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11 Dec 2016 | Target Mains: Weekly Essay Challenge

Profile photo of Discuss Discuss
  • If development is not engendered, it is endangered


    Cooperative federalism: Myth or reality

    Instructions: Write an essay on one of the above topics in 1000-1200 words.

    (These topics are from last weeks 2016 Mains paper.)

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  • Profile photo of Discuss Discuss @discuss

    From tomorrow onwards,

    We will have ample reference links wrt the essay topic so that you are able to add new dimensions to your essays.

    • Profile photo of Diya Diya @deepikasingh

      @ discuss …. Thanks….this will help us a lot…… ☺

  • Profile photo of Aspirant Aspirant @chandana-thota

    @discuss I started writing essays very recently… Any suggestion would be appreciated…
    Thanks in advance

  • Profile photo of Aspirant Aspirant @chandana-thota

    @discuss , engender doesn’t necessarily mean relating to gender, I guess…

    But previously written essays are excessively stressing women dimension…

    Please throw some light on this term “engender”

  • Profile photo of Kumar Harsh Kumar Harsh @kumar-harsh

    “ If development is not engendered, it is endangered”.

    Can there be sustainable development without gender equality? The concept of sustainable development, in its modern sense, was adopted nearly 3 decades ago in the Brundtland Report. It’s foundation lies in the 3 pillars of Social Development, Economic development and Environment protection. Gender equality has a bearing on all of the three, so much so that, it can even be termed as the fourth pillar of sustainable development. Just as the other three, Gender too, has faced the brunt of unmindful development, leading to problems of isolation, discrimination and crimes, that culminate into inequality in all spheres of life. The gender inequality affects development just as profoundly as development affected gender equality.
    Before proceeding further, we must establish what is gender. The problem might seem trivial at first, but on serious reflection we can identify the error of judgement that humans have made over thousands of years. Is gender a binary? No. However, it took us ages to identify the gender of ‘Transgenders’. The Indian Supreme Court, accepted it as a gender only recently in 2014. Kerala became first state to frame a Transgender policy. Transgenders have long been denied of the role they could play in the development, and also of the fruits they could reap out of it. They were marginalized, discriminated against and were pushed to the occupations of beggary and prostitution, by force and by circumstances. The Transgenders persons bill is now in Parliament, with certain debatable provisions. A parallel can be drawn between the conditions of women and transgenders. Both were oppressed, dominated by men, both had to face education and legal barriers, and both had to stick to their ‘roles’ ascribed to them by the ‘accident of birth’.

    Gender-based discrimination hasn’t existed since forever. During Vedic age, rituals were incomplete without the participation of wife. “Mother Earth” has been praised in Prithvisukta of Atharva Veda. Samkhyan philosophy, attributes creation(Sarga) to the conjugation between dual realities of ‘Prakrti'(the feminine) and ‘Purusa'(the masculine). The embryo, the beginning of life, cannot develop from a single gender. However, Hunter and gatherer community did divide labor, with men going out to carry out hunting, and women doing gathering. This was because men were considered physically stronger, to cover geographical boundaries in search of meat, which was a scarce resource. In agrarian societies, men would do harvesting, and women would cultivate. eg In slash and burn agriculture, it was the man’s responsibility to clear the area with fire and to defend. There was a shift to monogamy, from polygamy and polyandry, as concentration of wealth led men to establish their “right of possession” on their offspring, which was possible only with exclusive rights on their wives. In modern times, prior to Industrial revolution, men and women performed almost equal work in some societies. eg In Britain, small scale textile industries were run by both men and women, with former involved in weaving and the latter in spinning and dying. Industrial revolution, which created huge demand for labor, was an inflection point, forcing women to work under inhuman conditions as they were a source of cheap labor. The gender inequality as it exists today, can be attributed to biological, cultural and economic factors.

