Top 10 reasons why India is the worst Place to be a woman

1. Violence towards women prevents equality and hinders the personal security and dignity of individuals, contradicting Articles 1, 2, and 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A governments’ inability to protect the rights of half its citizens[i] also hinders the state’s economic growth. This issue has come to the forefront of international discussion as current events, namely the brutal attack on Ms. Y, a young physiotherapy student on a New Delhi bus, have focused the world’s gaze to the severe issue of gender violence in India.

2. For every woman who obtains a job, two women are killed at birth, abused in childhood, burnt over dowry, or sexually harassed at work. India’s development is greatly impaired by violent crimes perpetrated against women.[ii] It follows to note that women and other minorities are disproportionately affected by the government’s failure to maintain the rule of law, and this directly violates a number of international covenants, most importantly the United Nations Convention on Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).[iii]

3. The Gender Inequality Index (GII), an index based on reproductive health, empowerment, and perceived presence in the labour market ranked India as the 2nd worst place for women to live. While the GII does not include statistics on violence, it is representative of economic factors that represent women’s overall standing with society. Because of their marginalisation, women in India are more likely to experience violence and less likely to receive adequate reparation for violent crimes.

4. How can the Indian government possibly expect its’ country to progress while it ACTIVELY hinders justice for half of its citizens? The GII has an inverse relationship with the Human Development Index, indicating that as gender inequalities decrease, overall human development, and productivity increase. The study also shows that countries with a low score in the Gender Related Development Index (GI) also score low in the overall human development index. India embodied this, with a high GII and low HDI and GI.

5. In a recent survey conducted by Trust Law, a legal news source by Thomson Reuters, specialists gathered the opinions of 213 international gender specialists on gender issues and equality. The study concludes that India is the 4th worst country for women to live in, behind only Afghanistan, the Congo, and Pakistan (Danger Poll – Trust Law). India was ranked the worst out of the G20 nations as it had abuse, violence, and murder on scales unparalleled in the other G20 nations. Reasons behind this include high rates of infanticide, child marriage, forms of slavery, and exploitation.

6. Self-reported research conducted by the National Crime Records Bureau indicates that violence towards women is increasing (India NCRB).[iv] However, sources debate whether this is an adequate representation of reality. Statistical jumps in violence towards women can potentially represent the opposite: rather than an increase in crime itself, these figures could be reflecting an increase in the likelihood of women to report instances of violence, which is indicative of greater empowerment and confidence in the judiciary to bring about justice.

7. Despite an increase in the number of reported rapes, convictions have dropped by a third, indicating failure on the part of the police to conduct investigations and prosecutions.

8. Equally concerning is the judiciary’s inability to guarantee timely trials. The average wait time for the judiciary to try a rape case in India is over 600 days, with many cases taking 5-10 years to complete. As of March 2013, 24000 cases of sexual assault cases are pending before state High Courts and the Supreme Court of India.[v]