per cent from a senior female family member. Further, 58 per cent of women reported that they needed permission to visit the local kirana (grocery) store, compared to 44.8 per cent in 2005.

Such restrictions are also echoed in other indicators. For instance, only 27 per cent of Indian women are in the labor force, the second-lowest rate of female labor-force participation in South Asia after Pakistan, as IndiaSpend.com reported in April 2016.

Women, however, seemed to have control over what is cooked in the house, a decision that 92.89 per cent women reported making every day. About 50 per cent reported that the husband took part in deciding what to cook, highlighting the gendered nature of household chores.

A woman's freedom to make decisions depends on where she lives. More women chose their own husband in states in northeastern and southern India as compared to northern India, as per 2012 IHDS data. The percentage of women who had sole say in choosing their husbands was lowest in Rajasthan (0.98 per cent), followed by Punjab (1.14 per cent) and Bihar (1.19 per cent). It was the highest in Manipur (96 per cent), followed by Mizoram (88 per cent) and Meghalaya (76.9 per cent).

As many as 65 per cent of the women said they had met their husband for the first time on the wedding day, but wide variations exist across states. For instance, all women in Manipur had met their husband before the day of the wedding, while 94 per cent of women in Bihar met their husband for the first time on the day of the wedding.

This highlights the "arranged" nature of marriages in India, a process in which prospective partners usually meet for the first time with the intention of getting married, after their family vets the spouse-to-be, and the match is backed by the support of their extended social network.

 That’s the biggest irony of the Indian society as a whole. We can’t help it, unless we change our mindset and let women decide their own fates and destinies.