    “One is not born a woman, but becomes one”, was said by the feminist philosopher, Simone De Beauvoir. Biological differences do exist viz reproductive organs, menstruation and others, but they cannot be a justification for discrimination. Since birth, the girl is “conditioned” by a multitude of factors at different levels. Conditioning starts at the family-level itself. While boys are allowed to have their way, girls have to subscribe to a set of “Do’s and Dont’s”. Boys are allowed to choose jobs as per their will, where as girls are made to choose from only “female jobs”. Housewife, is one such occupation, which is not even an occupation in true sense. It has zero contribution to GDP, has no opportunities for promotion, many a times affects the mental health of the woman in marital bounds, and is thus, clearly the most unrewarding of all jobs. Recent trends denote that women have gradually become independent, with single unmarried women and average age of marriage on the rise. This has been possible mainly because of laws raising the age of consent and modern education. Powerful images of women celebrating success of MOM at ISRO or the likes of PV Sandhu and Mary Kom winning medals at Olympics, inspire women in many households. Strengthening of family is a prerequisite for social development.
    Society, is mainly, patriarchal in mindset. For example, child marriage, diktats of Khap Panchayats in favor of male culprits, low enrollment of girls in primary schools are common in Indian societies. Even in the urban landscape, incidents of rapes are often repeated and there is a constant threat to safety and security of working women. Female infanticide is as common in rural as in urban, and as common, if not more, in rich than in poor. Laws are in place like Sexual Harassment of Women at work place Act, Pre-coneption and Pre-natal determination technique Act and others, but implementation is lax. No separate laws have yet been made for Transgenders. Discrimination is clearly visible in the field of religion, with women being denied entry into the sanctum sanctorum of Temples(eg Shani Shignapur in Pune) and Mosques(Haji Ali Dargah at Mumbai). It is surprising how male priests have strongly held their positions from the beginning, to not allow the “rival” women enter their job domain. With NGOs, activists and media, women, however, have become more aware and assertive of their rights.

    Legal support to women is important to mainstream them. Archaic laws like “Triple Talaq”, inheritance rights, land and property rights, marriage laws have to be reformed and updated. Art 15 of the Indian constitution prohibits any discrimination on the basis of sex. Tribal women, many of whom are drifting towards Naxalism(eg in states of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha) have to be brought back and rehabilitated. Education barriers, in their path to development, are faced by women in various forms. Firstly, the problem of toilets and sanitation in school. Secondly, the curriculum of academics is not gender-neutral and thirdly, the backward social mindset. India performed well in achieving the MDG goals of controlling Infant Mortality Rate(IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate(MMR). A healthy mother will raise a healthy child. Child of today is the youth of tomorrow, and this youth will help India yield the demographic dividends for a longer period of time. Government policies,schemes and institutions related to education, like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana, Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyaan etc. and Health like Janani Suraksha Yojana, ICDS scheme, Asha workers etc. have yielded good results. Political mobilization at local levels is being achieved by 73rd and 74th amendments, which inter-alia, ensured 33% reservation at Panchayat levels. Female leaders(eg Female Sarpanchs) are expected to cater more to female-focused public goods and services, for instance, sanitation.

    No economy can sustain its growth without adequate female participation. Mc Kinsey reports suggest a substantial increase in GDPs of countries(60% in case of India) by 2025, if gender-parity is achieved. SHGs in India have improved financial security for women. A majority of Informal sector comprises of women. But, simply raising the female participation in labor force should not be the objective. The domain of “female jobs”(as discussed earlier) has to be widened. Also, males should not lose a chance of doing jobs ascribed to females by culture. eg Jobs of a tailor, or nurse considered to be “female jobs” in popular perception, are now being done by males too. Women have been restricted to jobs of tidying up or organizing , rather than producing things. eg as secrataries and receptionists in offices. In the times, when women are being admitted to combat roles, such predispositions are unwarranted. Inequality of Pay is another concern, as raised by World Economic Forum(WEF) in its report, alerting that average global pay gap for women is nearly half of what men earn and also that women professionals are less likely to be appointed to top posts. Bolstering the economic infrastructure, will bring a change in the superstructure of gender-neutral development.

