On Tuesday, Thomson Reuters Foundation, a London-based charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, released a list of countries which are perceived as most unsafe for women. The list puts India at the top, ahead of war-torn countries like Afghanistan (2nd), Syria (3rd) and Somalia. The list, which was prepared based on the views of 548 experts on women issues, was both surprising and shocking. Many of the Indian netizens called for introspection and some criticised the survey saying it is biased.
National Commission For Women(NCW), India’s apex body which looks into women’s rights and security, rejected the survey saying the sample size is too small and it can’t represent the whole country.
NCW Chief Rekha Sharma said she cannot believe that India’s is the worst countries for women considering there are many countries where the situation is even worse. She further said, “The countries that have been ranked after India have women who are not even allowed to speak in public.”
Yes FIR numbers have increased but I refuse to believe any report which says that India is at top in crimes against women. There are many other countries where situation is worse: Rekha Sharma,National Commission for Women pic.twitter.com/z8RIqnkJWf
— ANI (@ANI) June 27, 2018
How the report was prepared
In 2011, Thomson Reuters Foundation has carried out the same survey where India was ranked fourth. Seven years back, the survey had listed Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia as the top five unsafe countries. This year survey was expanded to ten countries among 193 United Nations member states.
The report looked at if the situation of women has improved in comparison to 2011 when it comes to healthcare, discrimination, customary practices, sexual violence, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.
The list of experts was compiled from a database of women’s rights experts created by Thomson Reuters Foundation team. The experts were asked to list countries on the basis of the six categories.
The 548 experts from Europe, Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific, were contacted by phone or in-person. The idea behind having experts from each continent to have fair representation from both developing and developed countries.
Why Is India On The List?
India is the only country which got listed in all the six categories. It ranked first in three of the categories – the risk of sexual violence and harassment against women, the danger women face from cultural, tribal and traditional practices, and the country where women are most in danger of human trafficking including forced labour, sex slavery and domestic servitude.
India ranked fourth in healthcare access for women and third in discrimination faced by women in terms of job, education, owning of land and inheritance.
Monique Villa, chief executive officer, Thomson Reuters Foundation, in her blog has said that the perception results are backed by statistics and added there is a rape almost every 20 minutes in India, and a crime against women every three minutes.
In an interview to Indiaspend, she said, “When only 10% of women in India own land compared to 20% globally, femicide rates are the highest in the world, there are 37 million more men than women in the Indian population, and 27% of girls are married before the age of 18 – also the highest rate in the world- you begin to understand the reality in India.”
The reports say that a country of 1.3 billion population and where the economy is booming, India has failed to do enough for its women. Rape culture has become endemic and patriarchy is one of the reasons for the deplorable condition of women.
Even though 2012 Nirbhaya rape created outrage and change in the law, the situation has not changed for the better, instead, it seems to have become worse.