14 Powerful Photos That Show Why India Needs Feminism Now More Than Ever

14 Powerful Photos That Show Why India Needs Feminism Now More Than Ever

Just six weeks ago, two young girls in Uttar Pradesh, India, were found hanged on a mango tree. Their fragile bodies were dangling a few feet off of the ground; their bodies were limp after being gang-raped and murdered.

It wasn't an isolated incident: In the past few years, horrifying stories of gang rapes have dominated headlines abroad. While it is perhaps unfair to paint India as a country rife with dangerous gang rapes, it is a problem that remains largely unaddressed.

Some might explain these incidents, along with the troubles of sexual harassment and violence in the country, as being a part of the India's "culture." However, such incidents are emblematic of the country's continued impunity for sexual violence — a problem that feminists in the U.S. can relate to.

But these brutal stories are a part of a wider problem in India. As Asiya Islam writes for Mic, "The reality is that the sort of violence faced by women, particularly in a country as large as India, hinges on a wide range of factors that are usually left out of the narratives around these attacks."

That means that the experience of gender inequality cannot be separated from factors like poverty, class or even government corruption.

India's police force is notorious for disregarding complaints from women who report assault — and worse, in some cases, they partake in carrying out the crime.

When it comes to gender inequality, India is certainly lagging behind its counterparts. A 2013 report from the United Nations Development Program ranked India 132 out of 137 countries for gender inequality, making India one of the worst-performing Asian countries, excluding Afghanistan.

While India's government is taking some steps to create the image that India is addressing the problem of rape culture, women and men in India are standing up to take control of their own narratives. One such example is a group of women who decided to "strike" against rape culture by calling into work sick, or by not doing chores. The reason? They wanted to show that they're "sick of rape culture."

They're not the only people who want to bring an end to gender inequality in India. BuzzFeed's Rega Jha asked 46 Indians why the country needs more feminism. The answers are powerful, and in many cases, universal. 

Here are 14 reasons why India could use more feminism: