Let this sink in: India is the most dangerous country for women

By Prarthana Mitra

According to a recent poll conducted by global experts, India ranks first on the list of countries that are most unsafe for women.

Some of the world’s most conflicted zones and regressive regimes followed India on the list, namely Syria, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. The US was the only western nation to trail within top ten, on account of gender crimes committed overseas, while at war, and in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Key takeaways

On 26 June, the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey carried out by over 500 experts on women’s issues published its results. These were based on answers to questions on the risk of sexual violence, harassment and non-consensual coercion.

Respondents were asked to name five among the 193 member states of United Nations, that they thought were most dangerous for women. Corollary questions were also raised regarding the worst countries when it comes to healthcare, economic resources, cultural or traditional practices, sexual violence and harassment, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.

Deemed as the world’s most dangerous country for women, India shot up from fourth to the first position since the 2011 survey, due to the high risk of sexual violence and slave labour. The report shows that most respondents ranked India as the most dangerous country for women in terms of human trafficking, sexual slavery, domestic servitude and for customary practices such as forced marriage, stoning and female infanticide.


Nine of the 10 countries on the list were from Asia, the Middle East or Africa. India, Libya and Myanmar were considered to house the largest number of human and women traffickers, making an estimated $150 billion every year by means of this organised crime.

Rounding out the top 10 most dangerous countries for women were Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and Nigeria.

But, beti bachaao?

Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation pointed out the fact that India tops the list is “not surprising.

Five years after the heinous rape of a student on a public bus in Delhi, justice continues to elude in cases of violence against women. Clearly, not enough has been done to tackle the dangers women face in this country on a daily basis. One could even say that the condition of women in this country has worsened. The two recent incidents at Unnao and Kathua reflect the second-class status women and children in the country are relegated to.

Although the central government has moved to pass numerous legislations increasing penalties for sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse, including extending prison sentences and introducing the death penalty, around 100 sexual assaults are reported to police in the country every day. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of reported cases of crime against women rose by 83 percent between 2007 and 2016.

An ongoing problem

The foundation released a statement bemoaning the women living in these countries and decrying the governments for their lackadaisical attitude to a global menace.
“World leaders vowed three years ago to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls by 2030, allowing them to live freely and safely to participate equally in political, economic and public life. But, despite this pledge, it is estimated that one in three women globally experience physical or sexual violence during their lifetime,” argued experts, adding, ”Child marriage is still rife, with almost 750 million women and girls married before their 18th birthday, resulting in teen pregnancies that can put their health at risk and limiting schooling and opportunities.”
Many of the experts lauded the #MeToo movement. They hoped that this survey will act as a reality check to make violence against women a national priority for each of these nations to address with the utmost expediency.

Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius