It is tough being a woman in India. Girls get murdered in the womb, daughters are usually the first to be pulled out of school, legal rights that are on paper are often denied to wives in practice, some have to face violence at home and on the streets, work is given based on gender stereotypes, and even professional firms have glass ceilings.
The noisy debates on the proposed law to keep aside one-third of parliamentary seats for women centre on an imperfect way to give women more voice in decisions. But it is also time to be aware of the stark economic inequalities between Indian men and women.
A new report released on Monday by the United Nations Development Programme shows that the average Indian male earned more than three times the average Indian female did in 2007—$4,102 versus $1,304, based on purchasing power parity.
One possible reason is that women tend to get trapped in low-value work because it is deemed to be more suitable for them, including farm work in the villages and household work in the cities.