Nearly half of Indians think wife beating is ok

Nearly half of Indians think wife beating is ok

Almost half of India's population still believe that wife beating is a normal and acceptable practice in marital relationships.

According to the pre-Budget Economic Survey 2017-18 presented by the government, 54% of Indians believed that wife beating is not acceptable, an improvement of a mere 3.5% compared to a decade ago.  

The country has not seen much improvement in perception in the last 10 years.  Back in 2005, wife beating was acceptable to 50.4% of the country's population.

The analysis, according to the Economic Survey, is based on the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) datasets from 1980 to 2016. The Survey has datasets at household level.

Both women and men were asked detailed questions on gender-related attitudes. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16, which feeds into the DHS survey, has been combined with international DHS datasets, for the study. Previous DHS/NFHS datasets for India are available for the following periods: 1992-93, 1998-99, and 2005-06.

Pink document

This dismal statistics overshadow the government's emphasis on women's empowerment. In fact, this year's Economic Survey was themed around women's empowerment and the document was printed in pink colour.  

Moreover, this scenario prevails despite implementation of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), passed in 2005.  In the 10 years since the PWDVA was passed, over 10 lakh cases have been filed across the country under sections pertaining to "cruelty by husband" and dowry harassment, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.

Cases registered under the abetment of suicide of women, collected by the NCRB since 2014, increased by 34%, from 3,034 in 2014 to 4,060 in 2015, data show.

According to the Survey, women's employment has also declined with time, a cause for concern. Another such area is in the use of female contraception -- nearly 47% of women do not use any contraception, and among those who do, less than a third use female-controlled reversible contraception.

"These outcomes can be disempowering, especially if they are the consequence of restrictions on reproductive agency," the Survey said.

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