Legal Provisions For Women To Encourage Gender Equality
This Article is written by Salouni Choudhary, a 2nd-year law student from the University Institute of Legal Studies, Punjab University Chandigarh. In this article, the author explained the Legal Provisions For Women To Encourage Gender Equality.
Development of a country depends not only on men or women but on both the gender. The patriarchy which is prevailing in India from ancient times has made it difficult for the female population to contribute properly to India’s Development. They have to go through a lot of hardships to become financially independent. The hardship is not in terms of talent and skills but their real struggle is dealing with a patriarchal society whose thinking is that women are only meant to live within four walls of the house. Our constitution makers and other lawmakers understood these things very well. So, they provided various provisions to promote gender equality in India, they even included some positive discrimination aspects to improve the situation. Every country is like a bicycle and male & female are its two wheels, and so for moving ahead, both genders need to work together. This article discusses the legal provisions which are made for gender inequality in India.
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…it is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideas.”
― Emma Watson
Every person deserves opportunities to utilize his or her full potential but due to widespread gender inequality and the people who support this hinders this reality. In India, growing up all children observes gender inequality in their homes, in movies, in books, etc. Across the whole of India, inequality results in unequal opportunities, although it impacts the lives of both genders statistics show that the women are most disadvantaged groups.
Also Read: The Gender Advantage- Men/Women?
While it is still a long way to achieve what can be called ‘equality, the fact that the Constitution grants a foundational base for the idea of gender justice in India has supported India in sustaining a struggle for leveling the field en masse. The principle of Gender Equality is enshrined in the Constitution of India. The constitution is the basic document of our country that provides a basis and guidance for governance in a democracy. Gender Justice in the Constitution of India is enshrined in the Preamble, Fundamental Rights, DPSPs, etc. The details of articles providing for gender equality is given below; –
1) Article 14:- Article 14 of the constitution grants equality before the law and equal protection of the law. Equality before the law means that no person will be differentiated and the state will treat all people equally. And equal protection of law means that the state can discriminate positivity to bring all people on equal footing. This article basically means all people are equal in the eyes of law.
2) Article 15(1):- This article expressly prevents any discrimination on the basis of sex. The article states that no person shall be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them. It prevents the state from discriminating between people on the grounds given above.
3) Article 16:- This article provides for equal opportunity to all in case of opportunity relating to public employment or employment to any office. Article 16 also forbids any discrimination on the basis of sex. Article 16(2) states that no citizen shall be ineligible or discriminated in respect to any office or employment of state on the grounds like religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence, or any of them.
4) Article 39: – Article 39 of the constitution secures rights of equal means of livelihood for all men and women and it also says that both genders have the right to get equal pay for equal work.
5) Article 42: – The article says that the state should make provision for preceding humane and just condition at work and also should provide for maternity benefit.
6) Article 47:- It says that the state should make provisions for raising the standard of living and level of nutrition for its entire people. The article does not make a distinction on any ground.
Positive Discrimination In Favor Of Women
India is not considered an ideal country in terms of gender equality. And all those orthodox of previous time has its effects till now in our society. Our constitution makers had also witnessed these facts and therefore provided for positive discrimination in the favor of women in the constitution like article 15(3). The followings provisions are provided in favor of women to make gender equality a reality in India: –
1) Article 15(3): – This article says that the state should make provisions for the betterment of women and children and the same will not be considered as discrimination.
2) Article 51 (A) (e): – This article provides for the promotion of harmony and the spirit of brotherhood among all the citizen of India and prohibit the practices which are harming the dignity of women.
3) Article 243 D (3): – It says that more than or equal to one-third of the maximum number of seats in each Panchayats should be reserved for women.
4) Article 243 D (4): – This article says that more than or equal to one-third of the total number of jobs in each tier of the Panchayats should be reserved for women in Administrations.
5) Article 243 T (3): – It says that More than or equal to one-third in each municipality should be reserved for women.
Other Legal Provisions
The State has made various legislations that are intended to grants equal rights, to counter various types of discrimination prevalent and various forms of violence and atrocities existing in society, and to give support services especially to working women in India. Although women may be victims of many crimes like Murder, Robbery, etc but there are some crimes, which are specifically against women and those are characterized as ‘Crime against Women’. These are classified into two categories.
(1) The Crimes Identified Under the Indian Penal Code
(ii) Kidnapping & Abduction for different purposes
(iii) Homicide for Dowry, Dowry Deaths or their attempts
(vi) Sexual Harassment
(vii) Importation of girls
(2) The Crimes identified under the Special Laws
(i) The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
(ii) The Plantation Labour Act, 1951
(iii) The Family Courts Act, 1954
(iv) The Special Marriage Act, 1954
(v) The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 Act, 2005, etc.
Special Initiatives For Women
(i) National Commission for Women
(ii) Reservation for Women in Local Self -Government
(iii) The National Policy for the Girl Child
(iv) National Policy for the Empowerment of Women, 2001
Although gender equality in India is still far away from expectation but all the above provisions and laws are helping in making it a reality. People are now becoming aware of their rights and duties and also about the importance of gender equality. In near future, there will be a time when the word gender would have no weightage because both male and female would be equal.