‘Women are city’s unequal half’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Women are city’s unequal half’

The Mumbai Human Development Report (HDR) has shown that women, who make up for 45 per cent of the city’s population, are lagging far behind the men, reports Bhavika Jain.

mumbai Updated: Nov 04, 2009 00:53 IST
Bhavika Jain

The Mumbai Human Development Report (HDR) has shown that women, who make up for 45 per cent of the city’s population, are lagging far behind the men.

The gender ratio in Mumbai is declining. There are 809 women for every 1,000 men. “Women are the unequal half of Mumbai,” said the report.

Men outnumber women in the employment sector too. The only sectors where more women are employed are teaching and as domestic helps. There are six lakh women domestic workers.

The report was prepared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in association with the United Nations Development Programme.

Ward-wise data revealed that Ward C, an area comprising old chawls and congested apartment complexes but no slums, has the worst sex ratio with 587 women for every 1,000 men. These figures are according to the 2001 Census.

Women also lag behind in matters of health. Instances of malnutrition and nutrition deficiency are 25 per cent higher among women than men. For every three men using health facilities in Mumbai, there is only one woman who does so.

“The total empowerment of women is still elusive as her base itself is weak...” the report said.

Women in Mumbai also showed lower literacy rates than men. A survey conducted by non-governmental organizations Sahayog and Pratham indicated that absence of toilets, course content and affordability caused women to drop out of the education system.

“A change in the education system and the mindset of society will help bridge the gap,” Nirmala Joshi, sociologist. “It’s sad that our thinking is so regressive even today.”

The report says women face several hurdles in their development. It cites jobs as sales assistants in malls as an example. Here, women are paid less than Rs 5,000 a month for daily eight-hour shifts, while their male counterparts earn at least Rs 3,000 more.