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Gender Inequality: A Culture that has dominated the entire Human Civilization

Gender Inequality is one of the most severe issues in our current modern society. It is a threatening problem which causes unfair treatment in our society between different genders. In India since long back, women were consider as an oppressed section of the society and they were neglected for centuries. It has been aptly remarked that:
The women`s environment has determined the nature of her slavery”. It is also seen that most societies pay more respect to manhood when compared to womanhood and also pressurize men and women to adhere to this norms.

For example, if a man expresses his sorrow before others crying, he is mocked at:
“Why are you crying like women?
In our culture children are treated according to their respective sexes. Girls are attached less important and they are taken as a responsibility from which they have to get rid of. Boys are given special significance. Even a girl being brought up in a very caring home can offend hear the guests saying: “She is a lovely girl indeed, How if she was born as a boy!”

What is Gender Inequality?
Gender Inequality is unequal treatment of individual based on their gender. Gender equality goes a long way where gender inequality exist it is generally women who are excluded or exploited in relation to decision making and access to economic and social resources. It is different from other forms of socio-economic inequalities. Gender Inequality in India is a crucial reality. It continues to be an immense issue of concern in India despite its achieving high rate of economic growth in recent years.

Gender based Discrimination
In this male dominated society women have been treated as inferior over ages. For many years men have considered women as a slave whose responsibilities were to do household work and take care of their family. They are also put under several types of restrictions and are victimized of violence and exploitation. Boys and girls are brought up to believe that the main responsibility of women is housework and bringing up of children. Have you ever noticed?

Most tailors or cooks in hotel are men. When men are paid for these jobs they are ready to take up these works. The reason behind this is that it is not that men cannot do household work; they simply think that it is for women to attend to these things. This misperception comes originally from the wrong understanding about the position of each gender in life.

The process of upbringing of children establishes certain differences between sexes. It is owing to the fact that our social values are set in giving values to the birth of a son. But unfortunately this thinking is linked to poverty, illiteracy and lower status of the family. The birth of the son is being celebrated while the birth of a daughter is filled with pain. Right since childhood boys and girls are taught to behave, dress, play and do other things according to their sexes. All this difference is created by our society it could be seen that practice of such discrimination over a long span of time has made it to be a ‘tradition’ followed by our society.

This raises a pertinent question in my mind: Who is a man; and who is a woman? Are we not one? According to me both man and woman are like two wheels of a carriage, the life of one without the other is incomplete. 

Now let us discuss some major causes which led to such discrimination.

Causes of Gender Discrimination
Patriarchal dominating society: Men dominate society and family life in Indian culture this has been the case in the past ages and still continue to be practiced in the majority of the household where male takes all the decision and women accept it silently.

Poverty: Poverty is one of the main causes of Gender Discrimination in our male dominating society as economic dependent on male is itself a cause of gender discrimination.

Lack of Education: It is also one of the major causes of gender disparity in our country as parent prefers to spend their resources for their boys education rather than spending equally on their son and daughter. Most guardians take interest in educating boys so that they can support them later in life. They do not take interest in educating girls as they are destined to leave the family after marriage and they have to give birth to children and bring them up.

Women`s work are neither paid nor valued: In almost all areas of works from sports and cinema, to factories and fields, women are paid less than men even when both do exactly the same work. Yet much of her work is not paid and therefore often not valued.

Preference for boy child: In most part of India parents prefer to have son and find way to have the girl child aborted before she is born. They believe girls to be burden on their shoulders. They consider them as curse as they have to arrange dowry so they often say abortion is the way to get rid of girl child.

We are living in a society which is contributed by both male and female. So why female have to suffer such inequality? Why are they treated differently by the male dominating society?  Just because they are women or because of the patriarchal construct of gender? In my opinion woman can also do anything that man can do. Now-a-days there is no difference between men and women.

Constitutional Provision against Gender Inequality
The Indian Constitution enshrined the principle of gender equality in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles.

These privileges are as follow:
  1. Equality before law (Article 14).
  2. No discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, race, sex, place of birth etc (Article 15(i)).
  3. Equality of opportunity for all citizen in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office (Article 16)
  4. To direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood (Article 39(a))
  5. Equal pay for equal work for both men and women. (Article 39(d))
  6. To make provisions for securing just and human condition of work and for maternity relief. (Article 42)

Landmark Cases
Centre for enquiry into Health and Allied themes (CEHAT) Vs. Union of India, 2003
The growing trend of aborting female fetuses was observed with the advent of pre-natal diagnostic techniques that could determine the sex of fetus. A petition was filed by the (CEHAT) which led the Supreme Court directing the central and State Government to enact the provision of PNDT Act and banned all advertisement relating to pre-natal sex determination techniques.

Mary Roy Vs State of Kerala, 1986 AIR 1011, SCR (1) 371
Due to Patriarchal tradition women from the Syrian Christian community in Kerala were prevented from inheriting property. This decree was challenged by Mary Roy, a woman`s right activist and educator.

In 1986, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment that granted Syrian Christian women the right to seek an equal share in their father`s property.

Vineeta Sharma Vs  Rakesh Sharma
On 11 August 2020, In its landmark decisions a three judge bench of the Supreme Court held that daughters and sons have equal coparcenary rights in a Hindu undivided family.

Measures opted by Government to reduce Gender Disparities
Our government has adopted a number of initiative measures to reduce these disparities.

Some of these measures include:
  • Quotas for women on local elected bodies.
  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.
  • Equal Remuneration Act 1976.
  • Maternity Benefit Act 1961
  • Pre-natal Diagnostic Tech Act 1994
In 2001 a National Policy for Women Empowerment was adopted to remove discrimination against women.

But even after the implementation of all such laws, policies and programs, gender disparity still exist in India. Gender inequalities are both the cause and enabling context of violence against women. However since the few years, there has been great emphasis on treating all human being equal irrespective of their gender but still majority of Indian women are facing the problems of gender inequality.

Equality between female and male is a matter of human right and social justice. Gender equality would be achieved when both male and female are treated equally like two individuals in every aspect of life politically, economically, in health, education etc.

Conclusion
The patriarchal norms have marked women as inferior to men. According to me far more effective measures need to be taken to bridge the gender divide gap and to eradicate the issues of gender inequality. The mindset of people needs to be changed and efforts should be made so that they understand the equal rights of women and benefit of educating them.

However the best way to end discrimination against women is by educating people and working with young boys and girls to promote respectful relationship and gender equality and raising awareness among women about their right and equality. 

“We want to end gender inequality, and to do this, we need everyone involved….We want to try to galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change and we don’t just want to talk about it. We want to try and make sure that it’s tangible”


Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Pinky Mehta - Student of Chanakya Law College
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: AP111023565276-20-0421

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