The National Commission for Women (NCW) has flatly rejected a survey that named India as the most dangerous country in the world for women. The NCW said the number of people surveyed could in no way reflect the state of affairs in a country of 1.3 billion people.
It also pointed out that there could be no doubt that India is far ahead of a number of countries in terms of women's rights.
The survey in question was carried out by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Its report is predicated on responses from nearly 550 experts - from Europe, Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific. The survey focused asked these experts to rank countries based on key parameters.
"The Commission rejects the survey in question. For a nation as big as India, with a population of approximately 1.3 billion, the sample size of the survey is not representative of the country as a whole," read a statement from the NCW.
NCW acting chairperson Rekha Sharma too weighed in on the issue. "Women in India are aware of their legal rights and the procedure and method of access to the legal system more than ever before. Some of the countries that have been ranked after India have women who are not even allowed to speak in public," she said.
Sharma added that awareness among women and girls had been built up over the years through agencies like the NCW, the state Commissions for Women, NGOs and the media.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation survey had said women were safer in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Saudi Arabia than they are in India.
The survey report blamed India's placement on the list due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour. Respondents also ranked India the most dangerous country for women in terms of human trafficking, including sex slavery and domestic servitude, and for customary practices such as forced marriage, stoning and female infanticide, news agency Reuters said.
A similar survey had earlier been conducted in 2011, which termed Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia as the most dangerous nations for women, in that order.