Okay, so in this section we're going to be looking at some of the continuities and paradoxes that face Indian women today. And we'll start with looking at the issue of missing women in India. Now the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen pointed in 1990 that roughly 50 million women were missing in India, another 50 million are missing were missing in China. And they're missing in the sense that their potential existence had been eliminated. That we should see more women in the population than we currently see. Let me explain. When we're talking about the sex ratio, we're talking about the ratio, the numbers of men in relation to the number of women. Now at birth typically, in any given population, there will be more boys that are born, usually around 105 boys for every 100 girls that are born. And this is biological, it tends to pretty much stay the same across different different cultural and economic contexts. Now over time we find that women, again, biologically, live longer, and assuming that the levels of nutrition and life experiences are roughly the same between men and women, that there will be more women surviving than there would be men. So that the ratio of women to men on average, particularly in developed countries, tends to be a little bit more. That there would be more women than there would be men in developed countries. So typically about 105 women to 100 men. Now, in India we see a significant reversal of this typical trend. In India and China, but we're, we're speaking now to India. Where you see that the numbers of men per 100 females, as you can see in this, in this graph over here has been going up. So, for instance, if we look at it in 1940-41, it was 105 men. And that's been increasing up to 1971 where you, you have 107 men. and these years, 41, 51, 61, 91, 2011, mark the census years. So in in 91 it was, it peaked at at around 107 males per 100 females, it's since then marginally declined to 106. But we're still looking at several several more men than there are women, or than there should be women. You can flip the numbers around the other way in terms of looking at the number of women per 100 or per 1,000 men. And so for instance, if we look at the number of females per 100 males, the sex ratio would be - 927 is the overall census, the 2001 census for sex ratio for females against males was 927. Now there are, significant variations within the states in this ratio. So for instance Kerala has a very positive sex ratio and you have more women than there are men. And Tamil Nadu is another state with a fairly positive sex ratio. Though it's still not more, it's hovering around 986 females per 1,000 men. In contrast, if you look at some of the states with the lowest figures, you've got Punjab at 874 or Haryana at 861. So some states are very low in terms of their sex ratio. Now, what does this mean? Why are there these missing women in India? And what accounts for it? Now, there's considerable debate on it, and in his article in the New York Times, Amartya Sen debunks this notion, the rather simplistic notion, that this is accounted for by economic underdevelopment. Because he argues that this is not, a phenomenon that's related to the fact that India is or was a poor country or that or that this is not a phenomenon that that we're seeing only amongst the poorest households. In fact Punjab and Haryana are amongst the richest states in India. So that's the first point that counters this idea that it's due to economic underdevelopment. But another fact that counters this idea is that in Sub-Saharan Africa, where you see much higher levels of poverty, you still have a fairly equal sex ratio in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. So the idea that this is due to economic underdevelopment needs to be put aside, and we need to look really at what are the reasons why so many women and girls are missing. And the answer is to be found in social and cultural factors. In the kind of discrimination against women and girls in India that is severe enough to make the life chances of women and girls in particular much more difficult, where for instance you have a dismal situation of practices of sex selection, even before birth to ensure that the preference for a male child is in fact fulfilled. So over here, when we see one of the peak, the rise is following the introduction of ultrasonography technology in India, where women, where families were now able to ascertain the sex of a child during pregnancy. And if it was not a female child, that that foetus could then be aborted. Now due to the advocacy of the women's movement in India, you had the sort of banning of the use of ultrasonography for sex selection. However, the practice does continue, not withstanding the legislative ban. And we have to understand that just having this law in place is not going to be enough - a law banning ultrasound technology. That it's really about the the wider social devaluation of women and girls. And that devaluation is also internalised by women themselves. Because for their own future, women perceive that if they had a male child that that male child would be the one who would support them in their old age. And so they too want a male child rather than than a female child who is seen as the daughter you give away to another family and therefore, not worth investing in. So this perception of women and girls as not worth investing in and also, the fact that women don't have independent right to property, and don't have access to property, means that they are also devalued socially