National Family Health Survey 5: Position of women in Indian Society


The government has released the National Family Health Survey 5 (NFHS-5). The survey was conducted in two phases — Phase-I from 17 June 2019 to 30 January 2020 covering 17 states and 5 UTs, and Phase-II from 2 January 2020 to 30 April 2021 covering 11 states and 3 UTs.

As per the survey, there are various important points related to women. Let’s have a look.

32 per cent of married women are working. 44 per cent of women are not even allowed to go to the market alone.

82 per cent of women in India can refuse to engage in sex with their husbands.

More than four in five women (82 per cent) can say no to their husband if they do not want to have sexual intercourse.

Women are most likely to be able to say no in Goa (92 per cent) and least likely to be able to say no in Arunachal Pradesh (63 per cent) and Jammu & Kashmir (65 per cent).

Marital rape is an exception to the definition of ‘rape’ under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and means that a man forcing himself on his wife aged above 18 years cannot be prosecuted. However, the findings show that there is a gradual change in the attitudes of both partners in a marriage.

Of the married women who are employed, 15 per cent are not even paid, and 14 per cent do not have a say over how the money they earn is spent.

In case of male, 98 per cent of married men aged 15-49 are employed.

Among employed women, 83 per cent earn cash, including 8 per cent whose earnings are in both cash and in kind.

Fifteen per cent of employed women are not paid for the work they do. By comparison, 95 per cent of employed men earn cash, and 4 per cent do not receive any payment for their work.

The survey has found that 56 per cent women are allowed to go to the market alone, 52 per cent to a health facility, and 50 per cent to places outside the village or community.

Overall, only 42 per cent women in India are allowed to go to all three places alone and 5 per cent are not allowed to go alone to either of the three places.

The proportion of women who report freedom of movement varies greatly by state. In Himachal Pradesh, 82 per cent of women are allowed to go alone to all three places, compared with only 2 per cent in Lakshadweep, 15 per cent in Kerala, and less than one-third in Goa, Odisha, Manipur, Nagaland, and Karnataka.

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