Main Challenges Faced by Dalit Women in India

Main Challenges Faced by Dalit Women in India

Last updated: November 19, 2019

The main challenges faced by Dalit women in India are as follows: –

1. Access to key productive resources

  • In India, Dalit rural women face serious challenges in carrying out their multiple productive and reproductive roles within the families and communities, in part due to lack of rural infrastructure and lack of access to essential goods and services.
  • Specifically, the structural violence and lack of access to resources perpetuate poverty and undermine their dignity.
  • Dalit rural Women have very limited access to and control Overland, which in turn leads to food insecurity.
  • When it comes to infrastructure and resources in Dalit communities, the government often Overlooks those areas and does not allocate the necessary funds to ensure equality of access to resources.
  • Further, Dalit women lack employment options and other livelihood opportunities, more so than their male Dalit Counterparts.

2. Illiteracy

Reasons for the high rate of illiteracy among Dalit women are as follows:

    • Resistance from the family to send girls to schools.
    • Fear of insecurity in villages.
    • Lack of physical facilities like accommodation, school, transport, and medical facilities.
    • The girls were forced to take care of the siblings when the parents are away at work.
    • Working to earn for the family prevents the girls from attending school.
    • Because of the sick and unemployed parents’ girls were forced to work.
    • Many were forced to get married at a young age, which stops schooling.
    • The social restriction is that the girls should stop education after marriage.
    • In some areas, there are complaints from Dalit women teachers of misbehaviors, blackmail, and exploitation by the male staff of other high caste people.
    • Fear of alienation of girls from their environment as a result of education are some of the other factors for low literacy levels among SC girls.
    • Even if the education improved the marriage prospects of the girls, the minus point is the increase in dowry. Therefore, many parents wish to withdraw girls from schools.

3. Political participation and Empowerment

  • They have no power to raise their voice in the decision-making process
  • There is a quota system in place for Dalits in India to have seats in the local panchayat (town assembly).
  • The Dalit women have to meet with a male and dominant caste backlash, pressure and sometimes violence to utilize their power in the panchayat.
  • So they are not even allowed to sit on a chair but must take their place on the floor.
  • They have no ability to exercise her voice in the panchayat because her husband represents her and makes the decisions.

4. Violence against Women, Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation

  •  Dalit women suffer both gender and caste-based violence.
  • The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against Women has noted that “Dalit women face targeted violence, even rape, and murder, by the state actors and powerful members of the dominant castes used to inflict political lessons and crush dissent within the community.
  • Dalit women face verbal, physical and sexual violence in the public and private domain.
  • Dalit women 1ace violence from community members, complicit police personnel, their in-laws and their families.
  • Further, due to their low socioeconomic status, they are often the victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation.
  • Even from a young age Dalit women’s sexual and bodily integrity are threatened and violated.
  • In the name of these practices, village girls are married to God by their helpless parents.
  • These girls are then sexually exploited by the upper caste landlords and rich men and directed in 1o trafficking and prostitution.

 5. Women’s Access to Justice

  • Vulnerably positioned at the bottom of India’s caste, class, and gender hierarchies, Dalit women experience endemic gender-and-caste discrimination and violence as the outcome of severely imbalanced social, economic and political power equations.
  • Their socio-economic vulnerability and lack of political voice, when combined with the dominant risk factors of being Dalit and female, increase their exposure to potentially violent situations while simultaneously reducing their ability to escape.
  • Violence against Dalit women presents clear evidence of widespread exploitation and discrimination against these women subordinated in terms of power relations to men in a patriarchal society, as also against their communities based on caste.
  • Violence against Dalit women is to deny them opportunities, choices and freedoms at multiple levels, undermining not only Dalit women’s dignity and self-respect, but also their right to development.
  • Twelve major forms of violence:-
    • Physical assault
    • Verbal
    • Sexual harassment and assault
    • Rape
    • Sexual exploitation
    • Forced prostitution
    • Kidnapping and abduction,
    • Forced incarceration and
    • Medical negligence and here
    • Being violence in the family
    • Female feticide and infanticide
    • Child sexual abuse
    • Domestic violence from natal and marital family members.

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Main Challenges Faced by Dalit Women in India Access to key productive resources Illiteracy Political participation and Empowerment Violence against Women, Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Women’s Access to Justice Conclusion