Philanthropy for Gender Equality in India

With the number of women in positions of power today, you may think that gender inequality in India is a thing of the past. You may feel like celebrating all the progress we’ve made.

The reality, however, is much grim. There are still large sections of India’s population where women are still marginalized and even forced to follow customs that any sensible person today would deem regressive.

India ranked 127 out of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum. We’ve slipped significantly in this annually published report since ranking 115th in 2020.

We don’t want to deny that significant strides have been made towards progress. That said, it would be naïve to think that issues with gender equality in India aren’t just as pressing today as they were decades ago.

As a leading fundraising platform in India, here at Let It Count, we’ve witnessed and participated in several initiatives that strive for women empowerment.

Lately, we’ve been wondering whether enough is being done to address this issue. So we would like to use this article as an opportunity to go back in time and ponder over the progress made, the challenges that still persist, and what can be done to achieve a utopia where all women and girls are empowered.

The Epidemic of Silence

India has always been a conservative country with a deeply ingrained stigma around child sexual abuse. The lack of awareness, education, or even reporting on the matter is quite frankly baffling, considering how widespread the issue is. Way back in 2007, a report was published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

The study reported that more than 53% of children interviewed had reported some form of sexual abuse at the hands of their family members. Despite this, only a fraction of child sexual abuse cases get reported.

The situation is even more troubling for young boys. According to the Teenagers and Sexual Violence infographic published by NSVRC, it was found that 1 in 6 boys face sexual abuse before they turn 18. If the study proves anything beyond a shadow of a doubt, then it is the fact that young boys are just as susceptible to sexual abuse as girls. Yet, you’ll find very little reporting on this matter in India.

Understanding Gender Equality in India

Gender Equality stands for equal rights, opportunities, and treatment of all genders. It is a philosophy that dictates the creation of a just and inclusive society where prejudice or discrimination against women is completely abolished. It is impossible for a country to develop socially, politically, or economically if women aren’t allowed to exercise equal rights.

Despite India’s constitution guaranteeing this equality to all of its citizens, gender disparities still persist in various areas.

For instance, a report in 2021 found that 71.5% of India’s female population was literate as opposed to 84.4% of India’s male population. In the employment department, we found out that only 29.4% of women were part of India’s labor force. On the contrary, 80.7% of men were part of India’s labor force in 2021.

From our time working in rural areas across India, we can tell you that most Indian families still remain patriarchal with all important decisions being made by the male members.

If all of these reports claim anything, it is that we have a long way to go before anything even remotely resembling gender equality can be accomplished in India.

The Progress Made

It is not all doom and gloom though. Although there is a wide gender literacy gap, one cannot deny that the female literacy rate has risen. More women are a part of India’s workforce today than 5 years ago. Although we’d expect much more from the government, you can still credit them for implementing a few progressive policies aimed at women’s empowerment over the years.

The “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” policy, launched in 2015 worked well at creating awareness around girls’ education. Then you also had the “Ujjwala Yojana” scheme in 2016, which aimed to provide over 50 million LPG connections to women living below the poverty line. These efforts, however, have largely proved ineffective in addressing some formidable challenges.

Gender Equality: Challenges

In India, where varying social, cultural, and economic factors intertwine, the accomplishment of gender equality is complex.

Here are just a few notable examples of challenges that fuel gender disparity in India:

1. Poor Health

There are various social barriers in Indian communities that restrict women from getting the healthcare they need. There are still societies in India that only deem women worthy for their reproductive functions, and thus don’t really pay much heed to their overall well-being.

2. Educational Restrictions

According to a report published by Times of India, it was found that 12.4% of Children in India aged between 5 to 17 years are out of school. Among these children, the rate of girls in rural areas is significantly higher. They aren’t getting an education for a variety of reasons that range from violence to poverty and even child marriage.

3. Violence

According to the Times of India, The National Commission for Women registered 28,811 complaints of crime against Women last year. The number of sexual assault cases has also been on a steady rise in recent years. It is estimated that 30% of all women in India have experienced some form of physical or sexual abuse in their lives.

4. Discrimination

Discrimination on the basis of gender is a typical occurrence in many Indian households. It is very common for a male child in the house to be treated more favorably than a female child. Most women have faced discrimination from their elders since childhood.

5. Societal Norms

In India, especially in rural regions, antiquated social rules still determine how men and women should behave. Women are expected to partake in household chores, take care of a child, engage in the caregiving of elders, and participate in a number of other domestic responsibilities.

Social norms dictate that women should do all of these things while keeping their own personal aspirations at bay.

Key Lessons and Recommendations

When you consider all of the challenges staring at you, certain solutions present themselves.

1. Collaboration is Critical

As an online fundraising platform, Let It Count has been at the forefront of this battle to achieve gender equality. We now understand that this is a behemoth task that no institution can handle alone. A collaborative approach between government agencies, NGOs, and corporations is necessary to assure lasting change.

2. Empower through Education

Significant investment is required to educate and provide women with economic opportunities that can pull them from the clutches of poverty.

3. Tackling Structural Barriers.

Social awareness campaigns and legal reforms that directly tackle patriarchal norms and discriminatory laws are necessary to abolish deep-seated structural barriers in Indian society.

4. Supporting Initiatives that Help Survivors

More support needs to be showered on initiatives and organizations that combat violence against women. Initiatives that promote survivor empowerment and aggressively advocate for systemic change are the need of the hour.

5. Promote CSR Activities that Empower Women

We believe corporations underestimate the role they can play in encouraging women’s empowerment. We need to see more corporations in India invest in initiatives that address the root cause of gender inequality.

One such area is violence against women. By funneling their funds into initiatives that attempt to combat gender-based violence, corporations can play their part in creating a society where women are safe and thus enjoy the same rights as men.


Achieving gender equality demands a concerted effort from all sections of society. At Let It Count, this is exactly what we are trying to accomplish by casting a spotlight on initiatives that address the root causes of gender disparity.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to support initiatives that educate young girls, empower women, and provide safe spaces for victims of domestic abuse. With your contribution, we could together change the lives of millions of girls across the country. With your help, the day isn’t far when gender quality in India is no longer a distant dream.

Explore our website to check out projects that strive towards gender equality.