I was asked by Scroll.in to recommend a short reading list for this year’s International Women’s Day. Here are my recommendations with books by Urvashi Sahni, Angela D Saini, Aparna Jain, Mathangi Subramanian, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Real balance comes when people are not limited by social or ideological stereotypes and prejudices in their aspirations, choices, behaviours, and needs simply because of being born a particular gender. It can only be sustained when everyone has equal opportunities in six key areas: education, employment, financial independence, healthcare, political governance, and personal development. (Note: “equal” does not mean “same” in this context.)
For India, the most important of these is education, particularly as a necessary foundation for the other five areas. The 2011 Indian census showed that the effective literacy rate was 82.14% for men and 65.46% for women. While the latter rate was an increase of 11.79 percentage points over 2001, there is still a considerable gender literacy gap.