Co-Written by Priyanka Singh & Sujeet Singh

domestic violence

What haunts more these days is not the Monster disease called Covid-19, but the harrowing position of the women in the middle of this Pandemic Era. It remains a poisonous truth of our society, that the women in the 21st century has still not got the same status as men. The degraded state of women is visible not only in our society as a whole but is also prevalent in more severe form within the households and this makes women highly vulnerable in the covid-19 tsunami. Women continue to exist as a neglected bunch and their plight is often swept under the rugs.

Any Pandemic like Covid-19 is bound to have draconian impact on the lives of women particularly those belonging to marginalized communities. This is primarily due to two major reasons, firstly the women in India within a given household remain neglected which means even if they become symptomatic of the deadly Corona virus there is high probability of them being ignored especially in orthodox families that possess pre-existing patriarchy overdose. Secondly, because of the widespread educational deficiency which persists more in women than men in India, information lacuna is more prevalent among them and in any digitally interconnected Global World ‘Information’ plays a role of a ‘Superhero’ capable enough to prevent the deadly Corona Virus. Note that only 45.9 percent women use their own mobile phones themselves (http://rchiips.org/NFHS/pdf/NFHS4/India.pdf)

If one goes about analyzing the State of women in contemporary India, one may find a clear depiction that the women in India has been and still continue to be marginalized vis-à-vis the other dominant sex, male. It’s not only the women as homogeneous group which is being discriminated over centuries but the ‘women’ as broader group has many sub-groups of women which persists as the ‘marginals among the marginalized’ like the Dalits, Tribal, HIV Infected, Sex workers and women belonging to minority group.

Going by the official data, the National Family Health Survey in 2016 revealed some shocking statistics which cannot be ignored, it stated that 28.8 per cent women faced violence domestically by their respective spouses, 3.3 per cent women faced violence even during pregnancy. On the other hand, the National Crime Records Bureau’s Crime in India, 2018 statistics highlighted a striking majority of 31.9 per cent cases of crime against women out of total IPC crimes were registered under cruelty by husband or his relatives.

(https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/Crime%20in%20India%202018%20-%20Volume%201.pdf).

Again one should keep in mind that these figures might be a case of under reporting for the very obvious reason that mostly the women in India remain reluctant to report any kind of violence mainly due to the terror they face within the household. Domestic torture of Women is also reconfirmed recently by National Commission Of Women, postulating a sudden steep surge in domestic violence complaints during this covid-19 lockdown phase. This Physical abuse also brings severe repercussion to her mental health as well and mental health related issues as we all know, are still considered a taboo in our Society. In such scenario its highly unlikely that a Women will be paid required attention and care that is needed during this emergent Covid-19 time period.

Although the government of India in recent years has taken a number of ‘one of its kind’ initiatives which needs to be applauded with appreciation but unfortunately the timely utilisation of fund allocated and implementation of schemes, legal remedies at grass-root level has remained in question for instance the majority of allocated Fund out of the, Nirbhaya Fund remains ideal.

(https://www.prsindia.org/report-summaries/issues-related-safety-women)

Also in India its not at all surprising and is an evident fact that every year there are plenty of cases related to female foetus being terminated illegally. The discrimination, exploitation and the disadvantages faced by women starts even before she takes birth in India. On the health front as well the per cent of women getting ‘Anemic’ remains at a strikingly high figure of 53 per cent (NFHS, 2016). Lower Public Expenditure on Health has acted as the ‘back pain’ of all times which for past many years has been more or less closer to 1 per cent of the GDP plus the out of pocket health based expenditure continues to be on a higher trajectory. Although going by the saying, Necessity is mother of all invention, there has been a phenomenal upgradation in our Health infrastructure amid this covid-19 attack.

As far as Public Expenditures on Social Services (Health, Education, Sanitation, Nutrition, Skill development) is concerned the Economic Survey 2017-18, noted that the Public expenditure done on Social Sector as per cent of GDP has improved marginally in recent period, but still remains in a lower range. Such Expenditure directly influence human development indicators and therefore needs to be paid high priority.

All the above, points to the gloomy state of women in our society, be it economic, social or political. Its however not the case that initiatives are not taken up by the government but the major problem lies with the fatigued implementation of various pro-women schemes and whatever funds are allocated does not get fully utilized. And in this Covid-19 era, it wont be wrong to conclude the venerability of women is likely to surge more in this, Covidnary situation.

References

l Economic Survey, 2017-18

l National Family Health Survey, 2016

http://rchiips.org/NFHS/pdf/NFHS4/India.pdf

l National Crime Records Bureau, Crime in India, 2018

https://ncrb.gov.in/crime-india-2018

l Standing Committee on Human Resource Development report, 2020

https://www.prsindia.org/report-summaries/issues-related-safety-women

Priyanka Singh , Economics Assistant Professor, Delhi University Email: pinku029@gmail.com

Sujeet Singh, Guest Assistant Professor, Political Science, Delhi University Email: sujeetsinghh123@gmail.com


SIGN UP FOR COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWS LETTER


 


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


3 Comments

  1. Sally Dugman says:

    I am fortunate, I could always do as I wanted as a female. This was so in terms of religion or any other topic facing me. I was, therefore, seldom curtailed even as a toddler.

    We need to stand up en masse. Others besides me need to follow suit, I would think.

  2. Very well written Article, balanced and heart touching….we would like to hear more from the authors

  3. Very nice article , simple and balanced one….we would like to hear more from the authors