By Sonakshi, NLU Jodhpur
Editor’s Note: Due to some social structures, traditions, stereotypes and attitudes about women and their role in society, they become particularly vulnerable to certain crimes. Fundamentalist groups often center on controlling women, using cultural arguments against women’s rights. Moreover, most women in developing countries are unaware of their basic human rights. It is this state of ignorance which ensures their acceptance and, consequently, the perpetuation of harmful traditional practices affecting their well-being and that of their children. Even when women acquire a degree of economic and political awareness, they often feel powerless to bring about the change necessary to eliminate gender inequality. Therefore, empowering women is vital to any process of change and to the elimination of these harmful traditional practices.
“Consensus-building around social issues is extremely difficult, because it touches the identity of nations, communities and individuals. Discussion of social questions polarizes viewpoints and may seem to widen the gap between cultures. But in the end, the overriding social purpose concentrates our minds and enables us to bridge all cultural gaps-not because we want to go home with an agreed form of words, but because all of us, each in our own way, want to save people’s lives.”
–UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid
Crime against women is the most evocative, traumatising and political subject for discussion within India. Although it is not a direct issue of development yet it affects women’s development; it restricts them from full participation in national development efforts and obtaining their due share in developmental efforts.[i]
This subject has not been exhaustively studied but we know that throughout history, women in various continents of the world have been considered as the physically weaker sex. Crime against women is assertion of dominance over them and come from the baser instincts of society. It not only represents the greater physical strength of men over women but also takes the form of the assertion of dominance of power and of riches over the women of the poorer classes.[ii] The powerful and the rich expect the women of lower status to serve them in various ways one of which is sexual favours and in case they deny them by resistance, rape, kidnapping, and molestation take place. Familial crime was rare in Indian society.[iii] The phenomena which led to most crimes in Indian society were the frequent invasions throughout history. The conquering armies took vengeance over the women of the defeated by making them slaves, raping them, selling them or even forcing them into marriages. The ancient Hindu scriptures have always taken a very dim view of crimes against women, Brahmins and cows. This is not however to say that crimes against women were not perpetuated during Hindu dominance or rule.
Throughout the world, practices that undermine the well-being of women endure. But like slavery and foot-binding, they constitute egregious violations of basic human rights.
- At least 130 million women have been forced to undergo female genital mutilation/cutting. Another 2 million are at risk each year from this degrading and dangerous practice.
- Killings in the name of ‘honour’ take the lives of thousands of young women every year, mainly in Western Asia, North Africa and parts of South Asia.
- Forced early marriage of young girls or adolescents is another practice that can cause lifelong psychological as well as physical problems, especially those resulting from early childbearing.
- In some developing countries, practices that subjugate and harm women – such as wife-beating, killings in the name of honour, female genital mutilation/cutting and dowry deaths – are condoned as being part of the natural order of things. Throughout much of Asia, a preference for male children results in the neglect.
In most industrialized societies, although gender-based violence is officially condemned, it persists, implicitly sanctioned by messages in mass media. infanticide of girls, or their elimination by abortion in places where prenatal tests are available to determine the sex of the foetus.[iv]
In some developing countries, practices that subjugate and harm women – such as wife-beating, killings in the name of honour, female genital mutilation/cutting and dowry deaths – are condoned as being part of the natural order of things. Throughout much of Asia, a preference for male children results in the neglect and sometimes as conflicts among ethnic groups rage, women and girls have increasingly become pawns of war, and face rape and forced pregnancies.
Eradicating long-standing traditional practices does not happen overnight. One way to begin, though, is by information and advocacy that raises public awareness and changes the climate of public opinion.
Harmful Traditional Practices Against Women And Girls
All violations of women’s and girls’ rights may be described as harmful practices, but there are particular forms of violence against women and girls which are defended on the basis of tradition, culture, religion or superstition by some community members.[v] These are often known as ‘harmful traditional practices.’ These are largely carried out without the consent of the girl/woman involved and thus constitute a violation of human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As with all forms of violence against women and girls, harmful traditional practices are caused by gender inequality including unequal power relations between women and men, rigid gender roles, norms and hierarchies, and ascribing women lower status in society.