    Women will be and are the prime sufferers of crisis caused by Climate Change. Frequent droughts affect the daily lives of women, because they are the ones who fetch water from distant sources. These effects have been illustrated in UNDP reports. Moreover, Climate Change events are bound to aggravate the refugee crisis in future. These manifest into scuffles, riots, and even rapes of women. This calls for the need of female leaders at the top of governments, as proved by the liberal policies of Angela Merkel(Chancellor of Germany), with respect to refugee crisis. UN, in the 4th UN World Conference on Women, 21 years ago, had mandated for more women to senior UN posts, UN peace keeping force etc. However, UN is yet to witness a woman Secretary General.
    The 17 Sustainable Development Goals encompass all the development agenda which countries need to follow. A woman’s perspective(with examples in description) of these goals would define the prospects of these goals.
    1. No Poverty: The mothers spare food for children, daughters are the first to drop out of school.
    2. Zero Hunger: A healthy mother can better feed her child.
    3. Good Health and well-being: Maternal health of pregnant and lactating mothers are important. Also includes sexual and reproductive health.
    4. Quality Education: Primary education, vocational training to develop skill sets. Freedom of choice of stream.
    5. Gender Equality: Working towards Equality of all genders(Male, Female, Transgenders) and removing hurdles.
    6. Clean Water and sanitation: Women and children worst sufferers of water-borne diseases like cholera, jaundice.
    7. Affordable and clean energy: Women have to travel long distances to collect biomass for biofuel.
    8. Economic growth: Trickle-down benefits. Inclusive growth.
    9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Gender-equal as all genders benefit equally.
    10. Reduced Inequalities: Reduction of Inequalities of religion, caste, race etc. will prepare ground for gender equality.
    11. Sustainable cities and communities: Safety and Security of women.
    12. Responsible consumption and production: Less likely to have impact on environment with their consumption habits, but will suffer the most.
    13. Climate Action: Women communities like in Bishnoi tribes and Chipkoo movement have exemplified harmony with nature.
    14. Life Below Water: Fishery is a common occupation of women.
    15. Life on Land: Women are the collectors of forest produce, leading to deforestation.
    16. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions: Women are more likely to be sensitive in decision making.
    17. Partnership for the goals: Partnership of all genders along with that at social, national and global levels is imperative.

    Gender inequality is worse than other forms of inequalities like caste or class, as it has been ingrained in human minds for a longer period of time. The first sinner in the forbidden garden was Eve, not Adam. Mythologies aside, men now need to see others “as people”, not “as genders”. Achieved status needs to be regarded rather than the ascribed status. Development has to be inclusive to be sustainable, and equality of opportunities for all, irrespective of their gender, is a pre-requisite. The world would then not be an endangered community, but a peaceful global family, flourishing with every generation.

    • Profile photo of Kumar Harsh Kumar Harsh @kumar-harsh

      @discuss It’s long but if possible just skim through it once sir. Sorry for seeking evaluation in retrospect 🙂

  • Profile photo of Diya Diya @deepikasingh

    ” If development is not engendered,it is endangered”

    ” There is no chance for the welfare of world unless the condition of women is improved. It is impossible for a bird to fly on only one wing.”
    – Swami Vivekananda

    Being a boy or a girl is an important part of ones’s identity. The society in which we grow up teaches us what kind of behaviour is acceptable for girls and boys,what boys can do and what girls cannot. We grow up thinking that these things are exactly the same everywhere.

    “Oh!don’t cry my boy, you are my son. Boys don’t cry.” Ramesh consoles his baby boy, when got hurt while playing. As children grow up they start believing that boys do not cry so that even if a boy feels crying he stop himself from doing so. Even when he feels like crying he stop himself from doing so. He also believes that crying is a sign of weakness. For girls we say, they are soft and gentle, they are well behaved. They are brought up to believe that the main responsibility of women is housework and bringing up children. Do boys and girls possess these qualities at birth or do they learn such behaviour from others?? No its the society which create such stereotype.

    In India women constitute approximately 48.5% population. If given a task for development of our country they can do wonders. The head of IMF Ms. Christine Lagarde said that- ” There will be an increase of 27% in GDP if India gets gender parity in the its economy.” This highlighted that India has failed to overcome the gender inequality in our society. The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the constitution in its preamble, fundamental rights, fundamental duties and directive principles.Despite of all these,the bitter truth is that India has remain unsuccessful in bringing its aspiration up to mark. It has been unsuccessful in creating abetter world for women where they can live freely with a respectable position in society.
    However,the picture was completely different during the early Vedic period where women had respectable position in the society,they were treated as ”divine”.It was later vedic era which deteriorated its position and the years followed brought several evils with them such as dowry, child marriage, illiteracy etc.However,there were same exemplified woman like Raziya Sultan, Rani of Jhansi, who broke the social stigmas.The patriarchal society developed its roots so strong that even after 70 years of independence we are not able to overcome them.

    The reason for such gender disparity can be seen in broad parameters, such as follows-

    – SOCIAL REASON: Ours is still a male dominated soiety. Women face disadvantage, discrimination and oppression in various ways. The LITERACY RATE among women is only 54% compared with 76% among men. Similarly, a smaller proportion of girl students go for higher studies. Even when we see results girls perform better than boys but they-drop out because parents prefer to spend their resources for their boy’s education rather than spending equally on their sons and daughters. FEMALE FOETICIDE, many parents see girl child as a curse, they prefer to have boy child as a result of which they abort girl before she is born. This reduces the sex ratio, which is 915 presently.

