India world's most dangerous place for women Says the Thomson Reuters Foundation report - central government rejects

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It’s simple enough to disparage the Thomson Reuters Foundation report which was released earlier this week which held that India is the world’s most dangerous place for women. 

It’s simple enough to disparage the Thomson Reuters Foundation report which was released earlier this week which held that India is the world’s most dangerous place for women.

As events stand, the government as well as the civil society activists and the ordinary observers are likely to agree upon one thing and that is the hair-raising and horrific Nirbhaya episode of December 2012, as nothing much appears to have changed in the country as more and more shocking cases have taken place.

While being critical of the report even on well-reasoned grounds is one thing, we would do well to realise at least to ourselves that the condition of women in the country is extremely bad. Applying super-sanctimony and super-patriotism is just not the answer in dealing with the questions which are to be raised by the Thomson Reuters report, no matter how silly the methodology.

First, it has not surveyed women anywhere. Nor has it wrestled with data, taking comparability into account, or interpretations of data, for or from the 193 countries. It has merely consulted 548 “experts” around the world and has put together their “perceptions”. The names of its experts aren’t revealed, so their credentials can’t be assessed. Such a report would, ordinarily, elicit a “F” for fail in any decent university system.

In this report, completely unlike countries have been compared — for instance, India and the United States — which has become the only Western nation placed among the top 10 dangerous places for women.

The “MeToo” movement in the United States has starkly brought out the sexual exploitation of women in America even in high-income areas like the movie world, and there is episodic evidence that the sexual oppression is not limited to this category. But India is a wholly different ballgame in terms of the contours of society, poverty, illiteracy, the relative absence of individual choice compared to the West, and several other factors.

This is nothing, however. The report compares conflict zones like Afghanistan and Syria (both Muslim countries) not only with non-conflict Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, but also all of these with places like India and the US. And India tops the list for being the most dangerous when “danger” has not been defined or explained.

The truth, perhaps, is that no nation can be classified as the “most dangerous”, while the majority of societies will be deemed very bad or rough or dangerous, for women and for all disadvantaged or dependent sections, no matter how they are categorised.

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