The Huge Cost of India's Discrimination Against Women
This article originally appeared in The Atlantic. Click here to read the full article.
THE ATLANTIC -- Imagine a country where the most powerful political figure, two billionaires , three of the most dominant regional politicians, several prominent CEOs, and half of local government representatives are women. Now imagine that, in that same country, one-third of adult women are illiterate, spousal rape is not illegal, and sex-selective abortion and female infanticide are still widely practiced.
It may be hard to reconcile these two realities, but modern India somehow manages to be, at the same time, the land of Indira Gandhi and Mother Theresa and of child brides and dowry deaths.
The standing of women in Indian society received unprecedented national and international attention last year following the brutal gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman in Delhi. The incident sparked widespread public protests in the Indian capital and gained further attention after one of the accused perpetrators was found hanged in jail on Monday. While the tragedy has led to some long-overdue reforms, it is far too early to declare it a turning point for the fate of the majority of India's women.
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Dhruva Jaishankar is a Transatlantic Fellow with the Asia Program of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in Washington DC. Jaishankar is also a Fellow at the Takshashila Institution in India and an occasional columnist for The Indian Express.