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Global Survey Finds Indians Most Pessimistic About Women’s Quality of Life

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Oct 3, 2018

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Photo courtesy the Financial Times

Globally, Indians and citizens from other middle and low-income countries, such as China and Russia, are more optimistic about life than people in high-income countries, found a recent Ipsos poll on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But in India, people are decidedly pessimistic about one thing: Women’s quality of life.

Indians turned out to be the most pessimistic in the world about the experience of its female citizens; three-quarters of Indians surveyed feel life is better for men and boys in India than it is for women and girls. Saudi Arabia came a close second; there, 50% of the adults and 60% of youth feel men enjoy a better life than women in their country.

The suvey, whose results were announced last week, was part of an exercise to track the progress made by countries on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. It took into account the outlook of more than 40,000 respondents, including youth (aged 12-24 years) and adults across 15 countries, including India.

Possible reasons for this negative perception among Indians, according to the survey, include limited access to employment and to birth control; only 60% of adults and 30% of youth said they had easy access to contraceptives of any kind.

But there’s a silver lining — the negative perception could also be the result of an increasing awareness about gender inequality. “Women’s safety, especially, has come under greater scrutiny in recent years. People today have greater access to information, and this makes them more aware of what is happening not just in their immediate vicinity, but different corners of the country,” Yamini Atmavilas, gender equality lead for the Gates Foundation in India, said to The Indian Express.”We hope that this awareness can also be channeled into constructive changes towards women’s social and economic empowerment.”

That same feeling seems to be global. The survey revealed that those in low- and medium-income countries believe that living conditions for women and girls will get better over the next 15 years (61%, versus 41% in higher-income countries).

So, here’s hoping for a brighter future for the world’s girls and women.

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Written By Anubhuti Matta

Anubhuti Matta is an associate editor with The Swaddle. When not at work, she’s busy pursuing kathak, reading books on and by women in the Middle East or making dresses out of Indian prints.

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