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Submitted By-

Mehak Agarwal - 16010324343


Section- D

Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad

Symbiosis International University, PUNE


MARCH 2018

Under the Guidance of

Sukhvinder Singh Dari


The Project entitled “Gender inequality in India” submitted to the Symbiosis Law
School, Hyderabad for Internship as part of the internal assessment is based on my original
work carried out under the guidance of Dr Sukhvinder Singh Dari fromDecember 2018 to
April 2019. The research work has not been submitted elsewhere for the award of any
degree.The material borrowed from other sources and incorporated in the thesis has been duly

I understand that I myself could be held responsible and accountable for plagiarism, if any,
detected later on.

Signature of the candidate

Mehak Agarwal - 16010324343


Before we get into thick of things, we would like to add a few words of appreciation for the
people who have been a part of this project right from its inception. The writing of this
project has been one of the significant academic challenges we have faced and without the
support, patience and guidance of the people involved, this task would not have been
completed. It is to them we owe my deepest gratitude.

It gives us immense pleasure in presenting this project report on “Gender Inequality in

India”. The success of this project is a result of sheer hard work, and determination put in by
me with the help of my project guide. We hereby take this opportunity to add a special note
of thanks for my Professor, Dr Sukhvinder Dari who undertook to act as my mentor despite
their many other academic and professional commitments. Their wisdom, knowledge, and
commitment to the highest standards inspired and motivated me. Without their insight,
support and energy, this project wouldn’t have started and neither would have reached

We also feel heartiest sense of obligation to my library sir & ma’am, and other staff
members, who helped me in collection of data and resource material and also in its
processing as well as in drafting manuscript. The project is detailed to all those people, who
helped me while doing this project















-Mehak Agarwal

This study considers the gender inequality that exists among every region, social class and
prevents the growth of Indian economy from improving the lives of Indian people. The reality
of gender inequality in India is very complex and diversified, because it exists in every field
like education, employment opportunities, income, health, cultural issues, social issues,
economic issues etc. An attempt has been made to find out those factors which are
responsible for this problem in India. So, this paper highlights the multi-dimensional context
of gender inequalities prevalent in India. Overall, the study indicates the inequality in
economic, social, cultural and legal biasness which are of a great challenge for policy-
makers and social scientists to establish proper equality in the entire social field. The
researchers have tried to suggest some relevant strategies and policies implication for
reducing this gender inequality and to promote the dignified position for Indian women.
Keywords: Gender Inequality, Economic, Social & Cultural issues, Empowerment,

-Mehak Agarwal


The term Gender can be defined as a socio-cultural term referring socially defined roles and
nature of the tasks assigned to males and females respectively. Gender inequality in one way
can also be defined as discrimination against women based on their sex. It has been a social
issue in India for centuries. It basically means disparity between men and women in different
social, economical and political, cultural and legal aspects also known as gender biasness.

Despite a rapid development growth rate and plentiful government measures to encourage
gender equality, the gender gap still exists in India. From all the gender issues, gender
inequality is the most prevalent in India. Existence of gender gap is a major barrier not only
for women’s access to resources and opportunities, but also imperils the life prospects of the
future generation.

Patriarchy system that is still somehow prevailing in the Indian society is one of the major
causes of gender inequality. Patriarchal norms have marked women as inferior to men.It has
also relegated women to a secondary status within the household and workplace. Women
based on sex face double discrimination and violence being members of specific caste, class
or ethnic group. Maternal mortality is very high in India. The average maternal mortality ratio
at the national level is 540 deaths per 100,000 live births1.


Women play a critical role in global economic activity. They are a large and increasing
percentage of the world's surveyed waged labour force, with over a one third share in the
developing world2. Despite representing over half of the world’s population, in many contexts
women’s potential economic contribution remains under-developed or unrecognized3. Women
lag behind men in land ownership, access to finance, access to machinery and other inputs,

National Family Health Survey-2, 2000
S. Gammage, N. Diamond, and M. Packman, Enhancing Women’s Access to Markets: An Overview of Donor
Programs and Best Practices, (2005).
M. Williams, Gender Mainstreaming in the Multilateral Trading System: A Handbook for Policy-Makers and
Other Stakeholders, London: Commonwealth Secretariat, 2003.

and educational achievements4. Gender-based constraints that limit women's role in value
chains include many factors the risk of physical, sexual and other gender-based violence,
social or cultural issues5 etc.

