Gender Division refers to the unequal roles assigned by the society to men and women. Women on the basis of gender have always been discriminated in almost all the societies of the world including India. Following are the main different aspects of life in which women are discriminated against or disadvantaged in India.
(i) Life at Home: The main responsibility of women is believed to be that she should perform housework and bring up children. This is reflected in a sexual division of labour.
Women do all work inside the house such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, tailoring, looking after children etc., and men do all the work outside the home. It is not, that men cannot do house work; they simply think that it is for women to attend to these jobs.
(ii) Life outside the Home : In our society, the work of women is not valued and does not get recognition. For instance, in rural areas and forest regions they fetch water and collect fuel. Sometimes they work in the fields. In fact majority of urban women do some sort of paid work in addition to domestic labour. But their work is not given due importance in the society.
(iii) Role in Public Life and Politics : Although women constitute half of the humanity, their role in public life, especially politics, is minimal in most societies.
In our country, women still lag much behind men despite some improvement since independence. Ours is still a male-dominated society.
(iv) At Literacy Level: The literacy rate among women is only 54 per cent compared to 76 per cent among men. Similarly, a smaller proportion of girl students go for higher studies. When we look at school results, girls perform as well as boys. But they drop out because parents prefer to spend their resources on their sons’ education than equally on their sons and daughters.
(v) Not Paid Properly in public jobs : No wonder the proportion of women among the highly paid and valued jobs is still very small. On an average Indian women work one hour more than an average man every day. Yet much of her work is not paid and therefore, often not valued.
(vi) Decline in Sex Ratio: Due to preference to son the sex ratio has declined in the country to merely 927. Further, this ratio has fallen below 850 or even 800 in some states of India.
(vii) In Legislature : In India, the proportion of women in legislature has been very low. For example, the percentage of elected women members in Lok Sabha had never reached even 10 per cent of its total strength. Their share even in the state assemblies is less than 5 per cent. In this respect.
India is among the bottom group of nations in the world.
And above all, there are reports of various kinds of harassment, exploitation and violence against women.
All these instances show that women are discriminated against or disadvantaged in India.