Maneka Gandhi rejects survey ranking India as most dangerous for women, asks why was WCD ministry not consulted

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has rejected a poll conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation that ranked India as the world's most dangerous country for women.

The minister has written to Thomson Reuters Foundation demanding answers as to why was the ministry not consulted for the report. She has also written asking details of the methodology used to get the official numbers, the sample size used and information as to who were the stakeholders, reported News18.

National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma also rejected the survey report on Tuesday, claiming that the sample size was small and could not be representative of the whole country. "The Commission rejects the survey in question. For a nation as big as India, with a population of approximately 1.3 billion, the sample size of the survey is not representative of the country as a whole," she said.

"Women are very aware in India of issues and there is no way that we could be ranked number one in such a survey. The countries that have been ranked after India have women who are not even allowed to speak in public," Sharma said, without naming a specific country.

Thomson Reuters Foundation, on being asked why India was ranked as the worst, said that India rated poorly on three main fronts — risks of sexual violence and harassment, dangers from cultural, tribal and traditional practices and human trafficking, including forced labour, sex slavery and domestic servitude. 

"Violence against women in India has caused national and international outrage and protests since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in New Delhi," the report said. "As India's rape epidemic gets worst by the year, critics have pointed fingers at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for not doing enough to protect women," it further added.

The survey ranked the countries on six key areas – healthcare, discrimination, cultural traditions, sexual violence, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.

For cultural traditions, India emerged at the top of the list as the worst country after cases of acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriages, forced marriages, physical abuse, female infanticide were examined. India was also the worst-ranked State in terms of sexual violence. It also included domestic rape, something that the Supreme Court had ruled cannot be considered a criminal offence.

The experts involved in the survey were asked to name five member states from the 193 United Nations members that seemed most dangerous to them. They focussed on women's issues like academics, health workers, policymakers, non-government organisation workers, journalists among others, reported Scroll.

The poll was conducted online, by phone and in person between 26 March and 4 May with an even spread across Europe, Africa, America, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific. The poll was a repeat of a survey in 2011 in which India was ranked as the fourth most dangerous country. Topping the list in 2011 was Afghanistan, followed by Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Somali.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 28, 2018 13:15:19 IST