Bringing in the Other Half in India

We’re seeing an important trend here. It’s the recognition of the importance of women. The UN Council of Women was created last year in 2010. The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books and more are publishing more and more articles about the complex issues still facing women around the globe today, as well as their complex social rules. There are more films being created by female filmmakers about the unique situations of women in different societies, such as Une Séparation (A Divorce) (Iran), Circumstance (Iran), Missrepresentation (USA), Miss Bala (Mexico) and Women Without Men (Iran).

I wanted to share an article about women in India with you all, since I am going to India in January for four months and have been following a NYTimes blog about issues in India called India Ink: Notes on the world’s largest democracy.

“Women in India: Bringing in the Other Half”

When put in charge, women in India are better than men at providing clean water and adequate sanitation for their communities. And despite the gains women have made in the developed world, they’re still doing about as much of the housework and childcare as women in India.

The World Bank’s recently released 2012 World Development Report on gender equality and development shows progress in some areas, while in others gaps in inequality between men and women stubbornly persist.

….

In terms of productivity in the economy, Mr. Shetty said the gap between men and women doesn’t come from gender differences but from disparity in their access to resources. For example, if access to fertilizers, credit and land was controlled for, female farmers were as productive as their male counterparts, the authors of the report found.

In India, the team discovered that measures like the introduction of quotas for women in the Panchayati Raj, or village level, led to better access to clean water and sanitation, crimes against women being reported more often, and a jump in prosecution for those crimes. Women make up one-third to one half of all Panchayats, or village governments.

The authors of the report, however, refrained from saying if such a quota system for women would work in Parliament, and stressed that it was still a temporary measure.

“Governments cannot wait only for growth to take care of the problems. There needs to be active intervention,” said Anna Maria Munoz Boudet, a gender specialist who worked on the report.

Mr. Shetty points out that it’s also smart policy to bring in the talents of the other half of the population since it boosts productivity. Moreover, “it’s just wrong to deny that share of the population the same opportunity, the same access as the other 50 percent,” he said.

For the full article, please click this link.

This article brings to light certain interesting facts. 1. Women are just as economically productive as men as long as they have access to the same resources. 2. When women have a voice in the government, they make decisions that are not better for all women, but for the community at large.

These are all facts that have been established over and over by research by economists, scholars, statisticians, and politicians. While this information is becoming increasingly visible, when will its implementation also become a trend?

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