Gender in India

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The History of Gender in India

The purpose of this paper is to establish the history of Gender in India and the problems faced by gender bias to promote the fight for gender equality and women empowerment around the globe. In India, gender was central to the experience of colonialism even though India itself was the basis of gender inequality since Islam and Hindu religions both viewed women as substitutes. According to the Hindu, women were only created to provide men with company, and enable procreation, the continuation of the lineage and for women posterity. The issue of gender dates back to 1820 during the Sati institution and later during the conflicts in India regarding the age of consent and widow remarriage. The poor status of women in India attracted the attention of missionaries' reforming zeal, the metropolitan liberals and the colonial legislators. Since then to date, there has been unending campaigns and movements fighting for the rights of women in India. India has however remained a gender-biased country until most recently and was even ranked 130 out of 146 in the index of gender inequality released in 2016 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This paper will enable an exploration of the aspect of gender and equality in India and the changing forms of the concept in the modern-day world. Through the paper, aspects of gender can be studied as a conventional practice and as an ideology used in underpinning hierarchy in society to shape the lives of men and women.

Research Questions

This research will come in handy in solving the problem of Gender inequality in India and across the globe and also in fostering stronger political discourse because the nationalists, reformers and conservatives in India, while family and women are considered potent symbols that conveying numerous classes, national and community identities, it has been an uphill task to bring gender equality to this country. Gender inequality is a concept that extends over numerous facets of society and political participation is mostly viewed as a major factor that can be employed to solve this situation. Representative governance and electoral politics, however, are full of gender bias. Politics is additionally complicated since the main factor for understanding the concept of gender inequality lies in the difference between female and male voters. In this regard, the worldwide voter turnout for female has experienced considerable improvement since the 1990s but the number of female candidates in political seats has remained stagnant. As such, there is a need to find alternative means to ensure gender equality which does not involve politics. This research will, therefore, reinforce an understanding of gender in India since the colonial time to date, the challenges that each gender faces and how they can be overcome, with precise focus on women.

Intra-household Violence and Women Empowerment

When intra-household violence in India was normalized, it brought huge detriment to women welfare in the country. Women have been mishandled and crimes against them doubled between 1990 and 2011. Data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) in India reports that more than 40 percent of married women experience either physical, emotional or sexual violence from their spouses. The current policy treatise in India recommends that as a way of women empowerment, they should be given more employment posts. However, data from the NFHS indicates that the correlation between the exposure of women to domestic violence and their involvement in the labor force is rather disturbing. According to the NFHS, women who may have been employed over the past one year show a higher pervasiveness of violence as compare to those who were never employed at all. This research will, therefore, be used for advocating multi-faceted tactics for empowering women beyond simply focusing on politics and labor force participation, but strongly considering extra-household bargaining power.

Gender and Masculinity in India

Colonialism has in more subtle ways presented upsetting issues for masculinity and men in India. Political leaders and religious transformation societies with varied opinions pursued to create a moral vision both for gender and for men within a family, nation and community setting especially since there were unsettling proclamations of rights and freedom for women. The issue of gender and masculinity relating to property rights, class, and community assumed more importance in the 1930s when the Muslim and Hindu leaders discussed personal laws. This heightened gender's significance in the country and there were more trajectories set in the field of gender. This resulted in women being included in all levels of politics and there was hope for women empowerment to succeed although this did not exactly happen because several years down the line, women are still treated unfairly. This research will assist researchers in their studies of the several regional societies which have witnessed violent backlash against the development of liberty for young women, even so, skewed gender ratio indicates that present-day India still values sons more than daughters.

Research Methodology

This research will be conducted in a variety of ways including conducting surveys aimed at finding out finer detailed concerning the issue of gender in India, carrying out studies on published documents relating to gender in India, one on one interviews and interviews with questionnaires. The main methodology for the research, however, will be reviewing published articles, journals and books from the 19th century to date and establishing how gender was treated in India during this time, and at the present so as to arrive at a common ground. The surveys will equally come in handy since surveys present an unbiased way to make decisions based on real facts and not speculation.

Work Plan

The research is expected to take place In a span of six months beginning with the surveys followed by the interviews and lastly reviewing the published media on the topic. Reviewing journals, articles and books will take the longest time since there are countless publications on the internet that will need to be reviewed one after the other. Researching these media will also provide a more conclusive information which will be compared to the other researches to come up with a perfect research completion. While it is important to have a schedule, this research will be carried out in a more open manner without following any particular schedule but paying attention to significant aspects that will inform the final research outcome.


Purkayastha, B., Subramaniam, M., Desai, M., & Bose, S. (2003). The study of gender in India: A partial review. Gender & Society, 17(4), 503-524.

Derné, S. (2008). Globalization on the ground: New media and the transformation of culture, class, and gender in India. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Menon, N. (2009). Sexuality, caste, governmentality: contests over ‘gender’in India. Feminist Review, 91(1), 94-112.

Benería, L., Berik, G., & Floro, M. (2015). Gender, development, and globalization: economics as if all people mattered. Routledge.

Dhar, D., Jain, T., & Jayachandran, S. (2018). Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Attitudes: Evidence from India. The Journal of Development Studies, 1-21.

Scott, K., George, A. S., Harvey, S. A., Mondal, S., Patel, G., & Sheikh, K. (2017). Negotiating power relations, gender equality, and collective agency: are village health committees transformative social spaces in northern India?. International journal for equity in health, 16(1), 84.

Barcellos, S. H., Carvalho, L. S., & Lleras-Muney, A. (2014). Child gender and parental investments in India: Are boys and girls treated differently?. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(1), 157-89.

November 24, 2023
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Gender Equality Gender India

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