5,000,000 Indian Women Have Made A 385-Mile Human Chain For Gender Equality

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The human chain formed by 5 million Indian women on 2019 New Year's Day made a powerful statement.

5,000,000 Indian Women Have Made A 385-Mile Human Chain For Gender Equality

Aparnesh Dattatreya/Facebook


The human chain formed by 5 million Indian women on 2019 New Year's Day made a powerful statement.


On January 1, 2019, five million women in the southern Indian state of Kerala lined up shoulder to shoulder to form a "women's wall" 385 miles (620 km) long. The wall was a statement of gender equality, and a call to end violent protests against women trying to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, a pilgrimage site for Hindus.


According to the Guardian, women of all ages have the legal right to enter the temple, as the country's supreme court ruled on the matter in September. Nevertheless, religious tradition has held that only men and senior women may enter. Even after the court's ruling, women of menstrual age have been met with abuse and violence as they attempt to worship at the temple.


Indian women face various forms of gender-based violence and discrimination, such as gang rape, sex trafficking, forced servitude, tribal practices, and more. In 2012, India was the fourth most dangerous country for women based on a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll. And, in 2018, it climbed to #1.



India ranks as the world's worst country for women in many areas measured by the poll, such as:


  • Cultural practices, acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage, punishment by stoning, physical abuse, or mutilation and female infanticide/foeticide
  • Human trafficking, which includes sex slavery, forced labor and servitude, and forced marriage.
  • Sexual violence, including rape (domestic, stranger, or as a weapon of war), lack of justice in cases of rape, sexual harassment and sexual coercion as a form of corruption.

The abuse of women who try to enter a sacred temple is only one symptom of a much larger gender violence problem in India. Since the brutal gang rape of a female student on a New Delhi bus—an assault which eventually led to her death—gained international attention in 2012, the country has been on global organizations' radar for violence against women. Still, things don't seem to have improved much since.


In 2017, India started offering state-issued wooden bats to women to fend off drunken, abusive partners with a promise that police wouldn't intervene. Oxfam India has helped form a coalition of organizations working to end violence against women in the South Asia region, but more needs to be done to turn the tide.


We have seen time and time again that when women come together and raise their voices as one, change follows. We hope this powerful "women's wall" will help move the needle for Indian women as they inspire others around the globe with their show of unity.

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Thinking Humanity: 5,000,000 Indian Women Have Made A 385-Mile Human Chain For Gender Equality
5,000,000 Indian Women Have Made A 385-Mile Human Chain For Gender Equality
The human chain formed by 5 million Indian women on 2019 New Year's Day made a powerful statement.
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