    – ECONOMIC REASON: Proportion of women among the highly pad and valued job is still very small. On an average an Indian women works one hour more than an average man everyday. Yet much of her work is not paid and provides that equal wages should be paid to equal work. However, almost in all area of work, form sports and cinema, to factories and fields, women are paid less than men, even when both do exactly the same work.

    – POLITICAL REASON- Porportion of woemn in legislature is very low. For example- the percentage of elected women members in Lok Sabha has crossed 10% of its total strength for the first time in 2009. Their share in the state assemblies is less than 5%. India is still behind the averages of several developing countries of Africa and Latin America. A bill with one-third of women reservation in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies is pending for more than decades.

    – RELIGIOUS: Religious boundaries bound women from performing any outer world work. In Hindus women are not allowed to work outside even when she is well educated and can perform all her tasks, after marriage. This is the stereotype thinking of families that after marriage the sole work of a women is to take care of her husband ( because Pati is Parmeshvar in Hindus) and bringing up children. In Muslim community we – Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala which make women inferior to men. Even Muslim girls are not allowed to take complete education.

    The reasons mentioned above shows that, if development not engendered, it is endangered.

    However, we cannot ignore the fact that government is constantly working towards women empowerment. Empowerment, as an enabling process will only be achieved when and improvement in the condition of women in terms of health, education, safety and security including financial security is ensured.


    – HEALTH : To address th problem f maternal and child under nutrition- ICDS Scheme has been launched. To accelerate the pace of reduction of MMR, Schemes such as- Janani Shishu Suraksha, Janani Suraksha Yojana, Mother and Child Protection card etc, have been launched.

    – EDUCATION- Padhe Bharat, Badhe BhARAT, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Vidhyanjali etc have been launched.

    – SAFETY AND SECURITY : Criminal law ( Amendment) Act 2013, Sexual Harassment of women at workplace ( Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2013, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2016, Maternity Benefit ( Amendment) Bill, 2016 etc are there for their security and safety.

    – FINANCIAL SECURITY : MNERGA, NRLM, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh ,etc are there.

    All these measures would be beneficial only through combined efforts and contribution of all relevant stakeholder including the civil society and Private sector.

    ” Women are builder and moulder of a nation’s destiny, though delicate and soft as lily, she has a heart, stronger and bolder than that of a man, she is the supreme inspiration for man’s onward march.”

    • Profile photo of Discuss Discuss @discuss

      Para 1+2 – You stress on the upbringing/grooming aspects responsible for gender disparity.
      Para 3 – Why we’ve failed
      Para 4 – Historical background
      Para 5 – Gender disparity various reasons.
      .. govt measures so on and so forth.

      >IMO, there couldve been a better structure. upbringing/grooming aspects are just one component of social causes leading to gender inequality. Dedicating two paras to it means compromising on other aspects.
      >You should talk about the ripple/spillover effects of educating and empowering women. A good quote – If you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation. Educated women make better reproductive choices, their children are more likely to be educated etc etc.
      >You’ve talked about various indices – sex ratio, MMR, etc. A better way would be presenting an analysis – where we’ve done well, where we havent. Eg. our Sex Ratio has seen a decline and crime against women have shown up – both alarming stats because with development these should go down. MMR, women education, I believe we’ve improved.(need to verify)
      >Talk about lacunae at various levels – constitutional acts.You can probably discuss UCC. legislations and program/mission implementation.

    • Profile photo of Diya Diya @deepikasingh

      Hi! CD thanks for detail reviewing…. I will add the valuable points…. Just want to know possible marks which I can get for this … So that can work on it accordingly….
      Thanks 🙂

    • Profile photo of Discuss Discuss @discuss

      IMO your essay can fetch you 110-115 Marks. The points that Ive mentioned are not very common points. Hence it will be hard for people to recall in the exam. If you miss common points, then your score wouldve come down.
      You should try to cover success stories no matter how small they are. All those things get additional marks.

    • Profile photo of Diya Diya @deepikasingh

      Thanks a lot CD … I work on this and will take care of this 🙂

  • Profile photo of Kunal Aggarwal Kunal Aggarwal @kunalaggarwal

    If development is not engendered, it is endangered

    It is often heard that earlier societies were primitive and civilizations were not developed. They lived a subsistence life where the main aim was to survive and explore the world. In todays world we see fast transport & communication, easier lifestyle and a world of internet. This is what we call development. After all, we relate development with America, Europe, Japan where the life is better.

    Point to ponder about is whether life is better due to better earning capability or much more goes into making the lives better. Is Japan better because it has higher wages and better work opportunities? Saudi Arabia is rich but not developed. Their oil fields have always fetched them huge money, generated work opportunities but they are still not in the list of developed countries. That shows that economic growth in itself is not sufficient for development.