Gender equality is central to development for two reasons. First, the freedoms women enjoy
in a society are an integral part of the development process. Development should be
understood as a process of expanding freedoms people enjoy in addition to the growth of
gross national product or rise in individual incomes. These freedoms enable individuals to
make independent choices during their life course. Second, achievement of democratic and
economic development is dependent on the freedoms of individuals, in particular of women.
Eliminating the conditions that produce inequalities between men and women is relevant not
only for intrinsic reasons but can also be “smart economics” in the long run. While gender
equality is receiving increasing attention in the development agenda, how to achieve this goal
is not an easy question to answer.


1. Do the social-cultural norms influence gender gap against women in the society?
2. To find the determinants that causes gender gaps in the society?
3. What is the necessity to implement the gender bias law in the present era?

The research methodology is broadly a non-doctrinal and statistical research focusing on both
internal and external secondary data. The empirical research being an exploratory designed is
mainly concerned with the legal decision process. It is valuable in revealing and explaining
the practices and procedures of legal, regulatory, redress and dispute resolution systems and
the impact of legal phenomena on a women as social groups. The topic pertaining to the
present research has very wide scope in which the researcher will try to narrow down the
scope related to different factors to ascertain the hypothetical outcome.

UNICEF, Domestic Violence Against Women and Girls, (2000


“Why exclude them? Of the two sexes of which the species is composed, how comes all the natural
right to political benefits to be confined to one?”- Jeremy Bentham (1789)6

History is the alibi that women have faced intense discrimination from a lack of legal rights,
representation right and even existential rights. As the time passed the position of women
underwent changes in all spheres of life. The present position has shifted a little but still a
long to go in order to achieve equality. There is always truth in stereotypes, however skewed
however exaggerated.

These gender inequalities affect women differently and unevenly, as women are a diverse
group and live in diverse contexts7.Call for equality between genders did not concern only the
field of politics, but also education and domestic duties. At the end of World War I, did the
British parliament pass The Representation of the People Act to grant women over the age of
30 the right to vote, if they met the property criteria. In 1928, British women gained universal
suffrage8.The right to vote is one of the fields in which gender equality has been achieved
after a long struggle. Thus women as a social group is still prone to suffrage but with certain
legislations and norms these are getting better.


Women usually lack control over productive assets. Violence is almost universal problem of
women and they face bias due to socio-cultural practices. Women experience gender
differentials in decisions concerning management, agricultural wages, marketing, education
etc. Government schemes have failed to address needs of women and unfortunately ignore
intra-household inequalities. There has been significant decline in the female population.
Women workers are given much work but are paid less wages or salary especially in the
unorganized sector.

Bentham, University College Mss., CLXX p.144, cited in Chernock (2009)
Development & Training Services, Promoting Gender Equitable Opportunities in Agricultural Value Chains,
(2009) 17-24.
Similar restrictions applied to men in the United Kingdom. Men with property gained the right to vote in 1832.
In 1868, this threshold was reduced and as a result, the percentage of men who could participate in elections
increased substantially. In 1918, universal suffrage was introduced for all men over the age of 21

This peculiar type of discrimination against women is prevalent everywhere in the world and
more so in Indian society. The root cause of considering women as disadvantaged lies in the
patriarchy system.Disadvantage by its nature is rarely related to a single cause.



In spite of progressive legislations and judicial pronouncements, the misuse of technology,

rapid urbanization, poverty, natural calamities such as famines, floods etc., and many a times
worsens the situation of women in exercising their rights to the fullest extent as guaranteed
by law. Indian women suffer a number of inequalities especially in the domestic front on the
name of customary and religious faiths. This is more evident especially in issues relating to
marriage, customary ceremonial functions, and choice of reproductive rights, payment of
wages, especially in the agricultural and other sectors, inheritance of property, domestic
violence, custodial rapes, and sexual harassment at work place and in society9.


United Nations (UN) agencies now speak about feminization of the HIV/AIDS pandemic
because women comprise an increasing proportion of people affected by HIV and AIDS
around the world10. They include girls, women of reproductive age, and post-menopausal
women, although most new infections occur in women of childbearing age.

