For the first time in New Delhi, I will take the subway, a modern and well-functioning means of transport that breaks away from traditional bicycle rickshaws and cars. Once inside the station, I see in horror the long queue for the body scanner that I have to go through to be able to take part in my metro experience. Soon I am instead referred to the women's side. There are two separate queues. I sigh lightly as there is no queue for the women and I can go right through. But then it strikes me: there is no queue! So few women are out in relation to men. India, a country with a now prosperous economy and a country that is increasingly emerging as an important political player in the world. But also a country where women are ranked among the most oppressed in the world. India has undergone a modernization journey in recent decades, but seems to have lost half of its fellow passengers.
Being born a girl in India often involves difficulties even at the first breath. Women are traditionally considered not suitable for (paid) work and can thus not contribute to the family's livelihood but are only considered to be responsible for expenses. The alternative then becomes marriage. Due to the dowry, a gift that the woman's family owes to the man, it is known that this will also lead to a more difficult financial situation for the family. A daughter is therefore often seen at birth as a burden and is treated accordingly. What does it do to men's views of women? And what does it do to women's views of themselves and their self-worth? My female Indian friends testify to the difficulties of daily life. About the anxiety of moving outside alone after dark, how the man is expected to bring the woman's action and about how they are completely unabashedly examined up and down by men in the city. It is not unlikely that society's low value of women goes hand in hand with the high rate of violence against women and the low rate of female political participation. In addition, there is a risk that this will probably continue as long as the world's political and economic giants continue to happily pound India in the back.
The aspiration of the country's government for a strong position in the world can be used for other than for-profit purposes, the outside world can make demands. Countries and companies that enter into cooperation with India have a responsibility not to close their eyes. Do not turn a blind eye to the 27 percent of girls who are married off before the age of 18, to the 1,2 million who are trafficked and to the millions of girls who would have been alive today if they had not been aborted due to the reluctance to have a daughter . The outside world must not allow India's increasingly important role in the world as an excuse to keep an eye on the oppression to which women are subjected on a daily basis.
If demands are made from outside, women can ride the train, and in the future I can hopefully be annoyed at the long queue for women through the security check to the metro.