Daily Current Affairs – 16th November, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
Crimes against women- Trends and Analysis
Findings of National Crime Records Bureau
- As per findings by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) serious crimes against women have risen from 237 per day in 2001 to 313 per day in 2015.
- In addition to this, there have been huge inter-state variations in the their occurrence.
- Delhi, Haryana and Assam were the 3 worst states in terms of crimes against women in 2001 and 2015.
- Crimes range from rape, kidnapping and abduction, dowry deaths and cruelty by family members and out of all these crimes, rapes constitute almost one-third of the crimes.
- All sections of the females such as minor girls, adolescent and old women have frequently been victims of brutal rapes and murders.
- Higher incidence of crimes during 2001-2015 coupled with low conviction rate suggests that women are more vulnerable to serious crimes.
Factors influencing women crimes
- An increase in State GDP (per capita) leads to a reduction in the incidence of serious crimes against women.
- Greater affluence and an increasing sex ratio both help in reducing the occurrence of such crimes. However, a skewed sex ratio undermines the impact of affluence. Example: Delhi and Haryana continue to be the worst States despite being affluent because of the very low sex ratio.
- Reduction of alcoholism and substance abuse among men or better treatment of these addictions especially in more affluent states reduces the probability of sexual or physical assaults on women.
- Two other major factors include female literacy and labour force participation because both these factors help in increasing the female bargaining power.
- In such case women also face a backlash from male spouses especially those who are unemployed. Such partners try to assert their superiority by retaliatory physical and sexual violence.
- A joint effect of female literacy and labour force participation is favourable, though less than the positive individual effects of female literacy and labour force participation. Exit options for literate and employed women, facing brutality and harassment in marriage, are more viable. Hence, this can help in reducing domestic violence.
- The higher the rural/urban population, the higher the incidence of serious crimes against women.
- Religion is a very key factor. This can be understood from the finding that there is higher frequency of domestic violence and dowry-related violence among Hindus than in Muslims.
- Exposure to media through various languages has dual effect one of better reporting of crimes and a deterrence effect. A combined positive effect of both leads to reduction in serious crimes. Example: The Delhi Nirbhaya rape case wherein media activism led to quick arrest of accused.
The rate of crimes on women between Census 2001 and Census 2011 is as below:
Picture Credit: http://s3.firstpost.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/01_crimes-against-women-overview.jpg
Role of Governance
- Amartya Sen as a part of studies on gender equality has popularised the concept of “missing women” and also emphasised that rape and other serious crimes against women are related to inefficient policing and judicial systems.
- The quality of governance in States is the key to understanding the huge variation in incidence of serious crimes against women.
- Using the measures of governance as per a recent study, it is seen that the incidence of serious crimes against women declines with better governance.
- Poor rate of women participation in voting during elections and poor electoral participation leads to policy implementation which lacks support of representatives for women oriented policies. Due to this adequate focus on women preferences is not laid.
- On the basis of the above findings, we need to observe that if the crimes against women are still rising despite greater affluence and increase in the sex ratio during 2001-15, the answer must lie in effective governance and improvement of the sex ratios in certain states such as Bihar, Delhi and Maharashtra.
- This is one of the biggest problems faced by the developing world in modern times. Therefore, along with governance, the role of democracy needs to be explored in solving the missing women’s problem.
- The patriarchal mindset of the society needs to be changed. This leads to lack of inheritance rights, denial of participation in decision making, poor workforce participation, lack of empowerment and continued financial dependency on male members of the family.
- The worsening sex ratio has to be addressed at the earliest to avoid gross neglect of women. Preference for a male child is a major cause for mistreatment of young girls, thus leading to crimes against them.
Connecting the dots
- Reducing the occurrence of crimes against women is one of the most important agenda for the developing countries of the world. Analyse how measures other than legislations and judicial interventions can help India achieve this target.
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