Stories

Everything You Need to Know about the Plight of Women in India

Maybe you are thinking about the girls that make your life wonderful—a daughter, niece, or sister. I’m sure that for most couples you know, the birth of a baby (whether it’s a boy or a girl) brings joy. But in India, that’s not the case for many families. Girls are unwanted and discriminated against all their lives … simply because of their gender.

Strides are being made towards gender equality in India, but growing up as a woman in India is still no easy task.

We’ve put together this “everything you need to know” guide about the plight of women in India. Use it as a reference to dive deeper into issues that you care about … and share it with your friends and family!

  • Abuse – 57% of men in India believe it is justified for husbands to beat their wives, and 53% of women also believe this abuse is justified.
  • Bride Burning – An estimated 22 women are victims of bride burning every day.
  • Child Marriage – India is home to 1 in every 3 child brides in the world.
  • Dowry – Families are expected to pay a dowry of expensive gifts or money when a daughter marries.
  • Female Infanticide (and sex-selective abortions) – Millions of baby girls “disappear” every year in India due to a cultural preference for boys. Here’s a powerful video about how female infanticide affects real families:
  • Having an Older Sister – A woman who has one daughter already is more likely to kill any other daughters born to her.
  • Illiteracy – Millions of girls are never sent to school because it is considered a waste of precious resources.
  • Kidnapping – Since many families choose to kill daughters, there are not enough brides for men—especially in certain areas of India—so girls are stolen from other communities to be brides.
  • Lack of Food – If a family is poor, a son is the first to be fed … and the “less valuable” girl is given leftover scraps to eat.
  • Less Medical Attention – Parents are more likely to seek medical help for sick sons than daughters who are ill.
  • Religious Prostitution – An estimated 50,000 devadasis (temple prostitutes) live in south India.
  • Sex Trafficking – India has an estimated 1.2 million child prostitutes.
  • “Unwanted” Girls – Many girls in India are seen as burdens; some are even named “Unwanted.”
  • Widows – India’s 40+ million widows are rejected and seen as cursed.
  • Witch Accusations – One study showed that 2,500 women accused of being witches in India died over a stretch of 15 years.
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