Israel Is What Is Right about Asia: Thoughts on Gender Equality and Social Reforms

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Today in a continent like Asia, where Human Rights are not acknowledged, democracy is ridiculed, reforms are denied for several decades and inhuman orthodox religious doctrines still reign supreme, Israel is different. The Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu once said “Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East, Israel is what is right about the Middle East.” I strongly second this opinion from the Indian perspective.

In fact, when it comes to social reforms and human welfare of ones own countrymen, I would go few steps ahead and say, ‘Israel is what is right about Asia’. All Israeli residents are entitled to health care as a fundamental right. Thank to Israel’s population control, in 2015, Israel was ranked sixth-healthiest country in the world by Bloomberg rankings. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Israel are the most advanced in the Middle East, and one of the most advanced in Asia. Israels media and movie industry is allowed to be progressive and enjoys much freedom from the state.

Israel is slowly becoming the first Asian country to get rid of gender bias. In landmark ruling, an Israeli court said women should pay child support. An expanded panel of seven Supreme Court justices declared that existing law discriminates against men. The dramatic ruling brings to an end the current norm, whereby fathers are solely responsible for alimony, even if their wives earn more than they do. Fathers will continue to pay all child support for children below the age of 6.

Asia has suffered a lot due to Gender Bias. Countries like Bangladesh, India, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar , Saudi Arabia and Sri-Lanka are still suffering badly due to Gender Bias.

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India has been struggling to get gender equality right since the very independence of this country in the year 1947. Discriminatory attitude towards men has now increased and this affects their lives and careers. The constitution of India has granted men and women equal rights, unfortunately gender disparity still remains since outdated laws and policies have not been revised to comply with gender equality.

Moreover laws in India are so weak that they can be twisted in women’s favour. Recently a positive judgement was passed in the favour of Muslim women who could be divorced just by saying the word „Talak“ thrice. What’s needed now is fair judgement for men who are suffering due to false charges made by women just to extort money from men. Marriages have now become a legal way for women to extort money. The Hindu Marriage Act, the legal document that governs marriages in this country needs a quick update before it causes further unrest in the country.

If India, if a man commits a sexual crime he is jailed, but if a woman commits the same crime she cannot be jailed for and neither will she be punished by the courts. The law fails to recognise the act of sexual molestation of men and thus the police stations refuse to lodge a First Information Report (FIR); men are considered the culprit by default even if it was the woman that committed sexual abuse against men. In 2015, a Female duo in New Delhi was accused of raping male taxi drivers in the national capital, New Delhi. Such trends are now on the rise.

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An increasingly vocal Indian Men’s movement argues that anti-male discrimination is rife. Today India has more than 100 Men’s Rights Movements across the country. These movements are protesting the biased judgements given in Trial Courts and Family Courts in India. India is also suffering due to an old marriage tradition called ‘Arranged Marriage’ which is often Forced Marriage. Boys and Girls are forced to get married against their wish. Most of these marriages are done in the name of tradition, honour and to satisfy a hypocrite society. Unfortunately these marriages are now leading to countless divorces due to incompatibility, lack of understanding and the very fact that the marriage itself was imposed (forced).

In India, this harassment of the younger generation does not end there. Often a couple is forced to have children against their wish. If the first child is a girl, she could be killed before her birth. If a girl is born, parents or even the husband could force the girl to have another child with the hope that their next child would be a male. This could continue till a boy is born and the couple ends up with five kids. Often these couples cannot afford so many children and a few die of malnutrition.

Article 15, of the Indian constitution mentions that the state shall not discriminate any citizen on the grounds of only sex. The irony is that there still is widespread discrimination which is nothing but injustice to men. Men are suffering from blackmail and abuse of legal rights that usually happens after marriage. According to the recent news, Jaipur (Rajasthan) police had found over 4206 false (fake) cases within one year alone in 2015-16.

Many Indian men have committed suicide as a result of harassment by their wife and in laws. As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in the year 2014, 60,000 married men committed suicide due to “family problems”. Younger generation is scared of getting married due to the very fear of such laws. Arranged Marriage needs to be outlawed as soon as possible. Today Indian Men’s Right movement is being discussed on social media, news and social-circles.

In India, where crimes against men are steadily increasing, a female activist and documentary filmmaker Deepika Bharadwaj stands out for being a rare voice for abused men. She says “Just as you don’t have to be a woman to fight for women, similarly, you don’t have to be a man to fight for men. I don’t talk about atrocities against women because there are millions who are talking about it.” Deepikas fight at the moment is against the misuse of the law ‚Section 498A‘. A retired Delhi high court judge says “This law is often used as a leverage to settle scores”. A former Indian law minister admits to the failure of governments to deal with the “abuse of this law”.

If gender equality is to be achieved then male discrimination must be taken as seriously as sexism against women. India has a lot to learn from countries like Israel and I hope that the new government that looks forward to a strong India-Israel relationship, takes a note of this and makes necessary reforms which have been denied for decades together due to sheer ignorance and vote-bank politics.

Thanks to Pixabay, netanyahu.org.il and gqindia.com for the images.

About the Author
Vinay Lohar is an ISMS, IT & Management expert, Adventurer, Photographer and Food Connoisseur He received his Masters of Business Administration from Jodhpur National University. He was an international Information Security and Data Privacy Consultant at Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany for 3 years. He also worked as a Risk Manager for Amazon.com and managed an internal business team for the EU region for Transaction Risk Management. Vinay currently works as a Manager for Information Security and Cyber Security with Siemens, a German conglomerate company headquartered in Berlin and Munich and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe.
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