India is not a safe country for women--this is an unfortunate fact that many of us live with. Sure, female literacy rates have risen, more women are joining the workforce, and more women are taking up positions in the armed forces. But does that mean that we're on our way to build a society where both men and women have equal rights and opportunities?
According to a report by Mumbai-based NGO Akshara Centre, we're far from it. The NGO surveyed 6,428 young men and women (15-29-year-olds) across eight cities in India (Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Vijayawada, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, and Bhubaneshwar), about their beliefs on various gender-related issues, including gender discrimination, violence against women, the idea of masculinity, queer sexualities, and women’s work, both paid and unpaid. The survey aimed to understand young India's idea of gender equality and how much they have moved away from traditional gender norms.
Now, let's get to the not-so-pleasant results of the survey. The most shocking revelation was that 54.8% of men seemed to agree with the statement that women wearing revealing clothes are 'inviting' rape, and 39.2% women held the same belief.
The respondents seemed progressive when it came to religious rights--58.7% men and 78.7% women disagreed with the argument that women shouldn't be allowed in the inner sanctums of temples and mosques. Both genders also agreed that women should be allowed inside the kitchen while menstruating.
However, some social customs were viewed with more rigidity--almost half the men (48.8%) believed that the last rites of parents should only be performed by men. Only 31.3% of women agreed with that view.
When it came to serious issues like domestic violence, the survey reported alarming results. While both genders rejected domestic violence, almost half of the men (42.8%) were of the belief that women should tolerate violence for the sake of keeping the family together.
And that's not all...it gets worse. 49.4% of men believed that women cannot run the home and do paid work at the same time. In fact, a large percentage of the men said that they would prefer women to be homemakers. And what about a man's contribution to household chores? It seems like the respondents believed that 'real men' aren't supposed to involve themselves in domestic tasks--only 1.5% (yes, you read that right) said that chores like cooking, cleaning and other housework was their responsibility as well.
If it wasn't evident that patriarchy affected men, then this figure will prove it to you--68.9% of men and 79.2% of women agreed that men shouldn't cry in public. The most ironic figure of the survey was that 79.2% of men and 87.4% of women agreed that men and women should have equal rights.
This report certainly served as an eye-opener. While most educated Indians would have liked to believe that our youth was progressing towards a more gender-equal society, it seems like we still have a long way to go.
Featured Image: ANI
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