Discuss how the status of nursing as a profession is affected by the status of women in South Asian society.

Thesis statement:
“Factors related to the low status of women have also influenced the nursing profession in South Asia.”  Subtitle- Particularly in Nepal and India

I. Thesis statement
II. Introduction
o About the topic
   What the topic is about and what am I going to do with this
   Need of the study or the problem
o Definition of women’s status
o Definition of profession of nursing
o Background of the concept
o History and current status of women
o History and current status of nursing profession
III. Role of women in nursing profession in South Asia and specially Nepal and India
IV. Different factors affecting the profession of nursing in relation to status of women in Nepal and India
  Socio-cultural factors
  Environmental factors
V. Importance of status of women in the development of nursing profession in South Asia
VI. Summary
VII. Conclusion and recommendation
VIII. References

I. Introduction:
The topic is about the status of woman and its effect on profession of nursing in South Asia. I am going to discuss how the factors related to low status of woman has influenced the profession of nursing, particularly Nepal and India. There is a need of this study because female are not well respected in the society of these countries and so do nursing profession, which is considered as a female occupation. So it is really important to know why and how the status of women is affecting the nursing status. On the other side the ratio of nurse to people is 1: 6295 (Economic reform and Women status, 2004) in Nepal and hence demand of nurses is very high. Thus in my opinion, once we can find out the reasons behind the restraint of nursing profession due to the status of women, the status of nursing profession can be increased in many ways.

Definition of profession of nursing
“Profession” means it has a sole body of knowledge and principles, has controlled entry to the group e. g. registration; it has its own disciplinary system and a profession enjoys the gratitude of the wider community with the revelation of a high degree of independent practice (Ultimate nurse, 2008).

Nursing is a profession of art and science, focused on supporting individuals, families, and communities in attaining, maintaining, and recovering optimal health and functioning. The authority for the practice of nursing is based upon a social agreement that outlines professional rights and responsibilities as well as mechanisms for public accountability. (Wikipedia, 2009)

Definition of women’s status
“Status of women” has been defined by the United Nations in the context of their access to knowledge, economic possessions, and political influence, as well as personal independence in the process of decision making. This is an issue of women across the globe. World Health Organization has considered these issues as interruption to the health and well being of women and their families through out the world. Different factors like traditions, culture and legal barriers are also affecting in the improvement of women status. (Lewis, 2009)

Background of the concept:

History and current status of woman
The status of women in South Asia is relatively poor compared to other parts of Asia and the world. Female children have limited access to marketing, productive services, education, health care, local government and even to food, compared to the male children and above that they are suffered by malnutrition and poverty. Illiteracy, discrimination and burden of family care, child marriage, neglect; physical, sexual and psychological abuse (One in every two women faces violence in South Asia), trafficking for prostitution, illegal adoption, child labor, long hours of work in unhealthy conditions, with minimal pay or with no pay sometimes are the barrier for the improvement of women’s status . (Progress of Women in South Asia, 2008, pg 45) Thus women are suppressed in each area and due to their poor status; the development in women’s status is also poor. (Malla, 2004) Women usually work harder and longer than men but it is in contrast to high class family. In terms of economic contribution, women usually get either 25% less in wages than men or aren’t allowed employment/ job. (Lewis, 2009)

