Through Her Eyes: India

Women in India have been given equal rights from the time their constitution was signed. However, slight problems followed as women were unaware of what they were privileged of because of high illiteracy rates and an oppressive tradition. Today, women are making small steps toward earning better working conditions and finding positions of respect and privilege. Women in Northern India have more restrictions placed on their actions, which highly restricts their access to work while Southern Indian women have more freedom and have a more prominent presence in society.

Roles Indian women contribute to the economy through their work, but much is not documented in official statistics. Since India’s culture restricts women’s access to many jobs in the public sector, such as in stores and factories, over 90% work in the informal sector. Informal sector positions include domestic servants, small traders, artisans, and field laborers. These jobs are normally low paying and do not provide benefits. Aside from the workforce, women are also solely responsible for household chores, cooking, and caretaking of the children.

Education Females face many restrictions when it comes to education because of conservative cultural attitudes, especially with Muslim’s. Even though the constitution guarantees free primary school education from girls and boys up to age 14, fewer girls are enrolled in school and have a lower literacy rate than men. Female illiteracy is a major problem that is important, as women play a significant overall development and progress of the country.

Women in Power Indian women are making strides in political participation within the country. More women are being elected to represent at the village council level, and within the central and state levels women are also slowly making a difference. Within five large states of India, women are in Chief Minister positions.

I Do Legally in India the groom must be 21 years of age and the bride 18. However, the Muslim Code of Conduct allows polygamy of up to four wives as per Islamic laws.Arranged marriage is also a norm within the country.

Good Grub Meals differ in each part of India, as different regional barriers affect what is available. In Northern India, flatbreads named “chapatti” are eaten as well as “biryani,” a rice dish with vegetables or meat. Rice dominates over wheat in Southern India along with curries and “dal,” which includes legumes such as chickpeas and lentils. Vegetarianism is more popular in Western India, as coconut and seafood are popular ingredients.

Threads Indian women use clothing as a way to express themselves with the vibrant colors and elaborated designs. A shalwar kameez is a garment worn on both casual and formal occasions and includes a pajama-like trouser with a long tunic. These outfits come in all different lengths and colors and have even been seen on Jennifer Lopez, Princess Diana, Goldie Hawn, and Hillary Clinton.

Step By Step The country launched the Saakshar Bharat Mission for Female Literacy in 2008, which aims to combat the high rates of female illiteracy. In the area of politics, theWomen’s Reservation Policy Bill works towards strengthening political participation for women in the country.

Religion Religion plays a major role in the everyday life of the Indian woman as religious tolerance and diversity are established in the country by law and custom. A caste system is also in place because of many religions in the country. Hinduism is the largest religion practiced, followed by Islam, Christianity, and Sikhism.

Speak to Me An array of languages could be heard within the country of India ranging from Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Assamese, Kashmiri, Tamil, Urdu, and Marathi.

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About Ohio U Women's Center

The Ohio University Women’s Center serves and responds to the needs of OU women students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the community. Founded in 2007, the center is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming campus climate for all members of the community through programs, resources, referrals, advocacy, and education. Located in Baker University Center 403.
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