STTI Chapter at Purdue University, October 4, 2015.
With a focus on gender inequality this week, the Purdue Chapter of STTI delved into the statistics of gender inequality in Indian society to understand the extent of the issue.
This was followed up with an interaction with Dr. Mangala Subramaniam, Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Purdue University.
Some of the questions explored during the discussion: Why is there more violence in joint families? Why are the laws that are made on sexual abuse not implemented/enforced in a strong manner? How is the power distribution affecting the physical and mental abuse of women in families?
The issue of violence on women is a complex one, and for many of us who come from the urban, modern, “shining” India, it is easy to overlook the extent of the problem. Thus, it was invaluable to have Dr.Subramaniam’s deep insights on the matter.
Our members recently spoke to some of the world’s finest astronautical researchers and students in Purdue University, the alma mater of 23 astronauts including Neil Armstrong, about India’s Mangalyaan mission to Mars. Take a look!
“Who were Nero’s guests? What sort of a mindset did it require for you to pop one more fig into your mouth as another human being burst into flames? What sort of mindset did it require for you to drop those grapes into your jaws as another pathetic person on a stake burned to provide you illumination?
These were the sensitive elite of Rome. These were the poets, the singers, the musicians, the artists, the historians, the intelligentsia. How many of them raised a protest? How many of them put up their hands to say, this is wrong and this should not happen and cannot continue? To the best of our knowledge … nobody did that. For me, I always wondered, who were Nero’s guests? After five and a half years of covering farmer’s suicides, I think I have my answer. I think you have the answer.
I tell you this — We can differ on how to solve this problem. We can differ on even our analysis of the problem. But maybe we can make one starting point. We can all agree that we will not be Nero’s guests.”
~ P. Sainath
Based on a recent group discussion, the STTI Chapter at Purdue explored the issue of fuel subsidies in India, and its long-term systemic consequences.
Energy subsidies have wide-ranging economic consequences. While aimed at protecting consumers, subsidies aggravate fiscal imbalances, crowd-out priority public spending, and depress private investment, including in the energy sector. Subsidies also distort resource allocation by encouraging excessive energy consumption, artificially promoting capital-intensive industries, reducing incentives for investment in renewable energy, and accelerating the depletion of natural resources. Most subsidy benefits are captured by higher-income households, reinforcing inequality. Even future generations are affected through the damaging effects of increased energy consumption on global warming.
According to a UNICEF study, nearly 3 out of every 5 male teens in India think wife beating is justified.
The typical dodge that we tend to use on hearing such appalling numbers is to say that the “cultural elite” are disconnected from the evil ways of some distant segment of our population who cause these disturbing figures. But based on observations from our own lives we realized that if we really open our eyes, India’s “cultural elite” (aka you and me) are definitely guilty of propagating troubling misogynistic attitudes.
In this context we discussed, a survey by the United Nations Population Fund, that revealed that two-thirds of married Indian women claimed to have been beaten, or forced into sex by their husbands. We unanimously emphasized that every women should have the liberty to just say NO! and have her rights protected. We discussed the realities of the sex trade industry in India that is completely based on the exploitation and oppression of women.
Through the course of the discussion we also analyzed the concern that the patriarchy in our society is so phenomenally powerful and pervasive that a lot of the times women do not even realize that they are being pushed into adopting stances that compromise their dignity and liberty. The fact that in the same UNICEF study, 53 percent of GIRL teens think wife beating is justified illustrates this point.
As a further exploration, we have created this infographic on Marital Rape: