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Women MUST Not Accept But Challenge

Women empowerment refers to the upliftment of the spiritual, political, social, educational, and economical strength of women and their communities. In India women empowerment heavily depends upon the geographical conditions as it may vary from urban to rural societies as well as social strata.

Though there are plenty of policies working fair and square on the level of national as well as international level still it has been noticed that India is still lacking on some extent mostly on the rural level.

It has been noticed that 50% of the population comprises of women in society but still we don't have an exact sex ratio as it still depicts more men as compared to women. Either we talk about navratras or Saraswati pooja, women have been worshipped as goddesses but at the same time, they were treated as slaves in the same society.

Indian society faces an extensive list of crimes when it comes to crimes against women. Women are encountered with rapes, acid attacks, dowry deaths and many such heinous crimes. According to the data released by the National Crime records Bureau (NCRB), 3,886 per million reports have been filed in 2017 for crimes against women. These statistics have shown a rapid increase with 3,793 per million reports in 2016.

Crimes Against Women In India

Rapes

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as:

sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under 18 years of age.

The definition of rape was amended and it was further interpreted as any sexual act amounting to the derogation of sexual dignity of a woman.

India has been characterized as one of the countries with the lowest per capita rates of rapes. Most rape cases are not even reported because of the fear of humiliation of the victims. 98% of the rapes were committed by someone known to the victim. The rates of conviction of the offenders have observed a downfall over the last 4 decades. Out of all the rape trials in India, one out of four lead to a conviction. The fourth most common crime against women in India is rape.

Marital Rapes

As per the exception to section 375 of the IPC, sexual intercourse between a man with his wife, where the wife is not under the age of 15 years, is not rape. The wife's consent is based on the common law rule of marital exemption where the wife has already given her consent to the husband by marrying him.

Sexual offences by husbands against their spouse are mostly ignored by society, in recent times law has changed for the betterment of the current situation but this is still one of the silent social evils that continue to degrade the dignity of the female body and objectify women as inferior to the male of the house as well as society.

Gang Rape

According to section 376D:

where a woman is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of rape and shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less then twenty years, but which may extend to life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life, and with fine; provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim; provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim.

Some cases of gang rape have even shown a grudge of the members of the gang against the victim, the the thirst to humiliate and harm the female draws the offenders to commit such a heinous crime.

Dowry Death

Section 304B of IPC deals with dowry which states that the death of a woman caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called dowry death.

Dowry death is another form of evil that is prevalent in the Indian society. India has the highest number of dowry-related deaths in the world according to the NCRB. The victim not only is subjected to physical harm and cruelty but also faces immense mental and emotional torture and harassment. Some of these deaths are disguised in the form of accidents and suicides. In 2012, 8,233 dowry death cases were reported across India. Which means bride burning happens every 90 minutes, or dowry issues cause 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India.

Acid Attacks

One of the most violent and traumatizing forms of crime against women is the acid attack. It involves throwing toxic acid or a coercive substance on to the person with an agenda of disfiguring, harming or killing her. The practice of acid attack not only physically renders a female's whereabouts but also harms her self-image and confidence. The most common kinds of acids used to victimize a person are the sulfuric and the nitric acids.

Approximately 1,483 acid victims have been found in 5 years, 2014-18, according to the statistics are given by the NCRB.

Section 326A and 326B of the Indian Penal Code provides with the definition and the punishment relating to acid throwing and acid attacks. Section 326 A in the Indian Penal Code lays down the punishment for acid attacks. The minimum punishment is 10 years' imprisonment. It can extend up to life imprisonment with fine.

Whereas, section 326B states:
Whoever throws or attempts to throw acid on any person or attempts to administer acid to any person, or attempts to use any other means, with the intention of causing permanent or partial damage or deformity of burns or maiming or disfigurement or disability or grievous hurt to that person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years, but which may extend to seven years and also be liable to fine.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse is a kind of violence which happens in a domestic the setting, mostly in marriage. Many forms of domestic violence such as physical, mental, emotional, reproductive, verbal, and others are evident in the Indian households.

Section 498A of the IPC defines the meaning and punishment for domestic violence. The term cruelty mentioned in the section gives a brief insight as to any form of the voluntary and willful act which harms a woman physically or even drives her to take her own life. Domestic violence is in many cases not reported by the victim because of the fear of further torture by her spouse or his family, and even parental pressure and norms formed by society.

Present Situation
Talking about Nirbhaya to Hyderabad rape case it can be said that women of India still have a threat to them. According to national crimes record bureau, 52% of the women were found the victim in crimes reported in India. India has been named the most dangerous country in the world for women in a recent Thomson Reuters Foundation Survey.

Apart from this, it should be proud to say that, though women are still fighting with their empowerment but at the same time, there are personalities like Aruna jayanti, Zahabiya khorakiwala, Chitra Ramakrishna, Shikha Sharma who have touched the sky.

Gender Justice In India

Though the constitution guarantees gender equality, it has not been implemented in the country, in spite of more than 60 years of independence - Justice V. Gopala Gowda
Over an extensive stretch of time, Gender Inequality and differences existed in practically all social orders of the world and henceforth this issue is certainly not an ongoing improvement in India.

The confounded arrangements of conceptions that are stereotypically ascribed to women are passed on age by age in light of the fact that these over a range of time became social standards and have not been addressed. Gender Equality aims to balance the number, power, status and role of women in society.

Gender is essentially a socio-cultural term which contains in itself the socially credited roles, and practices ascribed to a man and a woman in the society. Consistently we have seen that Indian culture has subjugated the mind of women. She has been segregated from the very commencement of birth through abortion. Indeed, even before birth, battering during pregnancy, constrained pregnancy and so on are exceptionally normal in a nation like India. After birth women throughout their life cycle face segregation and brutality. She faces physical and sexual maltreatment, differential access to nourishment and therapeutic consideration, genital mutilation, assault, inappropriate behaviour at working environment, prostitution, endowment related viciousness and so forth.

The Preamble of the Constitution states that fairness ought to be given to all residents as far as status and opportunity. It must be comprehended that guarantee[i]ing rights to individuals of a network gets futile except if and until those rights are similarly delighted in by all individuals from the network. The makers of the constitution planned for guaranteeing equity of status and opportunity through the Preamble.

The Preamble of the Constitution bury alia discusses social, political and economic equity for all citizens of the nation. The Preamble discusses social equity which ought to be comprehended in the light of guaranteeing cancellation of a wide range of imbalances which may result from the disparity in wealth, status, class, caste, sex, race, title and so forth. Economic equity guarantees that each individual ought to get his only levy for the work given by him/her independent of caste, creed, sex, status and so forth. Political equity guarantees that superfluous differentiation among people in political issues ought not to be permitted.

Why Is There A Need For Women Empowerment

Reflecting into the Vedas Purana of Indian culture, women are being worshipped such as Laxmi Maa, goddess of wealth; Saraswati maa, for wisdom; Durga maa for power.
Even though women are still deprived of decision-making powers, freedom of movement, access to education, nutritional health and sanitation, employment opportunities and so on.
We will celebrate one more Women's Day on 8 March. As we do as such, it is the ideal time to check out how women in India, who contain a large portion of the nation's populace, have advanced as far as social and economic status, which undermines their strengthening. It is pitiful to take note of that except for a couple of high achievers; Women are still underrepresented in professional and public life.

In the UN Human Development Report's (2019) Gender Inequality Index, India is at the position 95th, out of 129 nations. In Gender Gap record (World Economic Forum) 2019, India's position is 108th out of 144 countries due to rising difference as far as women's' wellbeing and interest in the economy. In terms of women's health and survival and economic participation, India is now ranked in the bottom-five.

