In Haryana, north-western state of India, the issue of gender disparity is quite critical. The state has a dismal record on gender issues. In Hariyana, women and Dalit women in particular are often denied access to justice if kind of violence imparted on them. Haryana has the dubious distinction of having the worst male-female ratio among all states.
Savita, CPI -M State Secretariat Member and AIDWA Haryana General Secretary, is talking about the problem persisting in her state and about the CPI-M led efforts to uplift women in the state.
Haryana is a highly male-dominated state. Even though girls in the state are ahead of men in many arenas including education, families do not want to give birth to a girl child. BJP government is trying to save their face by launching projects like Bedi Bachao Bedi Padavo. They are spending crores on making advertisements for it. But the right course of action had to be taken from the grassroot level. That does not happen. Therefore, there is no change in the social situation of the state.
Government is not taking any necessary action to provide better education to girls. The condition of government schools is deplorable, they do not have teachers for most subjects and no secure transport facilities for girls to go school safely. Many schools do not even have toilets. Violence against women is also on the rise in the shadow of the BJP government. They provide all securities to the culprits. Along with all this, poverty and inflation are on the rise. In these situations, families decide that they need a single child and that should be a boy. Due to this mentality female foeticide is on the rise in Haryana.
The ruling BJP government is demanding that girls should be confined to their houses. But recently, Haryana women have been making a big difference by coming out of their houses and demanding for their rights. This is evident in the farmers' agitation and the agitation led by the Anganwadi workers in Haryana.
Differentiation at workplace
Haryana is a major contributor to the country's food production. It is estimated that 72% of the farm workers here are women. They constantly have to work hard from 4am to 9-10pm. But men are preferred in office and government jobs. Women are overrepresented in only a few occupations, such as teachers and nurses. CPI-M is agitating for reservation in jobs for women. But the government, which believes that a woman's responsibility is only to take care of the family, is not interested in such changes.
Women as commodity
Haryana has one of the worst sex ratios in the country. The men here do not have enough women to marry and they are setting up marriage with girls from other states including Kerala, Bangalore, UP, Bihar etc. In most cases men buy women through brokers. Here the women are treated like a commodity and keep them locked inside the house until they have a baby, without even letting them out.
These women are from a completely different social background. Their language, culture and cuisine are very different. They are sexually abused by many within husband's family. Sadly, they are unable to communicate it with anyone. Democratic Women's Association, is constantly pressuring the government to keep track of the number of girls brought to Haryana from other states and ensure justice for them. The CPI-M seeks to identify girls who are experiencing such problems and offer them support and assistance.
CPI–M for social empowerment
Under the leadership of the CPI-M, efforts are being made to change the social conditions in Haryana. All India Democratic Women's Association's activities to resist violence against women and honor killings are internationally recognized. Under the leadership of the CPI-M organising a number of awareness programs and seminars to put an end to the patriarchal practises of Haryana. We are trying to create awareness among local communities on such issues. Apart from this, the party is agitating against the anti-people policies of the BJP government, labour issues, inflation etc.
All other political organisation, including Congress is inactive when it comes to create a change in the society.