Women are the most disadvantaged members of the Indian population. Almost twice as many girls die before the age of five than boys. 40% of India's women are literate compared to 64 percent males. Only 43 percent of Indian girls attend primary school compared to 62 percent of boys.
Though India has made progress in reforming laws that protect women from old cruel traditions like dowry deaths, sati (the burning of a widow on the husband's funeral pyre), the situation of women is still alarming. Abduction of women , sexual harassment, trafficking of women and children and domestic violence are only some of the problems Indian women face.
In ancient India women in many places occupied an equal if not superior position to the men. Ancient India was permissive; women could have multiple husbands, widows could remarry, divorce was permitted in certain cases.
The Hindu religion has many goddeses who enjoyed equal status with their husbands.
Presently the picture seems to be very different: there are horrendous stories of "dowry deaths", stories of female infanticide, women in small towns and villages are victimized by their husbands and families.
Society continues to treat widows, divorcees, and abandoned women with contempt.
The problems Indian women face are same as those faced by women in many other nations. Additionally there are some unique problems in India for women.
a) The dowry system.
The bride's family has to pay a large sum of money to the husband. Brides that cannot meet the husband's expectations are sometimes harrased or even killed by the husband or his mother.
b) Desire for a male baby.
Many women are forced to have an abortion if they carry a baby girl. Sometimes baby infants are murdered by the parents. To have a baby girl is considered a punishment for the mothe"rs sins.
c) Unequal share of inharitance.
In most Hindu families, only the sons inherit the wealth of the parents.
d) Ill treatment of widows.