For the last fifty years, scholars have been grappling with the actual definition of gender. However, in recent years there have been substantial efforts to harmonize the gender concept. This has led to the expansion of the definition from the distinct physical, behavioral and mental attributes, associated with female and male to include the social roles assigned to them in their societies. Most societies across the world have a social setting where women are discriminated that their male counterparts always have the best roles. This has led to gender disparities, which has persisted even governments in the modern era. One of the countries, where the problem of gender inequality persists, is India; despite the efforts of the government and other stakeholder to sensitize in general the public of women still act a second citizens. This can be attributed to the culture, which promote these social inequalities; unfortunately, it still runs in the country.
In India, gender inequality is manifested in different ways and although considerable steps in terms of legislation have been taken place where is no much impact on the ground. Some of the gender inequalities are in education system, where the girl is affected in various ways. Firstly, the girl is denied a chance to go to school because of the cultural value that gives boys preference. Secondly, some customs, like forced marriages are still common in India and sometimes girls are married off extinguishing their education dream hence high number of girls dropping out the school. Thirdly, traditions dictate girls do most of the house chores depriving them of the free time to study in comparison to their boys’ counterparts.
Those women, who succeed in acquiring formal education, run in to other embargoes in terms of being hired. Most companies are always reluctant to employ due to government policies that advocated for three months maternity leave. The culture of male dominance also persists in economy sector, leading them to be overlooked. Those who get employed also experience difficulties in getting leadership positions, which are occupied by males. These factors according to jobs where companies do not hire women or simply are reluctant to hire them; for example, the construction sector make Indian women have little options in terms of employment.
Other factor includes health, which has adverse effects on women. More than fifty percent of women in India don’t have access to professional health workers during prenatal and postnatal periods. This has led to over three hundred deaths per day because ofissues related to birth and prenatal care. Cultural preferences for male over female have led to rampant infanticide and feticides. The girl is also prone to high mortality rates due to nutrition where even in household settings boys are fed better than girls. This has made India population to be among few countries, where the number of men are substantial more than the number of women. In fact, India has a deficit of around twenty five women in relation to men leading to social imbalance.
Current Global Economic issues mean that India has to make more efforts in order to reignite economic growth. Research has shown that development requires massive mobilization of resources which include the human resources. The fact that women can contribute around a half of the labor force make them important in terms of fostering economic growth. Some of the benefits that women can have in Indian economic development are discussed below:
Innovation is also a key factor and for its prosperity it usually requires the diversity in terms of contribution. The diversity means both women and men contribute because in any case this innovation covers men and women in terms of usage. This means, if there is a company that deals with a machine, those women mostly hired, they can contribute ideas because they have their own female taste.
Employment of women has big impacts on the household, which is the basic unit of the economy. With the extra income, it means that household can save more money. They can also invest the extra money to create jobs’ places which in the long run is converted to economic growth. They can also help in general, improving the living standards of that family by complimenting what their male counterparts are bringing home. This can have tremendous impact in the housing sector as more people will move from informal settlements to more conducive areas. It also helps the household to put their children through school system and adequately providing health care.
When girls are incorporated in school system it leads to several economic advantages. Firstly, it lowers the birth rates, which are very high compared to growth rate. This is due to late the marriage as they first pursue their career. They also like very much to practice family planning than the illiterate group. According to Malthus’ Theory of Population, the late marriage can be a tool to control the population because the more young people marry at young age, the more they like to have many children. The lower the growths rate, the better the economy. Educated women are also well equipped with health issue tips like nutrition, which lead to low mortality rates. They also like very much to take their daughters to school and this can help to close the gap in education terms for boys and girls.
Incorporation of women in labor force has several advantages. With women and girls making almost a half of Indian population; it means they form an impressive market block. If the policies can be formulated in given them opportunities, that will generally make them economically independence; it can be easily converted into market base with positive implication in the economy. It can also lead to rise of beauty and fashion industries creating employment for thousands during this process. This means that the increase in purchasing power of women is easily converted into ready market; hence, money flow maintains as an essential aspect of a vibrant economy.
In the political leadership roles, women are better equipped in terms of knowledge about the gender disparities hence making them the best candidates to deal with the vice. Therefore, they should be given opportunity to represent people in the Parliament and other important social institutions. This in the long run can act as a positive way of dealing with culture issue, which for centuries have oppressed girls. The process of women taken leadership roles will diminish cultural constraints which hinder girls’ aspirations. One of the ways is formulating laws that prohibit forced marriages and hold parents reasonable if they fail to take their children to school.
Integrating women into economy can have positive aspect in the environmental conservation in India. Research has shown that environmental conservation can lead to sustainable economic development. Incorporating women in the formal sector will reduce pressure on natural resources such as land. This is because the more educated and working women like very much to have less children hence forests will not be cleared for settlements at a high rate. With the income they can rely on natural gas for their house instead of firewood, which is very economic depredating and it is not even sustainable.
In summary, for India to foster economic growth, it cannot ignore women, the number of whom is almost a half of the population. Integrating them into the economic development will make the country to achieve its economic development potential. It will also deal with other things such as overpopulation, which on its own is a hindrance to economic development. In the long run it will help to eradicate cultural attitudes against girls.