Rajasthan, India's 8th most populous state, contributes approximately 5.6% of the total Indian population. Apart from other factors, tourism has been one of the largest state economy generators for years. The land is known highly for its royalty, culture, art, and music history. The Sex Ratio in Rajasthan is 928 females for every 1000 males, which is below the national average of 940 as per the population census. The state has initiated movements for the empowerment of women and girl children by introducing various schemes, focusing on education, the right to life and even financing women entrepreneurs. Women have been molded into living in a controlling lifestyle of multiple traditions, especially patriarchy, for so long that most get accustomed to the discrimination and accept it as natural.
The dominance of certain traditions such as child marriage, dowry system, inferior treatment shown to women, sex selection, not celebrating the birth of girl-child, naming girls Mafi (Sorry), forcing them to drop out of school after primary level to assist at home while boys are expected to be educated and working are some examples of this. This develops into a conservative lifestyle for the women and restricts the voice of young girls adding to reasons for not being able to stand up for themselves.
A young girl of 7 was sold to a 38-year-old man for.4.5 lakh rupees in May 2023. Many such cases have arisen where they have been married off or sold ‘auctioned’ to families, sexually assaulted and harassed by older men, even in-laws. Customs such as child marriage, child trafficking, and abuse at home that have confined women to a specific algorithm are passed down the lane to generations.
Despite women having established themselves as entrepreneurs by running local businesses, the income does not solve all their problems. The superiority and doors open to men in the same business, having the same intellect, are favored as a result of the patriarchal system highly prevalent in society. Women business runners have been discriminated against and experience a lack of resources as well as support from their community. The history of the patriarchal form of society has been a wall of resistance to their development, welfare and liberty, trapping them in a loop of stereotypical life. Succumbing to the pressure of domestic responsibilities, discouragement from the community and lack of access to opportunities, women interested in establishing themselves as political representatives and voices of their community have had to step down even if they have a better potential and outreach to the public.
In the most recent state legislative elections, 2018, only 24 women were appointed as legislators out of 200 seats, while as many as 189 women contested. This shows a very low representation of women as political figures in law-making bodies and exercising authority. Women attempting to learn about their rights and improve representation in labor, political participation, education, hygiene etc., struggle to invest even a short time in these programmes.
The state government has built special courts for women. Self-defense training programs are conducted in schools for girls on a regular basis. With the initiative of helping victims of sexual violence, Suraksha Sakhi Yojana was launched in Rajasthan. The scheme provides training to women on self-defense, legal rights, and life skills. Apart from this, there have been various schemes for the protection and education of girls as well as women’s employment.
Women’s living conditions are contextual and different. Other than the factors discussed here, women need to have a safe space to address, to be informed about the gravity of their decisions, and to have the right to knowledge. It is very urgent for the literacy rate to be higher for both men and women, especially women, which is at 52.12% currently. Women's participation in politics and leadership positions needs to be assured. Welfare and financing to have a comfortable work and life balance need to be provided for women, making things easier for the mothers as well.