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WOMEN'S RIGHTS | Article by Maskura Begum


WOMEN'S RIGHTS  Article by Maskura Begum

        As a daughter, a woman is a source of pride for her parents. As a spouse, she looks after the affairs of the  home, just like a Queen looks after that of her country. An architect of her home, her role as a mother, encompasses every other responsibility towards the child which can neither be quantified nor defined.        

        How true therefore is the thought that a working woman is a living image of goddess Durga. However, inspite of all, this image of women is more often not accepted in our society even today.
      The government of India has imposed a ban on identificaion of foetus before birth, yet in many families the preference for a boy child is still prevalent.  Even when it comes to giving education, boys are given more importance than girls. Only 35 percent of students opting for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths related fields in India, are women. Only 28 percent of the World's researchers and 11 percent of the World's astronauts are female. More Care and nutrition is also given to boys as compared to girls. Domestic violence is growing even as the government  had introduced and enacted many Laws and Acts to prevent it. Sexual harassment too is a common thing in our society. Women are insecured everywhere.
     Enjoying basic rights may develop one's self-confidence. Without enjoying basic rights, one cannot think about self development or the development of a family or a society at large. Rights and social security go hand in hand. Rights are granted by a society or a state and certain international organisations. Women should know  about the rights given by the state. In India, many constitutional provisions, Laws and Acts exists for the security and empowerment of women. Many NGOs are also working for the interest of women.
"Human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, once and for all." - The statement is given by Hillary Clinton.
The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women.
Constitutional provisions for the interest of women in India are as follows :

1. Equality before law for women ( Article 14).

2. Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth etc. (Article 15(i)).

3. The State to make any special provision in favour of women and children.( Article 15 (3)).

4. Equality of opportunity to all citizens of India ( Article 16)

5. Protection of life and liberty related to choice and dignity of all ( Article 21)

6. Right to education of children, boys or girls ( Article 21 (A))

7. To promote justice on the basis of equal opportunity and to provide free legal aid etc. (Article 39(A))

8. The State to direct equal right to an adequate means of livelihood for both men and women.( Article 39(a))

9. Equal pay for equal work for both men and women (Article 39(d))

10. Maternity benefits act. (Article 42)

11. The State to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46))

12. The State to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of its people ( Article 47)

13. To promote the dignity of women (Article 51(A)(e)).

14. Reservations of seats not less than one-third for women in Panchayat (Article-243D (3) &(4)).

15. Reservations of seats not less than one-third for women in Municipality (Article 243 T (3)&(4).

Legal Provisions for the security of women in India : 

To ensure equal rights, to counter social discrimination and different forms of violence etc. various legislative measures enacted by the state, for the interest of women are as follows :

1. Sexual assault under Section 376 A, 377 A IPC (Indian Panel Code )

2. Kidnapping & Abduction under Section 363 - 373 IPC

3. Homicide for Dowry, Dowry Deaths or their attempts under Section 302/304 - B IPC

4. Torture, both mental and physical under Section 498-A IPC

5. Molestation under Section 354 IPC

6. Sexual Harassment under Section 509 IPC
    Some special Acts and Provisions to safeguard women and their interests granted by the states are:

a) The Employees States Insurance Act. 1948 . The Plantation Labour Act,1951. The Contract Labour ( Regulations and Abolition) Act,1976 . The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 .

b) The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961(Amended in 1995 and in 2017). The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

c) The Family Courts Act, 1954. Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The Muslim Marriage Act, 1939. Muslim Women (Protection of right on Marriage) Act, 2019. 

c)  The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. 

d)  Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.

c) The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

d) The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. Juvenile justice (Care and Protection of children ) Act, 2015 . The National Commission for Protection of Child Right Act, 2017. 

e) The Hindu Succession Act, 1956  amended in 2005.

      Some more rights provided for women by the government of India are as follows: 

i) Women have the right to equal pay for equal work. 

ii) Women have the right to dignity and decency. Even an accused woman can't be arrested without the presence of a female police officer. Medical check up of a woman by a male doctor should not be done without the presence of a female.

iii) A woman can't be arrested at night that is after sunset and before sunrise. 

iv) Woman have the right against work place harassment.

v) Women have a right against domestic violence.

vi) Female Sexual assault victims have the right to keep their identity anonymous.

vii) Women have the right to get free legal aid.

Viii) Women have the right to register virtual complaints.

ix) Women have the right against indecent representation. It is enjoyable because of Indecent Representation of Women (prohibition) Act,1986 .

x) Women have the right against being stalked. Section 354 D of the IPC makes way for legal action to be taken against an offender if anyone follows a woman.

xi) Women have a right to Zero FIR, an FIR that can be filed at any police station irrespective of the location where the incident occurred.

       Besides enjoying these Constitutional and Legal Provisions, women are honoured universally in many ways. International Girl Child Day is celebrated on 11th October and National Girl Child Day is celebrated on 24th January every year in India. International Women's Day is celebrated on 8th March every year. National Women's Day is celebrated on 13th February in India on the birthday of Sarojini Naidu, who is known as the' Nightingale of India' for her contribution in the field of poems. Mother's Day is celebrated in many countries of the world on 2nd Sunday of the month of May. 

        A woman may be compared with a sun, not a moon as she doesn't need others light for shining. A woman may show her excellent quality in education or in leadership. Today, there is nothing a man can do that a women cannot. Both men and women are great in their respective fields. A global development is possible only when there is equitable growth without any discrimination.

Maskura Begom.
Assistant Teacher.
Champupara High School.
Mobile number: 9101662268

Illustration: Pubali Saikia Das

Sources : - 

i) General Studies and Current Affairs by Chandra Prakash

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