Harmful practices are referred to in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 24(3)), CEDAW (Articles 2, 5 and 16) and regional instruments. They constituting violence against women and girls can include: acid violence, breast flattening, cosmetic mutilation, dowry and bride price, early/forced marriage and marriage by abduction/rape, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), ‘honour’ crimes, corrective rape, and female infanticide, ritual sexual slavery, virginity testing, practices related to initiation or menstruation, some widowhood rituals and accusations of witchcraft levied at older women.[vi]
In many countries there are specific laws aiming to curtail these practices, in most instances they also contravene countries’ existing laws relating to physical and sexual violence. Harmful traditional practices are a product of social norms which aim to uphold cultural ideas about gender roles and social relations. Many of these practices, including acid violence and sex-selective abortion, have become common relatively recently but may be considered harmful traditional practices as they are rooted in and upheld by such ideas. Where such practices exist, there may be negative social sanctions which are experienced by individuals if the harmful traditional practice is not carried out.
These practices are often carried out without the consent of the women involved and as a result women themselves often play a role in perpetuating such violence. Some of the specific practices are dealt with hereinafter.
Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical purposes. It interferes with the natural functioning of the body and has no known health benefits.[vii]
Occurrence and prevalence: Globally, FGM is typically carried out on young girls, from infants to adolescents as old as 15 years of age. Occasionally it is carried out on adult women. It is difficult to obtain accurate information on the magnitude of FGM, but according to the WHO, between 100 and 140 million girls and women around the world have already undergone some form of the practice. According to the WHO, female genital mutilation is practiced in at least 28 countries in Africa and is most widespread in the Sahel and the Horn. In the Middle East and North Africa, it is practiced extensively in Egypt and to a lesser extent in Yemen. It has been reported in Oman, Jordan, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. FGM is believed to be practiced in some parts of Asia, particularly in communities in Malaysia and Indonesia. Elsewhere in the world, FGM is reported among migrant communities in North America, Europe, and Australia.
Reasons for its practice: It is practiced for many different socio-cultural reasons. Often those who practice it point out that it is rooted in local culture and has been passed from one generation to another. Indeed, research suggests that ethnicity and the practice of FGM are closely linked.[viii] It can serve as a marker of cultural identity which has the effect of creating a powerful impetus to continue the practice, especially if a society feels under pressure or threat. Other cultural factors stem from gender inequality within societies which view women as the gatekeepers of family honour. In these situations it may be believed that girls’ sexual desires must be controlled early on to preserve their virginity and prevent immorality. In other communities, the practice is seen as necessary to ensure marital fidelity and to prevent “deviant” sexual behaviour.
Its consequences on the victims: FGM is medically unnecessary and irreversible.[ix] It severely damages the health of millions of girls and women and has immediate and long-term effects on their physical, sexual, and emotional health. All types of FGM have numerous acute and chronic physical health consequences, including implications for reproductive health. The most immediate consequences include death and the risk of death from hemorrhaging, and shock from the pain and level of trauma that may accompany the procedure. Heavy bleeding can be particularly life-threatening in a context of limited access to emergency health care. All types of FGM have numerous acute and chronic physical health consequences, including implications for reproductive health.
While only a few studies have tackled the effects of FGM on mental and emotional health, it is believed that FGM causes varying degrees of emotional difficulties that may lead to psychiatric disorders. The psychological consequences of FGM may be caused by a loss of trust or a sense of betrayal by a close family member. Girls are often accompanied to the midwife’s home by their mothers, aunts, or grandmothers without any prior knowledge about where they are going and what they are going to do. In other instances, close female relatives or neighbours, instead of traditional midwives, carry out the procedure on their own girls. Girls may grow to fear the female members of their families.[x]
A human rights issue: Worldwide recognition of FGM as a human rights violation came in the early 1990s. This gruesome and devious practice against women infringes on numerable rights that constitute basic human rights of women.[xi] The right to health, right to access accurate health information, right to be free from violence, right to life and physical integrity, right to non-discrimination, right to be free from cruel and inhuman treatment, etc need to be enforced with due effect to do justice to women and to free them from this long practised act of torture.
