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Crime Against Women Hurts Economy

, January 21, 2019, 2 Comments

Crime against women across the globe is both endemic and structural to any society. Number of incidents reported around the world demonstrate the gravity of this scourge. As per UN estimates, about 35% of women in 2016 reported to have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Furthermore, globally 47% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner or family member.

Appalled and sickened by women violence there has been waves of moral outrage in different parts of the world at different times. While moral outrage is one aspect to it, the larger concern lies in the attitude that hampers economic growth in the long run. Insecure environment tends to withdrawal from education, employment etc., thereby leading to loss of employment and productivity. Several studies indicate violence against women could amount to around 2% of the global Gross Domestic Product which is equivalent to 1.5 trillion, approximately the size of the economy of Canada.

In India, despite an uninterrupted discourse on the subject over the past several decades, governments and society are yet to evolve a cast iron system to deal with the crime and criminals against women. Since 1971, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) started collecting data on rape cases which has shown 14 times- increase from about 2 thousand cases in 1971 to 38 thousand cases in 2016. Domestic violence till the recent past had always remained invisible. The social construction of the divide between public and private underlies the hidden nature of domestic violence against women.

In the recent years, it is seen that more of such cases get registered. Total number of cases of cruelty by husbands and relatives registered have increased almost 4 times since 1995 when NCRB started collecting information on this. Similarly, the number of cases of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty have shown a significant increase in the same period. Though on one side, it is encouraging to note that more women are coming out of the dark to report violence against them, on the other side, there is no denial of the fact that crime rate against women is on the rise. While in 1995, 5 % of the total cognizable crimes were against women, in 2016, this figure increased to 11%.crime-against-women

Apart from the moral outrage and the alarm at the sickness of the society that is exposed by such acts, there are significant economic cost to such violence. This is evident from the growing withdrawal of educated women from workforce. The most recently available estimates of work and employment based on Census, 2011 suggests that only 17% of rural women and 9% of urban women were gainfully employed on a regular basis.

Read Also: Gender Wage Gap in Rural Labor Market

Overall, there has been a decline in women participation in work force from 16% in 1995 to 15% in 2011. The most worrying trend is the declining participation of women with professional training. In 1995, about 56% of the women with technical degree or diploma participated in the work force which has declined to 36% in 2011. Also, 28% of graduate women were in the work force in 1995 which has declined to 25% in 2011.crime-against-women

The downward trend of women in the workforce stems from multiple factors. One of the reasons, for the declining trend in the proportion of educated women in the work force has been the incommensurate development of the economy as compared to the growth of educated women. In addition, the manifestations of a deeper societal preference, even meta-preference for boys is leading to many missing women from the work force. While, demand constraint is only one part of it, willingness of women to enter the work force has also gone down. About 18% of women with technical education in 2011 were seeking work. Even if we assume that 18% of these women were absorbed in the workforce, it would be 54% of women with technical degree in the workforce, i.e., lower than the corresponding figure in 1995 by 2 percentage points.  This in turn implies massive loss to the economy who could contribute to economic activity.

Read Also: Demand side dynamics of rural health in India

Irrespective of all abuse to women, the main distinguishing factor that can make a difference is education for all. Potential economic contribution of women is untapped. A protective environment where every woman can fearlessly come out in the open and join hands in the march of economic growth is all that we dream.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of MarketExpress – India’s first Global Analysis & Sharing Platform or the organization(s) that the author represents in his personal capacity.

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  • Rakhi Chatterjee

    Women empowerment through financial independence is the key to stop violence. o .What stops an educated women getting job?.Even if they get in many cases they are paid less compared to their male counterpart. What stops in gainfully employing women-lack of skill or social attitudes?

    • Minakshi

      I independence is the key..but we have an environmentwhere women can freely come out in the open to get employable skills. Change in social attitude is definitely needed to bring in changes from the roots.