Women Empowerment Schemes

Mahila E-Hatt

A direct web-based promoting stage propelled by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to help businesswomen, Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to feature items made by them and benefits rendered. This is a piece of the 'Digital India' activity.

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao

The Spare the Girl Child development was propelled on 22 January 2015, it is a joint activity run by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao - The plan was propelled with an underlying subsidizing of Rs 100 crores. It fundamentally focuses on girl children in Uttarakhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana.

One-Stop Centre Scheme
Famously known as Sakhi, it was actualized on 1st April 2015 with the Nirbhaya finance. The One-Stop Centers were built up at different areas in India for giving asylum, police work area, lawful, medicinal and directing administrations to casualties of viciousness under one rooftop coordinated with a 24-hour Helpline. The toll-free the helpline number is 181. Sakhi focuses on and can be reached for, emergency response and rescue services, medical assistance, help in lodging FIR/NCR/DIR, Psycho - social help/counselling, legal aid and help police/courts by providing video conferences facility.

Step
The Support to Training and Employment Program for Women (STEP) Scheme aims to give aptitudes that offer employability to women and to give capabilities and ability that empower women to become independent employee/business people. A specific venture will be for a length of as long as 5 years relying on the nature, sort of exercise and the number of recipients to be undertaken. Divisions incorporate Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Hand-looms, Tailoring, Embroidery, Handicrafts, computers and so on.

IT empowers benefits alongside delicate aptitudes (soft skills) and the ability for the working environment, for example, communicated in English, gems and jewellery, travel and tourism, hospitality, and so forth.

Nari Shakti Purushars

The Nari Shakti Puruskars are national-level honours perceiving the endeavours made by women and foundations in rendering recognized administrations for the reason for ladies, particularly powerless and underestimated ladies.

Constitutional Provisions
Women need specific human rights because of women's disadvantaged social positions. More money being spent on male members of the family on their education and men having more choices and control over their access to higher education. Grooms receive and don't have to pay dowry and men have more control over domestic decision making.

The rights enshrined in the constitution for women in India are as follows:

Article 14 - Equality before law

The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. This provision provides equality to those who are discriminated in Indian society? It safeguards the dignity of all the minor sections including women.

Article 15 - Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, race, caste or place of birth. No citizen has the right to discriminate the individual based on aforesaid criteria. The state shall not discriminate any person and deprived them of any legal justice.

Directive Principles Of The State Policy:

The directive principles ensure that the state shall promote the welfare of the people in all areas of the society including economic and political justice.
Article 41 - Right to work and education
Article 41 directs the state to provide with an equal work opportunity and education.
Article 42 - Provisions for a just and humane condition for work and maternity relief

Sexual Harassment Of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition And Redressal) Act, 2013:

The recent development in the society called for proper acknowledgement for the problems faced by working women all of India. The act provides safety to women at the workplaces and also ensures to safeguard the dignity and honour of female.

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956:

This act not only strives to abolish women trafficking but also has the purpose to counter prostitution. All over the world women, children and men are trafficked for prostitution and forced labour, which is also prevalent in India. ITPA plays a great role to eradicate this social evil.

Conclusion
We welcomed a woman prime minister, a female president and women in our defence forces. We saw the female athletes achieving laurels and actresses getting national awards. We accepted the change in our workforces and began the new era. Still, somehow the problem and differences continue to persist. The legal and political reforms, lead the women of the 21st century to walk hand in hand with the men of the 21st century but the basic ideology had still not changed.

Every day women across the globe fight with patriarchy at home and then goes to their offices. Restrictions are not imposed on women but the patriarchal mindset is still prevalent in different parts of our country. The times are changing and we need to change with them. As a society, we need to change the basic aspects and accept that if women are equal to men, so are men equal to women.

Women are leaders everywhere you look from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. Appreciate those superwomen who start their day much before you and end it much later.

Written By: Chetna Alagh

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