MADRID — Historically, the experiences of many women in Asia’s two major civilizations, India and China, have been nasty. In China, young girls had their feet broken and bound to give them a shape presumed to be attractive to men. In parts of India, they were burned on the funeral pyres of their husbands in a practice called sati. In both countries, proverbs comparing women unfavorably to various animals, mocking their intelligence and even mourning their existence, remain common.
“The most poisonous thing in the world is a woman’s heart,” goes one Chinese saying. In Sanskrit, the root of many modern Indian languages, an idiom warns against trusting “rivers, animals with paws, animals with horns and women.” A married daughter is described in Chinese as “spilled water” — useless. In Malayalam, the language of the southern Indian state of Kerala, ostensibly one of India’s most progressive regions, a disappointing state of affairs is compared to “a home where a baby girl has just been born.”
>"The vanity projects and military gadgets that are meant to signal India’s arrival on the global stage are doomed to sputter and die unless the country can improve the abysmal reality of the systematic denial of agency to women."