These situations, which increase the vulnerability of girls and women to HIV and sexually
transmitted infections (STIs), violence, and unwanted pregnancies, clearly indicate that high
priority must be given to meeting the reproductive health needs of women. This is
particularly the case for women living with HIV since their problems may be exacerbated.
For example, it appears that women who disclose their HIV status may risk violence from
their partners, families, or social environment11.

Berta – Esteve – Volast, 2004, “Gender discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence from India,” London,
London School of Economics and Political Sciences.
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Global Coalition on Women and AIDS. Women and AIDS.
An extract from the AIDS epidemic update December 2004. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2004:1.)
Ellsberg M, Heise L. Researching violence against women: a practical guide for researchers and
activists,Washington, DC: World Health Organization, 2005. 56 p.

There are other various consequential factors as well focusing on a few major factors
affecting women and how it leads to gender inequality.

The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to
adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women for neutralizing the cumulative
socio economic, education and political disadvantages faced by them. Fundamental Rights,
among others, ensure equality before the law and equal protection of law; prohibits
discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth,
and guarantee equality of opportunity to all citizens in matters relating to employment.

The constitution on the lines of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 recognizing
the rights of women, has a number of provisions to protect in augmenting their rights.

The legal rights, are those which are provided in the various laws of the Parliament and the
State Legislatures. But the question is why women need special rights for their safeguard?
Are they ‘weaker section’ of the society? Or they are considered as disadvantaged group who
needs special attention? Or aren’t they considered equal with others? Human rights and
fundamental freedoms have been reiterated in the Universal Declaration Human Rights.
The Human Rights for women including girl child are, therefore, inalienable, integral and an
indivisible part of Universal Human Rights. All forms of discrimination on grounds of gender
is violative of fundamental freedoms and fights.”12

There are certain specific constitutional and statutory provisions pertaining to women which
further helps in eradicating the gender biasness and upliftment of women


Since the 1970s, the world has witnessed many national and international attempts to
eliminate disadvantages in all the domains of women’s daily lives. The UN decade for
women, which took place between 1976 and 1985, initiated the integration of women in the
development agenda. In 1979, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the

Valsamma Paul v. Cochin University (1996) 3 SCC 545

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Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and set up an agenda
for national action to end discrimination against women..The manifest function of the early
feminist movement in 1960s was the desire to vote and to have a voice, soon gave way to the
realization that women were treated unequally in other ways. The second wave of feminism
transpired at the turn of the 20th century. The increased entry of women into the workplace
beginning in the 20th century has affected gender roles and the division of labour within

Second-generation issues may be classified as topics like violence against women, sexual
harassment, marriage and divorce, women’s education, affirmative action, and the
reproductive rights of women. These issues have followed feminism into the 21st century;
derived the courage to speak out against the oppression suffered by women in relation to
these issues13.

In India, the voices against gender inequality and violence have never been louder. The
horrific rise in crimes against women, especially post the December-2012 gang-rape in New
Delhi, has led to widespread protests and demands for change across the nation. The incident,
which is often considered a landmark in the fight for women’s rights in India, has also led
to few reformative changes in the criminal justice system with provisions for stricter laws and
speedier convictions. However, legislative changes alone cannot reverse the current epidemic
of violence and injustice against women. The conversation today, therefore, is no longer just
about law and order; it also highlights a woman’s right to dignity, respect, and equality across
all spheres of public and personal life. Females should realize their own capabilities and
potentials which will strengthen their self- image and foster them with confidence to take
action in life. India’s current spate of crimes against women along with the age-old grip of
patriarchal laws and customs dictate an urgent need for gender-sensitive education and
upbringing. The sex ratio of India is 940 females per 1000 males which showed a rise in
equality from the 2001 census. “Females are outperforming males in primary and secondary
education and of course that is feeding through into participation into higher education as
well,”14this is the growing present situation. In some respects, the struggle is not over, and
obstacles to equality still exist in the present day; however, women now have the courage to

Morrison M.L. (2005). Elise Boulding: A life in the cause of peace. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc.
Mary Curnock Cook, the head of the admissions service, Ucas, published in The Telegraph, 19 th March, 2013,

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face these and other issues. Affirmative action enacted is a legal change to acknowledge and
do something for the times of neglect people were subjected to.



