What are the various forms in which gender based violence manifests. Discuss the causes that lead to it. Do you agree that it remains biggest impediment to the advancement of women in India?

Approach:
● Introduce with what gender violence is
● Talk about various forms of violence – preferably under different categories
● Talk about the causes – can break it into various categories.
● Discuss aspects of women development that get affected by gender violence
● Conclude by summarizing and giving brief suggestions to end gender violence.

Answer:
Gender based violence is primarily used to refer to acts of violence committed against women.
A result of unequal distribution of power in society between women and men, it gets
manifested throughout the entire lifecycle of the women- right from the womb of the mother till death.

Takes place in many forms:
Gender based violence takes place in many forms, including physical violence – through assault, domestic violence, honour killings; sexual violence – groping, workplace harassment, sexual assault; verbal violence – through use of abusive and filthy language; social violence – like humiliating a woman or her family in public; emotional violence– by depriving women of love , care , concern; financial violence – by depriving basic financial means.

Various causes of gender based violence includes:
Socio-Cultural factors:
● The patriarchal notions of ownership over women’s bodies, sexuality, labor,
reproductive rights, mobility and level of autonomy encourage violence against women.
● Dogmatic religious beliefs with deep-rooted ideas of male superiority are also used to
legitimize control over women.
Economic factors:
● Poverty, lack of education and livelihood opportunities, and inadequate access to basic
services like shelter, food, water can increase exposure to gender violence, including
forced prostitution or survival sex.
Legal-Administrative factors:
● Inadequate legal framework, State’s inability to enforce laws, unequal access to justice,
gender bias in legal institutions and mechanisms, slow justice system result in culture of
impunity for violence and abuse .
Individual factors:
● Threat/fear of stigma, isolation and social exclusion and exposure to further violence at
the hands of the perpetrator, the community or the authorities, including arrest,
detention, ill-treatment and punishment force women to suffer silently.
Yes, gender violence is one of the biggest hurdles in women’s advancement due to following factors:
● It seriously affects all aspects of women’s health- physical, sexual and reproductive,
mental and behavioural health, thus prevents them from realizing their full potential.
● Violence and threat of violence affects women’s ability to participate actively, and as
equals, in many forms of social and political relationships.
● Workplace harassment and domestic violence has an impact on women’s participation
in workforce and their economic empowerment.
● Sexual harassment limits the educational opportunities and achievements of girls.
Thus, half of our human capital will not be able to realize its true potential till gender violence is curbed in all its forms. The underlying causes must be addressed though adequate legal framework and its strict enforcement, building institutional capability, along with gender sensitization campaigns to change attitudes towards women.

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