Adult literacy rate female in Nepal is 2004 about thirty five percent (34.9 %), India about forty eight percent (47.8 %) (Progress of Women in South Asia, 2008) incidence of preference for son access to education also has seen allover in South Asia (Progress of Women in South Asia, 2008, pg 46). A low literacy rate has made women unable to develop their education level, employment level and other areas too. About 30- 60% of South Asian girls are attaining secondary school education. For India secondary level is 16% and Nepal just 7%, where as tertiary education is 2% for India and it is not applicable to Nepal (UNESCO 1999).  When the educational status is low, the level of job they get is also affected hence their autonomy. Even if some are literate or educated, employment rate of females are still very low in these countries. When they are less empowered or have less autonomy, their personal and professional growth also is affected. This is also a hindrance to promote their status. On the other hand, the societies of these countries are basically male dominant, so they just see the females as working instrument at home, child bearing machine etc (Forth World Conference on Women, 1995 pg 90). Policy makers think women’s health as an instrument to limit the no. of births, to produce healthier babies, to protect the health of the families and to improve the economic contribution of women to the society (Progress of Women status, 2008, pg 36) Each member of the family expects her to care them in different roles, so rather than going for job they want her to stay back in home all the time. Thus employment of women can bring misunderstanding and unsatisfaction. Even if she goes for job, she has to do household work, no matter how tired she will be in return. Society still perceives females to be dependent on her father before marriage, husband after marriage and son in old age (Hadley, B.M. et al, 2007). This is a male dominance and their control due to which female never are able to upgrade their status.
Even now, there are many societies in Nepal and India where child marriage occurs (Forth World Conference on Women, 2007, pg 90). Girls in poor backgrounds are often forced by the economic circumstances for early marriage and other exploitation (Progress of Women in South Asia, 2008, pg 39). There is already a very little chance for getting education in girl’s home but once they are married; there is no possibility of getting any schooling. Society thinks early marriage as a good sign and if girls go for school and become older then she might not be accepted in good families for marriage. Most of the cultures still follow the dowry system for marriage strictly and so if parents want to give their daughter in good family, they have to collect good amount of dowry, which makes many of the family not to waste money in education. Husbands still beat their wives to show their power. Even now, women’s abuse is increasing daily in India (Bang, R. & Bang, A., 1989).
Discrimination of girl and boy child in the rural area reflects the social mind set for the girl child. This kind of superstitions and prohibited culture has also played a role in detoriating the condition of women. Thus education can upgrade the status of girl child but this is not only the answer. (Bang, R. & Bang, A., 1989)
By observing the health status and other factors linked with health, we can also measure the status of women. Female life expectancy is 54 years and women have high infant mortality rate, high maternal mortality rate and high death rate including less than 5 mortality rate. (Malla, 2004) Due to male preferences, female children are given less food, less care. This isolation and poverty along with the low status of women, contribute to a variety of reproductive health problems, anemia, even maternal death. Only few health services focus on family planning (Progress of Women in South Asia, 2008). Trafficking is another major problem of the society which has made the thinking that women can be sold as a thing, and thus status of women is really low. This is mostly done by the males by giving false promises to the parents of girl (Gender Issues, 2002).

Change in women has been seen via development initiatives of particular nations, women’s organizations and their hard work. The alteration in women status is still with the conflict between contemporary and traditional things, national and western feminism which are doing target for women of 21st century. (Agrawal, 2007) Women’s status varies among different ethnic groups in Nepal, for e.g. women in Tibeto- Nepalese communities have better in autonomy and sovereignty than Pahari women. Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007 has helped to improve the status and solve the issues via gender responsive policy. India and Nepal have enrolled in each area to reduce the gender gap, significant progress in literacy (Progress of women in South Asia, 2008, pg 36) Therefore status of women in Nepal is reasonably improving than few decades before but still there is lack of empowerment in different areas.

History and current status of nursing profession 
In history, nurses were considered as female job and female used to care their families and people. We can see in the history that Florence Nightingale worked as a nurse and many females followed (LeVassaur, J. 1998). Although nursing has been always regarded as a valuable profession in developed countries, there is still requirement of great effort for the improvement in the establishment of nursing profession as a reputed one. (Nayeri, N.D. & Negarandeh, R., March 2009)

As we already say that the ratio of health care services of nurse ratio shows 1: 6295 which means that many people have to be motivated to improve the condition of nursing in Nepal. Even though the entrance of princess in nursing helped a lot to increase the status of profession in Nepal, some higher class family still refuses to allow lower class nursing student in their homes. One faculty member suggests that untouchables system is still in the society, so revolution is required in the nursing profession (Ogilvie, L. 1998). On the other side, with very few numbers of nurses, there is no higher/further education even if they want to increase the knowledge and hence profession. Concept of Continual Professional Development (CPD) is still not in habit for the personal and professional development of the nurses. Students are coming from not only the lower social classes but also from the upper social classes too.