Dimensions of Gender Inequality in India and Education as an Instrument for Women Empowerment
The Indian society has been, from the ages, an exemplary society in terms of dichotomy practiced towards what is claimed and what is manifested. The issue of ‘Gender Inequality’ is the concern of this paper. Sociologically, the word gender refers to the socio-cultural definition of man and woman; the way societies distinguish men and women and assign them social roles. The distinction between sex and gender was introduced to deal with the general tendency to attribute women's subordination to their anatomy. For ages it was believed that the different characteristics, roles and status accorded to women and men in society are determined by sex, that they are natural and therefore not changeable. Gender is seen closely related to the roles and behavior assigned to women and men based on their sexual differences. As soon as a child is born families and society begin the process of gendering. The birth of the son is celebrated, the birth of a daughter is an unwelcomed incident; sons are showered with love, respect, better food and proper health care. Bringing up a daughter is considered like “watering a plant in someone else’ courtyard”. All these differences are gender differences and they are created by society. It stems not only from pre-existing differences in economic endowments between women and men but also from pre-existing gendered social norms and social perceptions. Many developing countries including India have displayed gender inequality in education, employment and health. India has witnessed gender inequality from its early history due to its socio-economic and religious practices that resulted in a wide gap between the position of men and women in the society. This is despite the fact that India has had women as its constitutional and executive heads in the past.
This paper attempts to explain the status of gender inequality in the Indian context. The paper contends that education might be an effective tool to bridge the gap of this gender inequality provided that there should be willingness to manifest what is theoretically discussed and preached.
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