Women are always considered as in deplorable condition and vulnerable to all kinds of
exploitation. The main reasons behind that mind-set are that they are physically weak and the
biological differences, also the patriarchal society where a concept of domination plays a
role. The rise of feminism movements mainly aimed for gender neutrality, neither less nor
more than men. Those fighting for women’s rights are not fighting against men but fighting
against sexism. The point for consideration here is that whether women are considered as
disadvantaged in today’s world? The objective of such laws is to secure women from any
inhuman treatment, cruelty or injustice which they are often subject to and to punish the

From the above factors, we can interpret that economic, social, cultural, legal and political
factors are responsible for gender inequality in India. India needs to deactivate the gender
Inequality. The needs of the day are trends where girls are able not only to break out of the
culturally determined patterns of employment but also to offer advice about career
possibilities that looks beyond the traditional list of jobs. It is surprising that in spite of so
many laws, women still continue to live under stress and strain. To ensure equality of status
for our women we still have miles to go

Thus the answer to the question, whether women should still be considered as
‘disadvantaged’ is quite obvious and simple. There are laws being established for eradication
of gender biasness. Had the laws already implemented been executed in their letter and spirit,
India would have been a different place to live in. Thus, it is much evident that the need of
the hour is the stricter execution and not the abolition of gender biased laws though it is
undeniable that crimes against women are still on the rise.

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In the Constitution of India, the three pillars of human rights are the “Right to Equality”,
“The Six Vital Freedoms of Citizens” and the “Right to Life” guaranteed to all persons which
are being recognized as inalienable, unalterable and part of the basic structure of the
Constitution which cannot be abrogated..

Though the position of women has developed in the last four decades, however still they are
struggling to maintain their freedom and dignity. Presently Indian women are suffering from
the toughest time physically and mentally, mainly due to unawareness and lack of
information on legal and constitutional woman rights in India. The Constitution provides
many protection women rights such as Protective discrimination in favour of women, Right
of women against exploitation, Rights of women under directives, Right to freedom of
women and political representations of women.

The brief over view of the plight of women both internationally and nationally brings the
scenario to the fore, which men need to consider women as partners in progress. In a
traditional society like India, where many women goddess are worshipped with lot of
devotion and respect, when it comes to equal treatment of their biological partners, both men
and society keep them in low profile. Many a times they are considered as servants of the
home, and are looked at as sexual objects. Their economic capacity is deprived to make them
dependent on the male dominated society. The traditional, economic, social and cultural
disbeliefs and age old customary practices of intimidating cruel practices that are prevalent in
many parts of the world has to be halted with welcome sign of considering them as partners
in progress. Love, affection, care with utmost respect for the augmentation of their rights
alone would result in uplifting their rights and strengthen the international and national
efforts in realizing their rights as human beings.

Therefore, we as the citizens of India have a solemn responsibility to pledge ourselves to

promote the ideal of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar that social democracy alone could distance all the
evils that exist in the contemporary world, compared to that of political or legal democracy.

The Strict adherence to social democracy would certainly lead us to achieve the path shown
by international law of human rights to establish a World free from discrimination of any
kind towards the fellow men.

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There is a solution of every problem. For reducing gender inequality in India, we should
offer high level of education to girls and increase women empowerment. We should also give
them opportunity in active politics & social activities so that social integration in Indian
society can be made. Government should make policies & strategies regarding stopping the
sex identification & abortions. In context of above NGOs can also play an important role to
eradicate Gender Inequality. Politicians should frame out policies for increasing social
welfare development regarding this issue. The Campaign of our Prime Minister Mr. Narender
Modi “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” can be successful, when the mindset of Indian society will
be changed towards women.

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1. Seguino, Stephanie. (2006). “Gender Equality and Economic Growth: A Cross-
Country Analysis”, World Development, Vol. 28, No. 7, pp. 67-71
2. Kabeer, N (1999) 'From Feminist Insights to an Analytical Framework: An
Institutional Perspective on Gender Inequality


1. Santosh Ranganath N., Kama Raju T. (2009), “Gender Development in India:

Dimensions and Strategies”, Management Trends, Vol. 6, No. 1 & 2, ISSN: 0973-
9203, pp. 120-126
2. Priti Jha, Niti Naga (2015), “The international journal of Indian psychology, volume
2, Issue 3, ISSN 2348-5396 (e) | ISSN: 2349-3429 (p)

1. ,
04-03-2019 7:30pm
2. 04-03-

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