GENDER INEQUALITY IN INDIA
If there is birth of a son in the family, it is celebrated as an occasion or with great joy while birth of a girl child is seen as something to be sorrow in many families. Birth of a girl child is not so much welcomed in many of the families. Even the mother of the child is also bias, she want a boy child instead of a girl. The demand or preference for son is also among educated, wealthy and literate parents. Many times most of the families pressurized the female (mother) to give birth to boy and main and most important reason behind this is our traditions status and roles. This type of discrimination starts from the womb of the mother where the unborn child is killed through abortion or if she born people killed her as an infant or many of them abandoned her. That is the reason the Indian Census; the child sex ratio is 919 girls per 1000 boys.
“When a girl is Young, she is the pride of her Father.
When she is older, she is the support of her Husband.
When she is very old, she is the well-wisher of her Family.”
That should be the life of a woman…..
Woman is the one, who make up half of the population of the world, but society compared her on the basis of Gender and she faced inequality and discrimination. The reality is that, at every stage of her life she is guided by everyone in the family and even the society also guides women and this affects her life so much. The main issue is also that it is the duty of a woman to follow her husband and sometimes she did not think of herself and sacrifice her happiness for her husband and family, therefore she suffers discrimination because of our Patriarchal norms. They thinks that Girl Child is a burden on them because after marriage she leaves her father’s home and in her in-laws does not treat her.
“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.”
– Emma Watson
A woman is a very important part of our society. According to Hinduism the female was created by Brahma as part of duality in creation to provide company to man in facilitating procreation, progeny and continuation of family lineage. In ancient history women help top religious and social position in Vedic period, but as per our tradition and mindset of orthodox people, a women has limited freedom. She is dependent entity of the family, dominated by the male member of the household. Women are discriminated in various means so to overcome the discrimination there are certain laws regarding equality for women.
“To awaken the people, it is the women who must be awaken. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, and the nation moves.”
- PANDIT JAWAHARLAL NEHRU
It is often said that the status and position of women in society are the best way to understand the civilization, its progress and shortcomings. Women empowerment is the empowerment of women which helps them to take their own decision by breaking all personal limitations of the society and family but does not mean to dominate over others or to use power to establish superiority over others. It is a major issue which has gained momentum in recent past as the development of society as a nation depends on the social as well as economic well-being of women.
There should be no discrimination between male and female on the basis of their physical appearance, their disability and liability. The way each society perceives what a “man” is and what a “woman” is, and what are their roles and responsibilities are is called GENDER. But now this difference has become an orthodox mindset of people. In India discriminatory attitudes towards gender have existed for generations and affect the lives of both male and female perception or opinion changes with the time. Females of India suffer this gender discrimination from ancient period till the present date.
Our culture, nature and environment does not discriminate with females but this male dominating society discriminate the females and makes them habitual about this and even many of females are not aware about their rights, freedom and responsibilities and also there is no stand taken for a woman by a woman coming from educated field too.
Each culture or society defines gender differently. For example – In West, women have more freedom as compared to East. Basically everything depends upon the perception of people. Men and Women play many roles whether in the family or in the society. In family, girls are expected to help her mother in household works while Boys are expected to do the same but the work that is outside the house i.e. earning or going to the market. Unfortunately gender norms create disadvantage for women.
Gender Inequality in India refers to Educational inequality, Economical inequality, Political inequality etc. and there is inequality between the salaries and wages which are given to men and women. Men still earn more than women even they both have same job.
Women is discriminated in many area, there are some temples in our country where the entry of women is not allowed some of them are HAJI ALI DARGAH, MUMBAI, SHANI SHIGNAPUR TEMPLE, SABRIMALA TEMPLE, KERALA and the prohibition is just because of typical mindset of orthodox people. They believe that if women touch the God they become impure and they give reason behind this is that menstruation period of women, which does not seems to be valid.
The role of Women keeps changing over time. Women of early Vedic time were believed at par with men in all aspects. At one point, they had the right to study the Vedas, be gurus, have equal rights or shares in the property and even they marry more than one man. Maitrayi, Gargi etc. were the great scholars. Even they could also perform the funeral rites of their parents if there was no male heir.
Gender inequality in education is still among us. Girl deserves education. A girl has right to have everything whatever she wants, and also have a chance to shine in their career. She has right to fly high and high and fulfills all her dreams which she wants to achieve. But the tradition of our country is still not changed for women. Girls are discriminated by society when she goes to School. The average national literacy rate for women is 37% against 64% for men. Traditionally, now a days, Education of a girl was considered unnecessary and a waste of money and time too. It was assumed that women would only be taking care of the home and her children and not going out for work. Many people think that “Women are the machines”, who only take care of their family and gave birth to children. But this all things are not true, many girls prove them wrong and they prove that are not less than men. .