Early And Forced Marriage
The age at which it is appropriate for girls to marry has been a contentious matter in many countries in recent centuries. In societies where marriage was considered to be the prerogative of families, the children themselves were rarely consulted and the age of marriage, or at least of betrothal, was likely to be quite young, before children could exert their own will. Although physical readiness for sexual intercourse and child-bearing was a consideration, this was a matter to be supervised by adult kin, and the wedding could, if necessary, be timed so that it occurred separately from the consummation of marriage. Apart from families, the only other institutions directly concerned with marriage were likely to be religious ones.[xii]
Occurrence and prevalence: This practice has been followed widely across the continents in several parts of the world. In South Africa, ukuthwala is the practice of abducting young girls and forcing them into marriage, often with the consent of their parents.[xiii] The practice occurs mainly in rural parts of South Africa, and the girls who are involved in this practice are frequently under-aged, including some as young as eight. Other countries of Africa such as Niger and Madagascar have been practising it as well. In Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India are the major nations following this since time immemorial. Although having been declared illegal in these countries, the absence of effective law-enforcing agencies has kept this practice unchecked which is why rural areas still consider it a very important part of their culture and tradition. Forced marriage is also used as a tool to get citizenship in Britain where parts of the British Pakistani community practice is due to factors such a family pride, social obligation and wishes of the parents.[xiv]
Reasons for its practice: The causes of early and forced marriage are complex, interrelated and dependent on individual circumstances and context. Women and girls often occupy a lower status in societies as a result of social and cultural traditions, attitudes, beliefs that deny them their rights and stifle their ability to play an equal role in their homes and communities.[xv] In many countries the importance of preserving family ‘honour’ and girls’ virginity is such that parents push their daughters into marriage well before they are ready. There is a belief that marriage safeguards against ‘immoral’ or ‘inappropriate behaviour’. Poverty is another factor where in families on low income, girls are often seen as burdens. Another major reason is the failure to enforce laws.[xvi] Sometimes families are not even aware they are breaking the law. In some countries early marriage is so prevalent, prosecutions are seldom brought.
Its consequences on the victims: Early and forced marriage contributes to driving girls into a cycle of poverty and powerlessness. When a girl enters into early or forced marriage, their family will remove them from schooling, as their role will then be to carry out domestic work and bear children. Girls with no education are 3 times more likely to be married before the age of 18 than those with secondary education.[xvii] And the impact continues through the generations. Daughters of young, uneducated mothers are more likely to drop out of school and be married early, repeating the cycle. Girls who are victims of early and forced marriage have higher mortality rates than their unmarried counterparts and most girls who are subjected to early or forced marriage usually have poor sexual health. According to research carried out by the World Health Organisation, married girls aged 15 to 19 are more likely to experience violence than older married women. Due to lack of education, lower status, lack of control and powerlessness, girls subjected to early or forced marriage suffer higher levels of violence, abuse and rape.
Is early and forced marriage legal? According to the Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), marriage before the age of 18 shouldn’t be allowed since children don’t have the ‘full maturity and capacity to act’. Similarly, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that marriage should be ‘entered only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses’.[xviii] Where one of the parties getting married is under 18, consent cannot always be assumed to be ‘free and full’.
Son Preference: Female Infanticide And Foeticide
Female feticide is “a practice that involves the detection and abortion of female foetus due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females.” This could be done at the behest of the mother, father, or under family pressure.
Occurrence and prevalence: Women are murdered all over the world. According to the United Nations, there are, on average, 105 females to every 100 males in most countries of the world. But this pattern, tellingly, does not in four countries where female infanticide and foeticide are still practiced: India, where there are 93 women to every 100 men; Bangladesh and Afghanistan, where the ratio is 94 to 100 men; The Indian census has always reflected a gender imbalance. Female foeticide- the selective abortion of female foetuses- and infanticide are largely responsible for this disparity. This marked gap between males and females has nationwide implications.
