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Housewives Make Up Over 50% of India’s Female Suicides

Context:

September 10 marked the observance of World Suicide Prevention Day, an initiative that was launched in 2003 with the goals of raising awareness about the critical issue, reducing societal stigma, and increasing overall awareness.

Relevance:

Dimensions of the article:

  1. World Suicide Prevention Day
  2. Suicide among housewives-statistics
  3. Explanation of the above data

World Suicide Prevention Day:

The annual observance of this day serves to bring attention to various strategies for preventing suicide. It was initially designated on September 10, 2003, as an initiative by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO). IASP and WHO collaborated to establish this day with the key message that “suicides can be prevented.”

After a successful inaugural year, WHO officially committed in 2004 to co-sponsor the event and make it an internationally recognized annual occasion. In 2011, approximately 40 countries organized awareness events to commemorate this day. IASP coordinates numerous events and programs across 60 countries to mark this important day.

Suicide among housewives-statistics:

  • For several years, the proportion of female suicides attributed to housewives has consistently exceeded 50%. Likewise, the contribution of housewives to the total number of suicides has remained at approximately 15% for an extended period.
  • States in the southern region of India that are economically more prosperous took the lead in terms of suicide rates. In 2021, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Karnataka were prominent on this list among the major states.
  • Slightly under 40% of married women in the lowest income group indicated that they could go to places like markets unaccompanied. A somewhat larger proportion of them reported having some financial autonomy, allowing them to make decisions about how to use their money.
  • Among married women in the least affluent 20% of households, 35% reported experiencing physical, emotional, or sexual violence, with fewer than 50% of them seeking assistance (primarily turning to friends and family and seldom approaching authorities). Conversely, the percentage of women who encountered violence was notably lower in more prosperous households.

Explanation of the above data:

The 2019-21 National Family Health Survey underscores the difficult situations confronting married women. These challenges encompass restricted mobility, limited financial independence, and marital dominance, along with experiencing physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from their spouses. Furthermore, the survey reveals that a significant number of women rarely seek external help and endure these infringements on their liberties silently. Additionally, the data indicates that women in the lowest income category endure higher levels of violence and possess fewer freedoms in comparison to their counterparts from more affluent households

In the southern states, where female literacy rates are relatively high, and women have greater access to mass media, there is often a clash between modern viewpoints and traditional societal norms. In contrast, resistance against traditional expectations is less pronounced in the northern states, partly because women in the north have lower levels of exposure to these contrasting perspectives.


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