Archives For November 2013

Less than one-in-three households in Indian villages have toilets, a dire situation that poses major safety risks for women who are often attacked while using communal bathrooms.

Lack of sanitation access has long been a concern in India, but advocates hope to make an intensive push for better facilities on the UN’s inaugural World Toilet Day, a campaign that raises awareness for the fact that 2.5 billion people live without toilets. Continue Reading…

Child bride Krishna, 13, stands with her husband Kishan Gopal, 15, inside a newly constructed room at her house in a village near Baran, located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, July 17, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Despite laws banning child marriage in South Asia, deep-rooted social acceptance of the practice and a failure by authorities to crack down and punish perpetrators has led a culture of impunity in the region, the Center for Reproductive Rights said on Friday.

According to a new report by the New York-based charity, 25,000 children worldwide, most of whom are girls under the age of 18, are married every day – with the South Asia region accounting for almost half of all child marriages.

Yet the practice – which activists say is a gross violation of human rights, exposing young girls to a multitude of abuses such as rape, domestic violence and forced pregnancies – continues unabated largely due to government inaction. Continue Reading…

Reference: SC = Scheduled Castes & ST = Scheduled Tribes (all part of lower castes)

The literacy rate among scheduled castes and tribes remains well below the rest of India’s population, but the gap has closed significantly in the last decade. During this period (2001-2011), ST and SC women made the most rapid progress, latest census data reveals.

Data released earlier this week shows a 14.6 percentage point increase in literacy among ST and SC women over the decade, compared to a jump of 10 percentage points for non-SC/ST women. The literacy rate of ST men and SC men has jumped by 9.4 and 8.5 percentage points, respectively, compared to just 4.8 percentage points among non-SC/ST men.

The pattern of SC and ST women showing a higher increase in literacy holds good across almost all states, and in both rural and urban areas. Of course, the base was very low to start with in the case of both women and men in the two communities, compared to the general population. Continue Reading…