Reasons for its practice: It is quite simply more expensive to raise a female than a male, as the female child needs to be provided a dowry upon marriage.[xix] It is widely known that increased dowry payments led to the further decline of the status of women. Consequent upon the advances in medical science, the termination of unwanted children, especially female foetuses through abortion, has become common in families to satisfy their preference for sons. Studies indicate that there is a preference for sons in South Korea, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Mexico, Taiwan and China. In India, the excuse offered is that families prefer boys to girls because boys provide security to aged parents.[xx] Socio-economic background has also been the villain behind female feticide. Certain communities want to get rid of female children because of dehumanizing poverty, unemployment, superstition, and illiteracy. The bias against females is also related to the fact that “Sons are called upon to provide the income; they are the ones who do most of the work in the fields. In this way sons are looked to as a type of insurance.[xxi]
Consequences of Female Foeticide: Beyond the tragedy of the destruction of one million foetuses annually, the consequences are potentially disastrous for the society as a whole. The India’s discourse on female feticide is so crass, that it is either totally ignored, or the discussion is only in a context of how would men find mates with a shortage of women.[xxii] Indeed it is ironic that the reason that is provided as the strongest reason for stopping this genocide is that men will not be able to get married.[xxiii] The steep decline in the number of girls makes them scarce for the teaming number of males eligible for marriage. As a solution to this issue, illegal trafficking of women has become commonplace in many regions. This is a graver matter than the ideology of mail order brides. Women, often young girls who’ve just crossed the threshold of puberty, are compelled to marry for a price fixed by the groom-to be. They are usually bought in from neighbouring areas, where the number of girls might not be as miniscule as the host region. Child marriages become a rage and child pregnancies, a devastating consequence. Once women become an endangered species, it is only a matter of time before the instances of rape, assault and violence become widespread. Countless reports the world over have demonstrated that, in societies where son preference is practised, the health of the female child is adversely affected.
Growing Menace of Female Foeticide in India: Violence against women exists in various forms, in all societies, the world over. However, the recognition that elimination of gender-based violence is central to equality, development and peace, is recent. The killing of women exists in various forms in societies the world over. However, Indian society displays some unique and particularly brutal versions, such as dowry deaths and sati. Female foeticide is an extreme manifestation of violence against women. Female foetuses are selectively aborted after pre-natal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of girls.[xxiv] As a result of selective abortion, around 35 to 40 million girls and women are missing from the Indian population. In some parts of the country, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 800:1,000. The United Nations has expressed serious concern about the situation.
An honour killing (also called a customary killing) is the murder of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators (and potentially the wider community) that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family or community. Honour killings are directed mostly against women and girls.
Occurrence and prevalence: In 2000, the United Nations estimated that there are 5,000 honour killings every year. It can be said that such killings are more prevalent among the Muslim communities and hence majorly practised by the Middle Eastern countries where gruesome instances have come to public knowledge. Countries such as Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan[xxv], etc account for more than half of the honour killings in the world on account of discriminatory family laws and a male dominated society. Heinous examples can be seen in countries such as Saudi Arabia where girls are even slaughtered for chatting with men on social networking websites. Stoning is also practised among countries such as Pakistan (karo-kari) and Afghanistan where young women are publicly stoned to death for refusing to marry according to the family’s wishes. Honour killings have been reported in northern regions of India, mainly in the Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan[xxvi], Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, as a result of people marrying without their family’s acceptance, and sometimes for marrying outside their caste or religion.
Reasons for its practice: The most obvious reason for this practice to continue across the world, albeit, at a much faster and almost daily basis, is because attitudes towards women who marry of their own free choice as having stained the honour of the family still persist. According to them, if any daughter dares to disobey her parents on the issue of marriage and decides to marry a man of her wishes, it would bring disrepute to the family honour and hence they decide to give the ultimate sentence, that is death, to the daughter. In many cultures, victims of rape face severe violence, including honour killings, from their families and relatives.[xxvii] In many parts of the world, women who have been raped are considered to have brought ‘dishonour’ or ‘disgrace’ to their families. This is especially the case if the victim becomes pregnant.[xxviii] Sociologists believe that the reason why honour killings continue to take place in India[xxix] is because of the continued rigidity of the caste system. Hence the fear of losing their caste status through which they gain many benefits makes them commit this heinous crime. The root of the cause for the increase in the number of honour killings is because the formal governance has not been able to reach the rural areas.
