Just as a bird cannot fly with one wing only, a nation cannot march forward if the women are left behind.- Swami Vivekanand
In 1948, The United Nation adopted the Universal declaration of Human Rights, which states that all human being are born free and have equal right to dignity. Similarly In Indian Constitution there are some respective rights such as- Right to equality (Article 14) , Right to life and personal liberty (Article 21) to all its citizen irrespective of gender. Gender equality means a society where women and men enjoy the same rights, opportunities and obligation in different sphere of life. Equality in education, Equality in decision making, and also in social freedom. In order to promote gender equality we need to empower women and concentrate on areas which are most crucial to her well being.
Earlier women have fought to earn their place in the society, as they were not allowed to do things by their own. The constitution of India came as a saver of women as it improve the principle of gender equality and talked about giving equal rights, status and respect to women in the society.
The objective of this Article is to answer the most sought-after question in today’s time that is ‘What are women’s legal rights’? The legal rights of women come into force after many years of struggle and determination . In almost all developing countries women have went from having no status in the society to now having the same economic, political and legal rights as men. From sexual harassment at workplaces to fighting for right in her father’s property, from protesting against domestic violence and rapes to fighting for her right of abortion, a woman in India has fought it all. This research paper will be highlighting Women Legal Right In India. Hence it is directly quoted by Hon’ble Justice Leila Seth “We have the right to equality and if you teach people the right to equality and you teach people that you don’t extinguish legal or sexual autonomy of a woman after marriage then things will change.” India has certainly evolved and enhanced the position of women, but we are still far away from a country where a woman resides peacefully in a country.
PROBLEMS FACED BY WOMEN IN INDIA-
From the Ancient time, Indian History have been gone through various changes. Women have always been considered as inferior to men and a man’s properties have struggled to make a place for themselves in the society. The patriarchal mind set of the society has been seen by many of us. Since ages a male child is preferred by the families in India rather than a female child because of their thoughts that a male child would contribute more to their family. This has led to grave problems for women India, as the mindset of the people has still not changed over the years. Women are facing discrimination in all sorts be it at workplaces or being killed in the womb , rapes , domestic violence sexual abuse, dowry related harassment, gender pay gap and much more.
REASONS OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS –
Imbalance between work and family leads to occupational stress, imbalance between work and family life can cause various issue. Some of the various factors are as follow-
DISCRIMINATION AT WORK PLACE
LACK OF FAMILY SUPPORT
INSUFFICIENT MATERNITY LEAVE
In order to promote gender equality, we need to empower the women and concentrate on area which are more crucial to her well-being-
The Equality for women was first perceived in India in 1925 by The Commonwealth of India Bill, 1925, which had a clause stating "no exclusion or handicap on the ground of just sex", alongside the arrangement that all people were to have equivalent right to the utilization of "streets, courtrooms, and all different business environments or resort committed to the general population". Thereafter the judiciary took it into its own hands delivering various judgments recognizing the rights of the women.
POSITIVE CHANGES THROUGH VARIOUS JUDICIAL DECLARATION-
Here are the most prominent judgments of the apex court which have brought an end to century old practice of curtailing of women rights.
1. SABARIMALA CASE
2. TRIPLE TALAQ
3. CASE OF VINEETA SHARMA V. RAKESH SHARMA
The court recognized customs within the definition of ‘law’ as per Article 13 of the Constitution but declared the practices invalid as per Article 13(1), which were found in the Fundamental Rights.
Justice Nariman and Justice U.U. Lalit in Triple Talaq case enforced the test for laws in force to admit the custom of Triple Talaq as falling within Article 13(3(a)), they held it illegal on the insufficient ground of it being “manifestly arbitrary” as against Article 14. And while delivering the verdict.
In the case Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh sharma, Justice Arun Mishra quoted an old proverb: “Once a daughter, always a daughter. A son is a son till he is married. The daughter shall remain a coparcener throughout life, irrespective of whether her father is alive or not.”7
Hence it is proved by all these above landmark judgments that the rights of a woman are as significant as of a man and they cannot be reduce. History has eternally constitute the significance of unbiased laws which has prompted a few changes in the social structure of the society. Women empowerment is considered at par with the empowerment of the world. Today no woman is considered less than a man, and both are equals in the eyes of law.
But still, it’s a dream to have a society where a woman is respected and considered as equal to man. Women have to prove herself at every step in her life to gain acceptance and dependence which has continued since generation and is still continuing. The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also empowers the state to adopt measures of positive thoughts about women’s and their rights it also a tool to reduce off the problems for Indian womens. Fundamental Rights, among others ensures equality before the law, equal protection to laws, prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of place of birth, sex, religion, caste, and guarantees equality of opportunity to every citizens in India.
