An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Single Women in India: Fight for Rights

In US and in other Western countries, it is easier for single women – with or without kids – to live a life. Its not so easy in India.

To start with there are numerous taboos and stigmas. Widows face issues of ritualistic society where she is either thoroughly tortured by making her live a sub-human lifestyle in traditional societies or she is charitably “rehabilitated” by mass weddings. There is very little understanding of the issues that a single woman faces and the realization that she is like any other human being – full of goals, aspirations, and of course, yes.. desires. That she can have a career like a man and a full life without one!

This situation is strange because there are 36 million women in India (as per the 2001 census) – which is more than the entire population of Canada! And btw, this number only includes those who are legally divorced, separated and widowed. It leaves out those who have been abandoned, deserted and remain unmarried.

In recent years, Single Women in India have been trying to group together to make their voice heard and not be dictated in a man’s world. Associations like Association of Single Strong Women have been formed all over the country in most of the 28 states and are doing creditable work. National Forum for Single Women’s Rights, for example, pursues an intelligent agenda which comprises two goals:

– changing societal attitudes that contribute to the rejection of single women
– lobbying nationally for the allocation of more federal resources for the group’s efforts on behalf of widows, other single women and their children

This group also rejects the customary ways to “rehabilitate” – remarry or enter shelter homes.

Reference Links:

1. India’s Single Women Resist Stigma, Demand Rights

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