Women form half of humanity. But it is a sad fact, distressing and telltaling that they do not enjoy the kind of security and protection they need and should be given. And as a result they not only have to face harassment of sorts from homes to educational institutions, and from marketplaces to offices but are exploited at the hands of the so-called ‘protectors’. This is the natural corollary of the status we have given to this largely vulnerable section of society.
A new survey has named our largest democracy among the top five countries in the world that are considered ‘most dangerous places’ for women. TrustLaw website – a product of the Thomson Reuters Foundation – has placed us as 4th most dangerous as far as dealing with women is concerned. TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five continents and based its survey on overall perceptions of danger as well as six risks: health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. Some experts are of the view that the poll showed that subtle dangers such as discrimination that don’t grab headlines are sometimes just as significant risks for women as bombs, bullets, stonings and systematic rape in conflict zones. Up to 50 million girls are thought to be ‘missing’ over the past century due to largely practised female infanticide and foeticide.
This is no revelation that TrustLaw has brought to us. This is what other studies and reports have said earlier as well. The question is how we can change the situation for the better.
A close study of the issue reveals that only Islam guarantees a dignified social status to women. This is not a tall claim but a fact that can be put on the anvil of comparative study of the various scriptures. If you turn the pages of history, you will find the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) giving good tidings to those from among his followers who bring up two or three (and even one) daughters, provide them with good education and marry them off with utmost dignity. Again in the injunction of purdah, which has been a taboo to the Orientalists and western scholars alike, out of ignorance or hatred against Islam, lies the dignity of young girls and women. This is only a glimpse of the status Islam has given to the womenfolk. And this is why out of every four persons coming to the fold of Islam in Europe, America and other developed countries, one is a woman.
The civil society, social scientists, non-governmental organisations, media, judiciary and the government, all should take up this issue with all seriousness and try their level best to remove this stigma from the face of the nation.