Festival celebration among urban Indian Women and Freedom

Urban Indian women are in the public sphere like never before. In Bengaluru and Pune, thousands zoom around on motorbikes, scooters and in cars. In Tamil Nadu and Assam, where free bicycles were distributed to village schoolgirls, they sail along with demurely plaited hair, in their ankle-length skirts with the wind in their faces.

Festival celebration among urban Indian Women and Freedom  

 In the south, women now work in garages, the army and police. They're doing jobs once considered unseemly: waitressing, night shifts in IT companies and call centres. This year Indian women ranked 30th, beating Italian and Japanese women, in the league table of corporate world board members. In Maharashtra state, the courts ruled women no longer have to take their husband's surnames. And the supreme court controversially recognised live-in relationships.

Indian women also won honours in sports – from tennis, badminton and basketball, to boxing and wrestling. And for upper-middle-class women, the sky's the limit. Female pilots and engineers climb confidently into cockpits at every Indian airport.

The biggest surprise comes from Bihar, the poorest state in India, where a landmark number of women were elected to the state parliament. But there are still problems. And although we have laws in place to deal with them, they are rarely implemented.

The TrustLaw survey 2011 ranked India as the fourth most dangerous place for women because of trafficking, female foeticide and infanticide, dowry deaths, domestic violence and servitude. Pay disparities are the norm. We must act now to fight for justice for our women. Indian women are also fighting alcohol-related violence.

 Indigenous Adivasi women have the highest maternal mortality and starvation deaths. Dalit women face discrimination, rape, even being paraded naked in the streets – but the perpetrators go scot free, in spite of stringent laws. India still has a long way to go. We must arrive at a point where the purpose of a woman's existence means more than merely being a child-bearing slave.
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About Neha Nair

Despite being raised Hindu where parents enrolled in a Catholic school and proceeded to enroll in university to study medicine but become model cum entrepreneur.
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