    This was realized in late 20th century when an economist from Pakistan proposed Human Development and world started to realize a mistake. Amartya Sen defined development as growth of human capabilities. It is wider concept and includes social and cultural development as well. Freedom of people to live their life, feel satisfied and to be able to do productive work are equally important when compared to economic growth. Development also includes freedom from diseases and living a healthy life. It includes an opportunity to work and live a dignified life in the country. It includes the social satisfaction of a person from the environment, friends, family and religion.

    Since ancient times, the world has been changing. We have found primitive societies across the world who were hunter gatherers. Slowly, development of agriculture took place and man designed tools for the survival. Life style changed from rural towns to urban cities over centuries. The industrial revolution paved the way for economic and technological development and French revolution for human development through legalizing freedom as a right. 21st century world has seen great changes in the field of development with huge focus on changing the lives of people.

    India since independence has initiative schemes for welfare of poor and provided equality in opportunity. Our constitution emphasizes on social as well as economic justice. Social development was an important point of discussion in our society which was divided in classes, castes and religion at the time of Independence. Life could not be well with nutrition deficiency, poor health and education standards in the country. Steps were taken to improve the condition of life by providing public sector healthcare and education. Most recent method has been rights based entitlements.

    But we do see lot of poor people sleeping on the roads. News of murders, accidents, high mortality, poor sex ratio are common and show the poor status of social and cultural development in the country. Tribal, women and lower caste people are at the lowest ranks in almost all the parameters like literacy rates, mortality, institutional access to healthcare and education. This calls for a relook at how we are developing. The current focus on development has alienated many and led to their undeveloped state. They have paid the cost of development for the country. Our current development is not inclusive enough.

    It is very important to ensure that everyone in the country has access to basic health facilities, minimal education needed to live a happy and dignified life. In the modern world of international interaction, it has become even more difficult. There are different ideologies on the ways of ensuring development. Capitalist countries through their hegemony impose restriction on welfare programs and subsidies for developing world. Globalization has opened a door for the people to learn new subjects, interact with more people from other cultures and adapt the goods. However, it has come with its own issues degrading the traditional lifestyle and subsistence way of living.

    Environmental degradation has become the biggest of problem for our world. Researches in this field have highlighted large scale changes to climate leading to huge pressure on developing world. With in India, tribal communities have been alienated from their natural ecosystem i.e. forests. They need to find new jobs, livelihood and social fabric in new areas when they are displaced. The monsoon pattern has changed impacting the lifestyle of rural economy and food security of the nation in long term. Our development of faster transport and communication has depended on exploitation of natural resources for long time.

    In the late 20th century, the world took notice of the environmental damage and came up with Agenda21, Aichi Biodiversity targets and Millennium Development Goals to protect the environment. The developing world especially the island nations are at higher risk from these changes. Recently, the world came together and signed Paris Climate Deal and Sustainable Development Goals to further the cause of environmental protection for development. Sustainable development is the only way to a developed nation otherwise we are moving towards self destruction.

    For achieving development, the world needs to work towards sustainable and inclusive way of living. Effective steps need to be taken to engender development. We have not implemented the environmental pacts like Kyoto Protocol in its spirit and our steps for inclusion have gone in way. There is large scale differential between regions in terms of development. With in India, we have states with poor development like Chhattisgarh and states like Kerala which has recently ticked cent percent literacy rates.

    India needs to focus on developing its social infrastructure. Countries like Sri Lanka has done better than us in human health parameters even with their lower income levels. Nepal has recognized rights of minority communities like LGBT. We are still holding on to our old practices. Women rights are still a question of debate in India. Recently, Muslim Women Movement to enter Haji Ali Dargah and a similar movement by Women in Kerala to enter inner sanctorum of Sabrimalla temple are a case in point.

    Recent India Social Development Report correctly points out the plight of differently-abled people in the country. Only about 50% of them are literate and much lesser than that are workers. Their development had always taken a back seat with even the government building not made differently-abled friendly. They face huge barriers to education where they do not have access to schools, different ways of learning for vision impaired or hearing impaired children.

    Current state calls for a change in our thought process and needs a focused approach. The path of development we have taken is not sustainable and can not be taken for long time. World needs to come together to redefine development and work towards a happier and sustainable living for everyone and not just few people or few countries. At the end, I would like to quote Gandhi – “World has enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed”

This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Diya Diya 6 months, 1 week ago.

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