Gender equality in India hit by illiteracy, child marriages and violence: a hurdle for sustainable development
Introduction: Gender equality is fundamental to accelerate sustainable development. It is necessary to conduct gender analyses to identify sex and gender-based differences in health risks. This study aimed to find the gender equality in terms of illiteracy, child marriages and spousal violence among women based on data from National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4).
Methods: This was a descriptive analysis of secondary data of ever-married women onto reproductive age from 15 states and 3 UTs in India of the first phase of NFHS-4. Gender gap related to literacy and child marriage among urban and rural area was compared.
Results: in rural area all states except Meghalaya and Sikkim had the significantly higher percentage of women's illiteracy as compared to male. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh had higher illiterate women, 53.7% and 48.6% as compared to male, 24.7% and 21.5% respectively (P < 0.000). Child marriages were found to be significantly higher in rural areas as compared to urban areas in four most populated states.
Conclusion: There is a gender gap between illiteracy with women more affected in rural areas with higher prevalence of child marriages and poor utilization of maternal health services. Also, violence against women is showing an upward trend with declining sex-ratio at birth.
Keywords: Gender equality, literacy, child marriage, violence, sex ratio, India