The psychological effects of honour killings: The psychological effects of the occurrence of ‘honour’ killings are very detrimental. The presence of this violent practice induces a great deal of fear and many burdens on women, as they are most often the victims. It threatens the safety, physical, and mental health of women, as ‘honour’ killings not only works as a mode of social control, but a fear tactic, creating an environment of anxiety and risk.[xxx]
The concept of Honour: So-called honour killings are based on the deeply rooted belief that women are objects and commodities, not human beings entitled to dignity and rights equal to those of men. Women are considered the property of male relatives and are seen to embody the honour of the men to whom they “belong”. Women’s bodies are considered the repositories of family honour. The concepts of male status and family status are of particular importance in communities where “honour” killings occur and where women are viewed as responsible for upholding a family’s “honour.” If a woman or girl is accused or suspected of engaging in behaviour that could taint male and/or family status, she may face brutal retaliation from her relatives that often results in violent death. Even though such accusations are not based on factual or tangible evidence, any allegation of dishonour against a woman often suffices for family members to take matters into their own hands.
Convicted killers often speak with defiant pride and without regret about their actions. “We do not consider this murder,” said Wafik Abu Abseh, a 22-year-old Jordanian woodcutter who committed a so-called honour killing, as his mother, brother and sisters nodded in agreement. “It was like cutting off a finger.” Abdel Rahim, a convicted killer who was released after two months, also said he had no regrets. “Honour is more precious than my own flesh and blood” (The New York Times)
Protection Of Women: A Responsibility Of All
Since the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993, it is hoped that all States will recognize and accept the universality and indivisibility of the human rights of women. It is also expected that there will be more ratifications of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. However, much remains to be done in the field of equality, taking into account the absence, in many countries, of real constitutional guarantees of fundamental human rights for all.[xxxi] The persistence of negative customary norms that conflict with and undermine implementation of both national legislation and international human rights standards must be addressed.
Although such national legislation and international standards are vital in tackling the issue of harmful traditional practices, there is an urgent need for a parallel programme that addresses the cultural environment from which these practices emerged, in order to eliminate the various justifications used to perpetuate them. It is the duty of States to modify the social and cultural attitudes of both men and women, with a view to eradicating customary practices based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either sex or on stereotyped roles of gender.[xxxii] Comprehensive and intensive programmes of formal and informal education, awareness raising and training are the approach followed by some Governments, non-governmental organizations and women’s groups.
The environment of discrimination, which denies women and the girl child equal access to health care, education, employment and wealth, must also be addressed and reformed. In the international debate, the father’s responsibility towards the girl child has never been challenged. However, the duties and responsibilities of men within the family have begun to receive special attention as instruments of change.
The Programme of Action adopted by the International Conference on Population and Development in September 1994 states:
“Changes in men’s and women’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour are necessary conditions for achieving the harmonious partnership of men and women. . . . It is essential to improve communication between men and women on issues of sexuality and reproductive health, and the understanding of their joint responsibilities, so that men and women are equal partners in public and private life. . . . Male responsibilities in family life must be included in the education of children from the earliest ages. Special emphasis should be placed on the prevention of violence against women and children”
One of the most noticeable achievements at the international level has been the lifting of the taboo against addressing the issue of female genital mutilation, which is now acknowledged as a violation of the human rights of women and the girl child. This has created new socio-cultural forces in the countries concerned, particularly among women participating in the crusade against FGM. None the less, unprecedented efforts are needed at the national and international levels to eradicate all forms of harmful traditional practices. Governments, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and NGOs should now play a more important role in monitoring and implementing the Plan of Action for the Elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children. Technical and financial support should be given to national and regional organizations which advocate gender equality and promote human rights for all.
Most women in developing countries are unaware of their basic human rights. It is this state of ignorance which ensures their acceptance-and, consequently, the perpetuation of harmful traditional practices affecting their well-being and that of their children. Even when women acquire a degree of economic and political awareness, they often feel powerless to bring about the change necessary to eliminate gender inequality. Empowering women is vital to any process of change and to the elimination of these harmful traditional practices.