Women are delicate not weak. People suppose that they are weak and therefore not allow them to go for work outside the home and expected to cover their face and head when they step out of their house. Moreover they didn’t know that girls education reduce poverty and other backwardness from our country. So we say that “SAY YES TO EQUALITY”.
A perfect saying by a girl “A boy can do anything which he wants do to wear cloth of his choice, make friends of his choice, go anywhere he wants but I can’t…. why? Because I’m girl…
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS AGAINST GENDER INEQUALITY:
Article 16 defines the misogynous posture is a hangover of the masculine culture of manacling the weaker sex forgetting how our struggle for national freedom was also a battle against woman’s thralldom.
Freedom indivisible, so is justice. Air India vs. Nargesh Meerza and others, In this case certain service conditions in Air India regulations were found to be discriminate by the Air Hostesses and it was contained before the Supreme Court that the Air India regulations had made a provision that an Air Hostesses could not get married before completing 4 years of service. According to the provisions given by Air India the age of recruitment was 19 years and that means an Air Hostesses could not get married till the age of 23 years. If an Air Hostess got married before completing 4 years of service then she had to resign and further Air Hostesses challenged all these regulations of Air India in the Court on the ground of sex discrimination because that similar provisions provided by the Air India did not apply to men employees. The Supreme Court held that Air Hostesses form a separate category and therefore the termination of service on first pregnancy, restriction of marriage within the first four years and early retirement at thirty five years do not violate Article 14 on the ground of discrimination.
When we will talk about the Gender Equality, firstly Article 14 guarantees Equality before law and Equal protection under the Law and prohibition on unreasonable classification it only means that all persons similarly circumstanced shall be treated equally both benefits conferred and liability imposed. Equal laws would have to be applied to everyone in the same situation and there should be no discrimination between one person and another.
Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth from the past women were discriminated in matters of employment and it was felt that gender equality did not find its fulfilment even at the hands of judges. That in the past even the judges did not concede that men and women were equal.
Article 44 states uniform civil Code - Mohammad Ismail sahib and Naziruddin Ahmad wanted to amend ARTICLE 35 and include that no one would be compelled to give up their personal laws in order to argument harmony Ahmad argued that ARTICLE 25 which gave citizens right to profess, practice and propagate their religion.
Some specific reforms related to Women:
Convention on Elimination of All Forms of discrimination against women.
Hindu succession Act, 1956
Muslim Personal Laws.
Prenatal Diagnostics Techniques.
Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
INITIATIVES TAKEN BY THE GOVERMENT OF INDIA
The govt. has pitched various schemes like “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Mission’’- to ensure the survival and education of the girl child. “Sukanya Samridhi Yojna”- to encourage the parents to save money for their daughter. Balika Samriddhi Yojana, Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar yojana, Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana, National Program for Education of Girl Child, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Programme for Nutritional Support and Primary Education, Etc…
“THE CONCLUDING ASPECT OF THE ISSUE IS THAT WOMEN ARE NO LESS THAN MEN”
Today the situation is changed not because of our ancestor’s rituals but because of orthodox humans and the main cause behind it is illiteracy and not proper awareness among the people of our country.
Women in Indian society in ancient time had to face many problems due to inequality between male and female but as we see today, the society, government and law have provided different moral and legal rules to the women. The woman has provided with different rights so, as to equalize them with men. Legally women have different rights but some sections of society has not yet implemented them. The orthodox mindset of people stops them to do so. There is need to change the gender biasness, the entire society suffer when women are discriminated against and deprived on the basic human rights. The entire society is benefited too if women are educated and gainfully employed.
Today things are changing slowly and surely. Women and girls have access to opportunities that were previously not available to them.
The Constitution of India
Gender Inequality, Accessed on 5th April (https://www.cry.org/issues-views/gender-inequality)
Gender Inequality remains a big Concern, Accessed on 5th April, 2021( https://mobile.twitter.com/ashbiswal/status/942879659636789248)
Dr. S. R. Myneni, Law relating to Women’ (3rd edn Asia Law House)
https://www.academia.edu/23439385/GENDER_INEQUALITY_IN_INDIA_CAUSES_AND_REMEDIES, Accessed on 6th April, 2021
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2013.pdf, Accessed on 6th April, 2021
Author: Divya Gupta, IV year Law Student
College: Banasthali Vidyapith, Jaipur.