In New Delhi, there are 13 times more toilets for men than there are for women. Specifically, there are 3,712 male public toilets, and a mere 269 female toilets. Women sometimes must resort to defecating in the open, which besides the obvious privacy violation, poses a significant risk of rape and violence.
Public Toilets in New Delhi are just one example of discrimination against women in India; it starts before women are even born, and continues throughout their entire life. Girls can be perceived as a financial burden in parts of India, as a result of their limited income opportunities and costly dowries; 500,000 Indian girls have died as a result of pre-natal sex selection and infanticide over the last 20 years.
If a bride can’t fulfill her dowry, she faces the risk of torture and death at the hands of her in-laws. In 2005, nearly 7,000 Indian women were killed for being unable to meet the financial requirements of their dowries, some of them as young as 15 years old.
Indian women are humiliated, abused, and killed every day. Before they are even born, their opportunities and experiences are decided for them. They will face violence and inequality at almost every turn; and even something as simple as access to public restrooms is not guaranteed for them.
There are ways to encourage gender equality in India, though they may be easier said than done. Laws that discriminate against women need to be amended; girls need to be educated to level the intellectual playing field, and India’s practice of perceiving men above women, needs to be addressed for change to last.
– Dana Johnson
Sources: Trust, Advocates for Youth, Brookings
Photo: Asia News