Indian women have always received separate treatment. Women were still seen as
homemakers and discouraged from pursuing a variety of careers even after
independence. Despite the nation's widespread goddess worship, this kind of
injustice continued. While gender equality has greatly improved since
independence, there is still a mindset difference in society on this issue.
The things society as a whole requires for in gender equality
It is the mindsets and methods that give rise to inequality and discrimination.
Whether it is transgender people, women, children, or even males, sex
discrimination affects everyone. Though there appears to be a difference between
men and women's access to opportunities and decision-making authority, gender
equality is still a human right. In order toward gender equality, women's
empowerment is crucial. Providing women with equal opportunities and rights
supports reaching the goal of gender equality and several other development
The present day Indian laws concerning gender equality
The Indian Constitution considerably simplified the situation for women in terms
of gender equality. The Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties, and
Directive Principles of State Policy chapters of the Constitution all make
references to gender equality. In spite of supporting the State to take various
measures of equality and empowerment in favor of women, the Constitution
guarantees the empowerment of women.
Specific sections of the Constitution that deal with gender equality and
equality in general are Articles 14, 15, Article 15(3), Article 16, Article
39(a), Article 39(b), Article 39(c), and Article 42. Some of the articles
mentioned below are:
Equality before the law or equal status has been addressed in Article 14 of the
Indian Constitution. The State is unable to deny whether everyone has the same
rights before the law.
Discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, caste, sex, or place of birth is
prohibited by Article 15. The State may make any special provisions for women
and children without breaking this Article.
Under Article 16, every Indian citizen would have equal chances for job
possibilities and employment to all institutions.
The State will guarantee that men and women have an equal right to an adequate
standard of living, that men and women are paid equally, that the economic
system does not lead to the concentration of wealth, and that material resources
are distributed to serve a common purpose, as stated in Article 39 of the
Article 42 of the Constitution states that the State shall provide fair working
and maternity relief environments .Gender equality is thus guaranteed as a human
right by the Indian Constitution. In addition to these constitutional
requirements, some Acts differ somewhat from these provisions, and they are as
Provisions of LawTwo major categories can be used to classify the legal provisions:
Criminal offenses covered by special laws
- 1976- Equal Remuneration Act:
For the same labor, an employer is required by this Act to provide equal compensation to men and women. There can be no discrimination between men and women by an employer in terms of hiring, training, transferring employees, or the type of work performed.
- The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013:
On February 3, 2013, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, as recommended by the Verma Committee Report, went into effect. This Act created a number of new offenses that are now included in the Indian Penal Code, including acid attacks, sexual harassment, voyeurism, and stalking.
- Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013:
When sexual harassment of women at work was discussed and law against it was passed in the Vishaka case in 1992, the subject was first brought to light. The Indian Constitution's Articles 14, 15, and 21 safeguard women's fundamental rights; harassing women at their place of employment is against these rights.
- The Women's Reservation Bill:
With the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill, also known as the Constitution's 108th Amendment Bill, women would be granted 33 percent of the seats in the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Parliament of India, and all state legislative assemblies. The Upper House of Parliament, or Rajya Sabha, has not yet cast a vote on this bill.
- The Hindu Succession Act, 1956:
A change to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 was implemented in 2005 that resulted in the elimination of discriminatory clauses. Females' status as "limited owners" is eliminated by the Act, which grants them ownership of all property acquired before or after it is signed.
- The Maternity Benefits Act, 1961:
The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 underwent a revision in 2017. The Act increased the length of paid maternity leave for female employees who had less than two living children from the original twelve (12) weeks to twenty-six (26) weeks. In addition, the amendment permitted working mothers who had adopted a child under three months old to take 12 weeks of paid maternity leave starting on the date the child was received. After 26 weeks, mothers were also permitted to work from home, depending on their type of employment and their employer's approval.
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961:The Act forbids the giving or receiving of dowries in exchange for marriage. A punishment of up to Rs. 15,000 or the value of the dowry, six months in jail, or five years in prison can be imposed for asking for or providing dowry.
Criminal Acts Defined by the Indian Penal Code
- Rape - Section (375)
- Kidnapping and Abduction - Section (363-373)
- Dowry Deaths - Section (304B)
- Torture - Section (498A)
- Sexual Harassment - Section (509)
- Molestation - Section (354)
- Air India Vs Nargesh Meerza (1981):
The Supreme Court concluded that no one can be denied employment because of their sexual orientation after adopting an inclusive interpretation of Article 14. Regarding in-flight services, emphasis was placed on the staff's youthful appearance, glamour factor, and height.
- Laxmi Vs Union of India (2015):
The Supreme Court was asked to impose orders and make recommendations about how to stop acid attacks, which were becoming more frequent. The court directed both levels of government to outlaw the unlicensed selling of acids throughout the country. More severe penalties for those convicted of similar acts were made possible by this ruling.
- Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997):
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was inspired by the guidelines established by the court in this case, known as "The Vishaka Guidelines..." In this instance, the victim, Bhanwari Devi, was subjected to gang rape by five men in retaliation for her efforts to break up an infant's marriage and challenge the dominant male ego in Rajasthan, both of which were duties she performed. The Indian Constitution's Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 all clearly contain rights that are violated by sexual harassment, the court declared.
- Vineeta Sharma Vs Rakesh Sharma (2020):
The Supreme Court ruled in this case that daughters, regardless of whether they were born before the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, shall enjoy equal coparcenary rights in the Hindu Undivided Family by virtue of their birth and cannot be excluded from inheritance.
Existing weaknesses and potential fixes
India has to improve its status at the grassroots level, as evidenced by its
poor ranking in the WEF's Global Gender Gap Index report. Traditions and culture
are major factors in the development of gender inequity. Girls automatically
suffer when their parents have a cultural preference for sons. Even now, many
people are unaware that child marriage and sati rituals still persist in many
sections of the nation.
Solutions to gender-based violence and discrimination
must be put into place in order to achieve gender equality. Raising awareness,
particularly in rural and isolated villages, is also essential. Women have
repeatedly shown that they are on par with men in all fields.
So What Can be
done to Strengthen gender equality?
- Taking action to improve financial and job services in order to increase Women's economic independence.
- Strengthening laws against gender-based violence and stiff punishments for offenders.
- Raising awareness of sexual rights and sex education among disadvantaged groups in society.
- Encourage low-income Women to strengthen their life and career skills so they can manage their lives more effectively.
Due process has guaranteed equality for all Indian citizens, according to the
Indian Constitution. Social norms and beliefs have changed since the
Constitution was passed, yet certain problems persist. Many still view having a
girl kid as an additional financial strain on the family.
Despite the repeated implementation of numerous measures by the Government, the
Supreme Court, and other institutions to combat discrimination, the
narrow-mindedness of those who even consider practicing female forticide remains
unquestioned. Achieving complete gender equality in a nation like India remains
extremely difficult as a result of all of this.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Ashish Verma, Student at Amity University, Patna
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