women-in-the-21-century-2This Republic Day will go down is history when the 1st woman President of India will unfurl the national flag in New Delhi at a time when the governance of the nation is in the command of another woman. So we decided to study the status of women in India in the 21st century. Once the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru said, “you can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”. It is a fact that the social condition of women of any nation is a pointer to the level of development of that nation. It is indeed a moment to feel proud when Pratibha Patil became the nation’s first lady to unfurl the national flag in New Delhi on Republic Day. It is a paradox of modern India that women wield power and hold positions at the topmost levels, yet large sections of women are among the most underprivileged. Speak to this class about President Pratibha Patil or Sonia Gandhi and this is what they know. The women’s movement which gathered strength after the 1970s, has led to progressive legislation and positive change, spurred on by the participation of women in all walks of life but in reality there still are several disturbing issues concerning the current status of women in India. There are several clear indicators of the fact that Indian women continue to be discriminated against: the sex ratio is skewed against them; maternal mortality is the second-highest in the world; more than 50 per cent of women are illiterate; and crimes against women are on the rise, more than 50 lakhs are compelled to practice the profession of flesh trade for survival. Some women from the upper classes head political parties and command large followings, yet women’s representation in the Parliament and state legislatures has not been more than 10 per cent. We hope that this report will compel us pledge to pledge on Republic Day that the society will stand by women so that they continue winning victories against an oppressive way of life and inspire change in societal attitudes towards women. With cameraperson Ravi Nikam, Rajeev Mishra for NMTV News.

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