and so you have some preference in the Indian context. Now it runs deep, the social preference for males. And not withstanding all of the sort of positive legislative interventions that we've seen in the past few decades, continues to be a concern. And particularly if we look at the sex ratio for girls, or young girls in the age between zero to six the figures are much more alarming. And in 2011 when the census figures reported a further decline in the sex ratio for young girls there were some interventions that were adopted by the government of India. However unless we're actually speaking to the kind of discrimination that women face, women and girls face within families, within communities, within societies, we're not going to see significant change unless these behaviours are significantly changed. So that's the first sort of significant marker of the declining status of women. I'm going to turn now to the second of the key issues that has been an ongoing bone of contention within the Indian political sphere. And if you recall in the first section I talked about the advance that was made by the fact of reservations for women in local self-government. So I was talking about political reservations - one-third of the seats in panchayats or local self-governments being made available for women. However, when there was a move to extend reservations for women at the state and national levels, at the at the level of the state legislative assemblies and the national parliament, you had a huge amount of opposition to the introduction of what was known as the Women's Reservation Bill in 1996. Now in the Lok Sabha, which is the lower house of parliament, of the national parliament, you have less than 10% of the elected representatives in the Lok Sabha are are women. And this bill basically calls for a one-third reservation of parliamentary seats for women. It's not unprecedented. Other countries have instituted similar kinds of reservation, particularly if we look at a country like Rwanda or Afghanistan. However this bill has been opposed for multiple reasons ever since it was first proposed. And currently, although it was passed in 2010 by the Rajya Sabha, it's still pending in the Lok Sabha. Now you may ask, if we've introduced reservations at the local level of local self-government, what is the reason why there's such opposition to this bill at the national level or at the state level? Now to understand the politics behind this you need to also understand the politics of caste within India. And there is another section of this subject, Contemporary India, that talks in greater detail about caste. But what I will put forward here is this idea that the blocking of the the Women's Reservation Bill has come primarily from the the Scheduled Caste and other backward classes, who have in the decade of the 1980s and the 1990s gained considerable political clout and managed to secure a large percentage of seats within the national parliament. Now much of the opposition to the bill has come from these quarters, where they are arguing, people from these parties, from parties that represent the interests of OBCs, other backward classes and the Scheduled Caste, are arguing that the bill, as it currently stands, would benefit women from the privileged strata of society. And they have been pushing very strongly for reservations to contain within them a sub-quota where some of the reservations would be for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe women. So that's one one very strong argument against against the bill. Other arguments against the bill are, are that the bill would, again the biwi-bahu-beti brigade kind of argument that the daughters and the daughters-in-law and the wives of current male politicians would be the ones who would benefit and this would, that this would be undemocratic. A third ground for opposition to the Reservation Bill is that reservations are against the principle of equality enshrined on in the Constitution. And that it would have the effect of reverse discrimination. And it would also stigmatise those whom it was suppose to benefit. The people in the reserved category, whether they're women or whether they're Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. And then the fourth issue of concern was whether it's necessarily the case that women politicians are the only ones capable of representing women's issues politically. And that men can also be representing women's issues. And then finally, there were some who argued that reservations shouldn't be at the level of reservation of the seats in parliament, but that reservations should be at the level of parties distributing their tickets to candidates who were standing for election. However, the single, largest argument has been… the single, largest argument that has blocked the passing of the Women's Reservation Bill has been the moves from the regional political parties from UP and Bihar. That it would only benefit women from the upper castes and who would then stand to gain from this the reservation of 33% seats for women. So as you can see, this has proved quite a contentious issue. It's, as yet, unresolved. And even within the women's movement, feminists might take quite varied positions on which would be the best possible solution to ensuring women have a greater political say. With that I'm going to bring this section to a close. In the next section, we will be talking a little bit more about other issues that continue to be concerns of women. And specifically we'll be looking at the issue of violence against women.