Once women were worshipped as goddesses in India. Gradually their status deteriorated. Historical, religious and social compulsions made them virtual slaves to men folk. Centuries of maltreatment and oppression resulted in the total loss of their separate identity and individuality. Today the greatest numbers of crimes are committed against them.
They are harassed, tortured and ill-treated. The lure of making easy money has led to outrageous demands for dowry. Brides are harassed and burnt alive if they do not bring sufficient dowry. Many girls commit suicide to save their parents from humiliation. Some choose to remain unmarried. Some become call-girls and prostitutes. The prejudice against the girl child is the result of all these factors.
Today it is possible to determine the sex of the unborn child. This has led to the abhorrent practice of female feticide. Eve-teasing is common, for women are considered objects of sex. Abduction and rape are everyday occurrences. Even minor girls are not spared.
Working women are exploited everywhere. Women are criminally assaulted in police lock-ups and even so-called protective homes are not safe for them. Ironically, they bear the brunt of hostility between their men folk. The remedy lies in women's education and economic independence. Stringent laws with no loopholes must be made to protect the interests of women. Above all, the moral atmosphere of the society must undergo a complete transformation.