The Gender Beat: Woman Gangraped in Kolkata; Child Marriage Rampant, Says Census Report

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality

Child marriage in India. Credit: Reuters.

Child marriage in India. Credit: Reuters.


Woman gangraped in Kolkata

Four men gangraped a 25-year-old woman in a moving car in Kolkata on the night of May 28, say reports.

The woman, who is reportedly from Nepal, took an Uber cab late at night to go to a coffee shop, but got the location wrong. Stranded, she asked a bystander for help. He called his accomplices and they offered the woman a lift. As soon as she got in, their car sped off and the men gangraped the woman for several hours, before throwing her out.

Police are scanning CCTV footage to identify the car. The woman has undergone a medical examination and doctors have confirmed rape.

Child marriage is rampant, says latest Census report

Almost one in every three married women was married before the age of 18, according to the latest Census report on the decadal headcount in 2011, The Indian Express reported. Of these, 78.5 girls were married when they were less than ten years old. The data also shows that 91% of all married women were married by the age of 25 years.

The data shows that the more education a woman has, the later she is likely to get married.

Welfare body demanded for transgender people

Transgender activists in Jharkhand are demanding that a transgender welfare board be created in the state, in keeping with the 2014 Supreme Court judgement recognising the rights of transgender people, says a Times of India report. Around 150 transgender people from various districts in the state gathered at a workshop on May 30 in order to share their grievances.

Recently, The Wire reported on the remarkable lack of progress in implementing the 2014 judgment in India, and how a lack of basic rights continues to adversely impact transgender people across the country.

India’s bonded labour assistance to include transgender people, boost payouts

A Reuters report says that India is revising its rehabilitation scheme for forced or bonded labourers to include transgender and other marginalised people.

Although India abolished bonded labour in 1976, the country is home to almost half the world’s 36 million slaves, says the report.

The Indian government plans to speed up court proceedings and will award higher compensation to rescued bonded labourers.

Four out of five Indian women are sexually harassed in public spaces: ActionAid UK survey

A new survey by ActionAid reveals that four out of five Indian women – 79% – have experienced some form of harassment or violence in public, according to a report in the Indian Express.

Respondents from north Indian states reported the highest percentages of “situations of harassment” while on public transportation, walking the streets and on the way to/from work.

Anti-trafficking draft bill is toothless: experts

An India Today report says that women’s rights experts have called the government’s new anti-trafficking law “toothless,” arguing that brings nothing new to the table.

“The new bill proposes mandatory registration of placement agencies, but registration of these agencies is already mandatory. There are still lakhs of illegal placement agencies trafficking women and children for domestic and sex work without any tab,” Ranjana Kumari, the director of the Centre for Social Research told India Today.

Kumari also said she fears that the new fund proposed by the government for the welfare of survivors of trafficking may meet the same fate as the Nirbhaya Fund, which remains largely unused. “There is no clarity on this fund such as what would be the amount, who will manage it, how would it used categorically etc,” she told India Today.

Activist Barkha Singh said that the bill needs inputs from more consultation with states and experts.

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