Masks Of Modernity

A global survey in the Guardian on Wednesday reported that India was the 4th worst country for women to be born into. A country rapidly developing into an economic superpower is deemed to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world due to the high levels of female infanticide and sex trafficking.

The survey was conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of Trust Law, a website providing free legal advice to women’s groups across the world. Afghanistan was polled as the worst, with The Congo, Somalia and Pakistan all in the top 5.

Crimes against women included rape, domestic violence, female infanticide, sex trafficking, dowry deaths, child and forced marriages and honour killings. An endemic of acid attacks are prominent in Pakistan. Congo is the rape capital of the world and women in Afghanistan resort to self-immolation.

I read this survey and its articles with absolute horror and sadness.  I am so lucky that I, an Asian female, was born in England. I  may grumble and moan, write and share the misgivings of being a female and an Asian one at that, but never once have I lived in fear of being an Asian female.

How has India, a country who has female leaders, worships female deities and reveres motherhood, has the majority of women live with the threat of violence and without basic human rights? Surely economic development should include social development and the protection of women from violent abuse should be paramount.

A comment by Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) South Asia director has put the treatment of women into perspective. ” It is true that South Asians don’t, in general, value their daughters, which for instance is apparent in the dwindling gender ratio in India”.

Whilst India’s polling in this survey was a surprise to world politicians, clearly, modernity has masked the plight of women in South Asia.


2 Comments to “Masks Of Modernity”

  1. It is clear (and has been for a while) that as well as economic growth which South Asia enjoys there is still parts of the social structure which remains embedded in the past – which refuses to detach and accept equality. South Asia is rich with its so many religions which as far as I remember all provide protection for humanity including women and children.

    Where South Asia has failed disastrously is educating the young and future generation. The rich have raced to become richer and the poor have been pushed to the side and sustained. Here in the UK – the laws of the country provide protection for everyone, irrelevant of the gender, age or race however within the pockets of Asian society we still here of odd issues which women face such as arranged marriages, honour killings, women deprived of education or employment.

  2. Hi Bunty

    As your previous post about ultra sound abortions noted, education and a rising economy did not reduce the rate of abortions of girls in India. I feel lucky to be born in Britain not only as an Asian woman but a muslim one – three out of the top 5 women hating nations are Islamic.

    Apart from India, the other 4 countries are almost constantly at war and have been for generations. I can’t begin to imagine what that feels like and how that changes cultural attitudes towards women who are often victims of war crimes but do not go into battle.


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