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Women in India
Women empowerment - advocacy for women's rights and gender sensitization - is at the very core of Nari Jagran Manch / Dalit Women Power (DWP).
India is a traditional society that is still very much based on the Hindu caste system.
Unfortunately, women are also faced with a deeply entrenched sexism. Although much has changed in the last few decades, most Indian girls, especially the ones of lower castes, still do not get the same level of educaction as their brothers. Marriages are arranged and girls marry as teenagers. In Bihar, families are still very large. Women have an average of 5 children.
Because parents are expected to pay dowry for their daughters, girls can be a tremendous economic burden on families. Girl children are neglected. Infanticide (among the poor in some parts of India) and sex-determination by ultra-sound and abortions of female fetuses (among the wealthier) are still quite common in India.
38% of the population in the Gaya District belongs to the dalit
castes. They are also known as Harijans or untouchables and literally
live on the margins of society. Traditionally, they are the unorganized,
landless labourers in a semi-feudal, agrarian set-up. Bodh Gaya's development
as an international tourist center has pushed the Dalits further down
the poverty line. Illiteracy, impoverishment and de-humanising conditions
of life are the crippling factors for the Dalit population in the context
of an aggressive tourist market. Dalit women and girl children are the
most vulnerable groups,