Jawaharlal Nehru, leader of India's independence movement, and India's first prime minister stated, “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women.” Within India’s male dominated culture, women and girls receive little respect or social standing. Starting from birth, women are denied the care and commitment that boys in the family receive. According to the laws of India, women are citizens and in theory have the same rights as a man. Although India has made great strides over the past decade patriarchal traditions of gender basis prevail. Lack of acceptance from men leaves women mistreated within the home and within society in general.
For 2013, the Reuters Trust Law group named India as one of the worst countries in the world for women. India is also the poorest country in the world. 51 percent of India’s 1.2 billion population or 844 million people live in oppressive poverty. At 54 percent, India has the lowest literacy rate for women of any country in the world. Women bear the children and do all the domestic work, yet many women and girls are abused and malnourished. Domestic violence, sex selective abortion and female infanticide remain prevalent problems.
Within India, 11 million abortions are performed annually and greater than 20,000 women die from abortion related complications. The Bloomberg Report, June 11, 2012 describes India’s inequities for women, "When it comes to family planning, women are on the front lines in India, which has carried out about 37 percent of the world's female sterilizations. Government-imposed quotas and financial incentives for doctors mean 4.6 million women were sterilized last year, many for cash payments and many in the unsanitary and rudimentary conditions." Only 4 percent of men underwent vasectomies.
The Population Foundation of India represents the goals of many of the humanitarian relief agencies striving to empower and educate women stating, "We work for a healthy India, where a woman is empowered to take her own decisions, a couple can make informed choices and the family is assured of an improved quality of life."
Founded in 2005 by India born billionaire businessman and visionary philanthropist Tej Kohli, the Tej Kohli Foundation is diligently working towards empowering girls and women in India to take control of their lives. The foundation works closely with grassroots organizations, disadvantaged persons, families and communities. The foundation works to raise awareness of female issues and fund programs that make a substantial difference in peoples lives.
The mission statement from the foundation explains stating, "The Tej Kohli Foundation is determined to make a difference in the fight against poverty, disease and ignorance. Our goal is to strive for a world in which all people have hope and dignity. By focusing our efforts on individuals and families in the most vulnerable groups, and the sincere belief that they deserve the chance to improve their lives we work hard to make a difference. Our primary concerns are children because we know they are the future, and impoverished women, because they have the power to help entire families and whole communities rise above poverty into a life of dignity."