A friend shared, “[I’ve] never understood how a country that worships the female form (through Hinduism) has such a widespread misogynistic culture.”
My response was (a frank question) How often do you see a female as the head of the Temple?
There is a whole gambit of social issues that can provide fresh ground for gender inequalities in any society. In India one troubling bit is the troublingly low number of girls allowed to attend high school when compared to boys–building a misogynistic culture. I must agree with what my friend said, “Boy seeing girls with them at school as equals would break down a lot of stereotypes.”
The rule of law has a powerful influence in India, after all India is the worlds largest democracy. In a country built on law it should be easy to help support equality- just change the law. Unfortunately it isn’t that simple for India because it is riddled with corruption. Transparency International scores a 36 (out of 100 with 0 being most corrupt) on the 2012 Corruption Perception Index. To put it in perspective Columbia and Greece scored a 36 too.
650 cases of rape were reported in New Delhi According to the National Crime Records Bureau- 522 in 2011. Between 2007 and 2011 the instance of rape increased 9.7%. How does change come in India?
Last weeks incident may be common, but it has ignited a national outcry for change. India will change with a grassroots and cultural shift from within. This shift must be supported with law, but local and national corruption must change. Local activists- Indian nationalists are key to the change but a long term solution is rooted in the social, economic, and political values of the country.
As for the rest of the world- our best bet is supporting those working in the country to change the country.