67 per cent women suffer physical abuse, says report

An alarming 67 per cent of women face physical abuse and 44 per cent verbal and emotional abuse, suggests a report highlighting gender inequality across five states.

Child rights group Plan India’s report titled ‘Engaging Men and Boys towards Gender Equality’ suggests that men should involve themselves in areas that boost women's political and economic rights to remove gender inequality rather than practice injustice.

Activists suggest that only if men and boys believe in justice and fairness, will they be able to see their mothers, sisters and girlfriends enjoy the same level of respect in the community, as both sexes do not have the luxury of exercising same authority.

“A new perspective on giving equal power to both men and women is essential as men who practise injustice against women are also victims of gender inequality,” said Bhagyashri Dengle, executive director, Plan India.

This survey was conducted across five states — Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Karnataka with over 6,000 respondents. Some of the findings of the report suggests huge gender disparity. The study states that 44 per cent of women face verbal and emotional abuse; only 20 per cent of young women have bank accounts and property; and 39 per cent girls and young women eat meals after serving all members of the family. Similar trends are seen in the higher age group of 15-35 years, where men are in the forefront of deciding the ideal family size and spending money. In this “modern world”, young women have to take permission to consult or visit a doctor and are influenced in their voting rights by male members of the family.

The report also highlights the attitude and awareness of men belonging to the age group of 15-35 years and boys within 10-14 years on gender equality. It recommends strategies to engage them in achieving desired equality.

“It aims to show that far from being an issue only for women and girls, gender inequality is also about boys and men who should respond to the existing inequalities that the women and girls face in our country; through action at individual, community and national levels” said Surina Narula, women rights activist and member, Plan India.

Plan India intends to use the results of this study to strengthen its programmes related to the rights of the girl child and advocate with the government and civil society partners to ensure engagement of both sexes in areas of nutrition, education, health care, decision making and women’s economic and political rights.

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