Indian constitution and principles of gender equality
What’s the first thing that comes to our sophisticated mind when we hear the term ‘gender equality’ ? An equivalent approach towards both men and women? It implies a state of equal parity irrespective of an individual’s gender in simple terms gender equality connotes as providing equal access to opportunities and resources regardless of gender this also includes equal participation in decision making and valuing the rights of both men and women, this was adopted as one of the sustainable development goals in 2015 as an international effort to eradicate gender differences across different continents. Every individual of India has been provided with certain rights by the constitution to secure their interest in the society and to protect them against atrocities which arise due to gender disparities, these rights are administered through courts with subject to some exceptions, among these are the fundamental rights which are equally granted to every individual to protect them from gender based discrimination that arises due to the evils of the society, the right to equality provided by the constitution eradicates the biasness towards individuals on the basis of gender and stops unfair treatment on the basis sex caste or place of birth , it also abolishes discrimination in employment at the workplace.
As the whole world is developing and reaching new heights in attaining gender equality gender based discrimination still persist in the Indian society especially in case of women and girls they continue to face injustice and cruelty even today. India has some of highest rates of birth discrimination on the basis sex, the arising ratio is 918 girls to 1000 boys according to the census report 2011 influenced by this the central government initiated the beti bachao beti padhao scheme to administer girl child with security and education.
Constitutional provisions on gender equality
The Indian constitution provides certain provisions related to gender equality in the form of it’s directive principles, fundamental rights, fundamental duties and the preamble they not only guarantee equal rights to men and women but also authorizes the government to take necessary actions in support of promoting these rights, some of the constitutional provisions that the Indian constitution provides for combatting gender inequality are as follow:
Article 14 - it authorizes the state not to deny any person or citizen of the country equality before the law and equal protection of laws within the sovereign territory of India,' equality before law’ states that every individual will be ensured equal rights irrespective of it’s birth ethnicity race, it specifically states that everyone is equal in the eyes of law while ‘equal protection of law’ means unbiased protection of laws for every person within the territory of India.
Article 15 – This article prevents states from discriminating on the basis of sex, , creed , religion or place of birth against any citizen of India it’s also says that there should be certain provisions made by the State authority for the benefit of women in every field for their social and educational welfare and also for socially backward classes like scheduled tribes and scheduled castes
Gender disparities in an Indian society
Gender disparities has been a matter of great concern for a long period of time which remains a barrier to the development of a society. In India gender differences are Seen as a multifaceted issue in which the ultimate concern is said to be women, while some sections of the society also argue that men are more affected by gender differences, However when Indian population is examined as a whole it can be ruled out that women are the most affected even though the Indian constitution provides equal rights to both men and women still gender disparities remain.
Gender inequalities faced by women is a long running social evil which can be found in an Indian society at every level. According to the gender development index 2021 India has slipped to 28 places ranking it at 140th among the 156 countries making it the third worst performer in South Asia. The ranking of India has remained disappointing there is a decrease in women labour force participation which fell from 24.8 per cent to 22.3 per cent in addition to this the role of women in technical and professional fields has also declined to 29.2 per cent. Crimes against women has also shown an upward trend the categories include brutal crimes like rape dowry death honor killings. According to a report released by National crime records bureau titled “crime in India” 2019 atrocities against women has increased by7.3% between 2018 to 2019, approximately 4,05,861cases of crime against women has been registered in 2019 majority of the cases that were registered under ipc were ' cruelty by husband or his relatives’ (30.9%), followed by ‘assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty’ (21.8%), ‘kidnapping & abduction of women’ (17.9%) and ‘rape’ (7.9%) In the terms of figures Uttar Pradesh reported the highest no of Cases under crimes against women (59,853) accounting for 14.7 per cent of the absolute cases across the country, additionally Uttar Pradesh had also the highest cases in dowry death (2,410), at a rate of 2.2 (per lakh population). Gender based discrimination affects many aspects of a women’s life including mental health career and acts as an obstacle in their personal development. Although India has developed strict laws on serious issues like rape, dowry to prevent gender based discrimination against Women but still discriminatory practices are happening at an alarming rate affecting the life of women even today.