Edited by Kanchi Kaushik
[i] Mira Seth, Women and Development: The Indian Experience, Sage Publications (New Delhi, 2001)
[ii] Violence Against Women-Women Against Violence, ed. By Shirin Kudchedkar and Sabiha Al-Issa 1998 (D.K. Fine Arts Press Ltd.: New Delhi)
[iii] Neera Desai & Usha Thakkar, Women in Indian Society, (National Book Trust: New Delhi)
[iv] Gender Equality, Taking a Stand Against Practices that Harm Women available at www.unfpa.org
[v] OHCHR, Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet23en.pdf
[vi] The International NGO Council on Violence against Children, Violating Children’s Rights: Harmful practices based on tradition, culture or superstition, 2012
[vii] World Health Organization, Female Genital Mutilation, Fact Sheet No. 241, May 2008,
[viii] Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project, “FGC around the World,” undated, http://www.fgmnetwork.org/intro/world.php
[ix] UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Strategies to Eradicate Harmful Traditional Practices, Female Genital Mutilation,” (Annex 2), http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/3efc79f34.pdf
[x] James Whitehorn et al., “Female genital mutilation: cultural and psychological implications,” Sexual and Relationship Therapy, vol. 17, no. 2, 2002, pp. 161 – 170
[xi] Iyer Saroj, The Struggle to be Human-Women’s Human Rights (1999) Books for Change, Bangalore
[xii] Susan Blackburn and Sharon Bessell, Marriageable Age: Political Debates on Early Marriage in the Twentieth Century Indonesia, available at www.jstore.com
[xiii] Mail and Guardian, When Culture Clashes With Gender Rights, available at www.jstore.com
[xiv] Baronnes Amos launches Tying the Knot, an educational video on marriage and freedom of choice, 11 March 2002, accessed on 1 September 2014
[xv] K.G. Santhya, Usha Ram, Association Between and Young Woman’s Marital and Reproductive Health outcomes: Evidence from India, available at www.jstor.com
[xvi] Stange, Mary Zeiss, Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World, Vol. 1, Sage Publication, p. 496
[xvii] K.W. Bartz, Early Marriage: A Propositional Formulation, Journal of Marriage ad Family available at www.jstor.com
[xviii] The World of Gender Justice, ed. By Murlidhar C. Bhandare (1999) (Har Anand Publications Pvt. Ltd: New Delhi)
[xix] Malvica Karlekar, The Girl Child in India: Does She Have Any Right? 15 CAN. WOMAN’S STUD. 55-56 (1995)
[xx] Sonalde Desai, Gender Inequalities and Demographic Behaviour: India 166 (Population Council, Inc., N.Y., 1994)
[xxi] Kishor, “May God Give Sons to All”: Gender and Child Mortality in India, 58AM.SOC.
REV. 262 (Apr. 1993)
[xxii] Monia Das Gupta & P. N. Mari Bhat, Fertility Decline and Increased Manifestation
of Sex Bias in India, 51 POPULATION STUD. 307 (1997)
[xxiii] Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act 1994
[xxiv] Manmeet Kaur, Female Foeticide: A Sociological Perspective, The Journal of Family
Welfare, Vol. 39(1), March 1993
[xxv] F. Faqir, Intrafamily Femicide in Defence of Honour: The Case of Jordan, available at www.jstor.com
[xxviii] Gendercide Watch: cases of honour killings from the Balkans Jordan, Pakistan,
Palestine/Israel, available at http://www.gendercide.org/case_honour.html
[xxix] India ‘honour killings’: Paying the price for falling in love, bbc.co.uk. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 01 Sepember 2014
[xxx] P. IIkkaracan, Exploring the Context of Women’s Sexuality, available at www.jstor.com
[xxxi] B.S. Aswal, Women and Human Rights, 2010 (Cyber Tech Publications: New Delhi)
[xxxii] Gender and Discrimination: Health, Nutritional Status and Role of Women in India ed. By Manoranjan Pal, 2009 (Oxford University Press: New Delhi)