Dalit Women Essay

1475 Words 6 Pages
'Have the efforts of the United Nations together with the State improved the lives of Dalit women in India 's lowest caste? '

‘The reality of Dalit women and girls is one of exclusion and marginalisation … They are often victims of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights violations, including sexual abuse and violence. They are often displaced; pushed into forced and/or bonded labour, prostitution and trafficking.’ (Manjoo n.d.)
This essay will argue that while the collective efforts of the Indian Government and the United Nations have been working to remove caste systems from Indian society and improve the lives of the members belonging to the lowest caste, Dalit women continue to suffer horrific abuses at the hands of the
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Social stratification is a universal method that divides people into social structures according to wealth, power and prestige, though methods of stratification can differ between societies. Furthermore, social stratification contributes to gender discrimination to varying degrees within societies, affecting life opportunities and access to provisions such as health and education (Henslin, Possamai & Possamai-Insesedy 2011, p. 226). Two prominent social class theorists, Marx and Weber describe social class systems that are predominantly used in Western societies based on capitalist economies such as Australia. Marx observes two prominent classes that separates the owners of production who have power and wealth, from the workers who own nothing other than the power to sell their own labour. However, Weber expands on Marx’s theory observing the division of groups by power wealth and prestige between 6 social classes; upper class, upper-middle class, working class, working poor and underclass (Henslin, Possamai & Possamai-Insesedy 2011, p. 234). However, the opportunity exists for individuals to move between classes and is known as class …show more content…
Dalit women make up half the population of the entire Dalit community which is estimated at four million people (Gundappa & Rathod 2015, p. 2). The oppression of the Dalits originates from the Hindu religion with the system and its traditions found in a number of widely respected Hindu sacred scriptures. It is understood as a hierarchical order of superiority in order of status with the Dalits viewed as the most inferior members of society (Ghatak & Udogu 2012, pp. 206- 207). Fundamentally, caste is centred on the view that certain groups deserve less respect and fewer rights than others. This ideology does not view respect as a privilege that is earned through effort but rather, a result of their birth into a particular social layer (Clifford 2009, p. 169). Dalit women are considered inherently impure and experience wide spread social exclusion and oppression. Furthermore, their position at the very bottom of India’s caste, class and gender hierarchies exposes them to multiple forms of abuse and discrimination and prevents their access to legal protection (Gundappa & Rathod 2015, p. 2; Trust 2013, n.d). The exposure to violence and inhumane treatment is a regular occurrence in the lives of Dalit women and includes experiences of sexual assault, rape, and naked parading; an act of

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