Study reveals scale of female suicides in India

India in 2016 accounted for 17.8 percent of the global population but 36.6 percent of female suicides. (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 September 2018
0

Study reveals scale of female suicides in India

DELHI: Meenu, 25, tried to commit suicide three years ago when her husband tried to stop her from following her career and insisted that she focus on raising their first child.
She was saved by a timely intervention from her neighbor.
“I come from a small town in Kerala (a southern Indian state), and did a professional course for nursing to make a career. I couldn’t reconcile myself to being a fulltime housewife,” Meenu, who is a nurse in a local hospital, told Arab News.
This week, a study by the Lancet, a British health journal, revealed that the number of women committing suicide in India is the highest in the world, terming it a “public health crisis.”
India in 2016 accounted for 17.8 percent of the global population but 36.6 percent of female suicides, making it the “ninth leading cause of death” in the country that year, the Lancet said. Of the female suicides in India, 71.2 percent were in the age group 15-39 years.
“Married women account for the highest proportion of suicide deaths among women in India. Marriage is known to be less protective against suicide for women because of arranged and early marriage, young motherhood, low social status, domestic violence, and economic dependence”, the journal wrote.
Rakhi Dandona, professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told Arab News: “The lower status of women in society, gender discrimination, different aspirations and different responsibilities are all factors responsible for female suicides in India.”
She said: “Domestic violence is the biggest factor. Among girls and women depression is more common, and suicide rates are higher in most of the southern Indian states, which are prosperous.”
Women’s rights activists and those working on gender equality say the study calls for action and cannot be ignored.
“This is very sobering data. We never realized the number was so high, especially for girls,” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the Population Foundation of India, a public health group.
Jameela Nishat, who runs the Shaheen Women Resource and Welfare Association, said: “Domestic violence is one of the major factors for suicide among women.”
She added: “Last month, a 25-year-old girl committed suicide because she couldn’t cope with the marital situation. Every month we get a case like this, and most of them are from middle-class families.”
Dandona said: “We need a national suicide-prevention plan. Only then will people start talking about suicide.”
She added: “We need to know why people get mental-health issues. This has to be a macro-level, multi-sectoral exercise.”


Thousands of yellow vests protest despite Macron outreach

Updated 42 min 9 sec ago
0

Thousands of yellow vests protest despite Macron outreach

  • Macron is facing a plethora of demands ranging from the re-introduction of the wealth tax to the implementation of popular votes that allow citizens to propose new laws
  • More than 80,000 people protested across France last weekend — up from 50,000 the week before

PARIS: Thousands of yellow vest protesters rallied in several French cities for a tenth consecutive weekend on Saturday, despite a national debate launched this week by President Emmanuel Macron aimed at assuaging their anger.
In Paris, protesters answered a call from a prominent and provocative protester promoting a march starting at the Invalides monument in Paris, home to Napoleon’s tomb, to remember the 10 people killed in protest-related traffic accidents and hundreds injured since the movement kicked off Nov. 17.
Police has been criticized by protesters for the use of rubber projectiles that have left dozens of people injured.
“It’s not normal to treat people the way we are being treated. We have injured people every Saturday,” said Juliette Rebet, a demonstrator marching in Paris.
At the Invalides, protesters carrying a banner that read “Citizens in danger” marched at the front of the procession and held coffin-shaped black boards in memory of those killed.
Paris deployed 5,000 police around the capital, notably around government buildings and the Champs-Elysees, stage of recent violence. About 80,000 police are fanned out nationwide.
Protesters marched peacefully in the French capital. Twelve people were arrested by the early afternoon, according to figures provided by Paris police.
The capital and much of France have endured weeks of protests that at times descended into violence. Saturday marked the 10th straight weekend of yellow vest protests, and will test whether Macron’s debate is diminishing the movement’s momentum.
The grassroots protests started two months ago over fuel taxes but became a broader revolt against economic problems. The movement showed signed of abating during the festive period, but more than 80,000 people protested across France last weekend — up from 50,000 the week before.
Macron is facing a plethora of demands ranging from the re-introduction of France’s wealth tax, called the ISF, on the country’s richest people, to the implementation of popular votes that allow citizens to propose new laws.
Macron launched his grand debate this week during meetings with mayors and local officials. The three-month-long debate consists of a series of meetings organized by ordinary citizens, associations and elected officials to enable the French to express their views on the economy and democracy. Macron said he is open to discussions but has already warned he won’t give up on his promises, including the touchy issue of reforming pensions.
“We do not believe in the grand debate,” said Jonathan Gaby, a demonstrator from the Paris suburbs. “We won’t decide, the government will decide in the end.”