The goal today is to build a nation where equal treatment is meted out to everyone, and a woman is as safe as a man while stepping out at any hour of night. The need here is to develop change in societal notions and effective implementation of the laws.
SPECIAL INITIAVES FOR WOMEN BY THE MINISTRY OF WOMEN & CHILD DEVELOPMENT –
Under article15 (3) of the constitution of India allows for positive discrimination in favor of women. The Article under Right to equality, states that “nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provisions for women and children .There has been many government scheme by the Ministry of Women & Child development. Some of them are as follow-
1. BETI BACHAO,BETI PADHAO SCHEME – (Save the girl child, Educate the girl child) it aims to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services intended for girls in India.
2. WOMEN HELPLINE SCHEME – The scheme of Universalization of women helpline is intended to provide 24 hours immediate and emergency response to women affected by violence.
3. UJJAWALA - UJJAWALA is a scheme for prevention of trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re-intigration of victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Ministry also approves new projects under UJJAWALA scheme.
4. NAARI SHAKTI PURASKAR- Naari Shakti Purashkar is an annual award given by the ministry of women and child development of government of India to individual women or to institutions that work towards the cause of women empowerment.
5. NIRBHAYA- The tragedy of December 2012, the government has set up a dedicated fund-Nirbhaya Fund- which can be utilized for projects specifically designed to improve the safety and security of women.
LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK RELATING TO THE PREVENTION OF SEXUALHARASSMENT-
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN ACT 1990 –
The National commission for women is the statutory body of the government of India. The (NCW) represent the right of women in India provides a voice for their issues and concern. It aims to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empower.
MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT 1861-
The maternity benefit act 1861 regulates the employment of women and maternity benefit mandated by the law. It states that women employee who has worked in an organization for a period at least 80 days during the 12 months preceding the date of her expected delivery is entitled to receive maternity benefits which include maternity leave, medical allowance etc.
SEXUAL HARRASMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE ( PREVENTION , PROHIBITION AND REDRESSAL) ACT 2013-
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. The POSH Act ensures the women safety at a workplace. Sexual Harassment at workplace include the use of language overtones, invasion of private space with a male colleague. This act prohibits indecent representation of women through advertisement, or in writing paintings, figures or in any other manner. The POSH Act is not a gender-neutral legislation and it deals only with the protection of women. It is the fact that all the offenses under the POSH Act are non-cognizable.
EQUAL REMUNERATION ACT 1976-
This act prevents discrimination in terms of equal remuneration to men and women worker for the prevention of discrimination, on the ground of sex, against women in the matter of employment and for matters connected therewith or women in the matter of employment and for matter connected or incidental thereto. It is necessary to know these laws to protect the interest of women only, if you are aware of your rights you can fight against any injustice meted out any injustice at home, at workplace or in the society.
NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE GIRL CHILD (1991-2000)-
The main objective of the plan is –Reduction in the number of death of girls under the age of 5 years, by providing better health care facilities and ensuring proper immunization for serious illness.This act specially formulated to protect and promote the girl child. This plan also prevents female infanticide, eliminate gender discrimination, banning sex determination of unborn child.
The key measures planned under the national plan include-
Strengthen of the existing primary healthcare infrastructure.
Stepping up immunization where coverage is low
Consolidation and maintenance of levels of immunization coverage.
Polio eradication through immunization.
Educating girl and mother on safe motherhood.
Providing primary education in unserved areas.
Training of doctors and para medical health workers.
Providing child care services community mobilization and involvement.
NATIONAL POLICY FOR THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN 2001-
All forms of violence against women, physical and mental, whether at societal level or domestic levels including those arising from customs, traditions or accepted practices shall be dealt with effectively with a view to eliminate its incidence. Institutions ,mechanisms/ schemes for assistance will be created and strengthened for prevention of such violence including sexual harassment at work place and customs like dowry; for the rehabilitation of the victims of violence and for taking effective actions against the perpetrators of such violence. A special emphasis laid on programs and measures to deal with trafficking in women and girls.
Crime against women is increasing rapidly these days. It is quite paradoxical that while we are celebrating women's rights in all spheres, we barely show concern for her honor. It is a gloomy reflection on the attitude of indifference of the society towards the violation of human dignity of the victims of sex crimes. The court of justice has many times emphasized that must not forget that a violator not only violates the victim's privacy and personal integrity, but inevitably causes serious psychological and physical harm in the process. Therefore, such cases need to be dealt indigantly and severely.