Constitutional Status of Women in India

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INTRODUCTION

The constitution of India was adopted on 26th November 1949 and it came into force on 26th January 1950. The constitution of India was written in a period when the status of women in India was very impoverished and it needed recognition and sudden improvement. In the earlier era, the women were ill-treated and were not considered respectful members of society due to which they were struggling for their status and position in the patriarchal society.  In those times the women of India were in need of new laws so that can protect them from harassment, mental and physical torture, abuse and which will make them lead a proper and safer life and can reform their social position in society. D.r B.R.Ambedkar the chairman of the constitution drafting introduced and took some drastic steps in favour of the Indian women and campaigned against social discrimination and made them independent and powerful and brought a revolutionary change because of which in today’s world the position and image of women in the society have changed they have now earned by themselves and have gained a respectable position in the society and are now setting examples for people to follow. Now they are also considered equal to men and no discrimination is done between men and women. Nowadays women can be found in every field such as in politics, business, entertainment field, defence and everywhere. They are now educated and are capable of earning and taking their own responsibilities. In the last ten years, the position of women has improved as it was earlier but still now in this present world women are still struggling for their freedom and for their honourability.  Sexual harassment, domestic violence has become common against women due to which they don’t feel safeguarded.

Law cannot be changed so rapidly. Many new provisions have been introduced through the constitution for the improvement of the social conditions and status of women but still, a lot of things has to be implemented.

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS FOR WOMEN IN INDIA

The constitutional provisions have been introduced not only to ensure equality for women but also to safeguard the dignity and self-respect of women and also the constitution protects the social and legal rights of the women as well as permits the state to adopt measures for the women against the ill-treatment, socio-economic discrimination faced by them in the society.

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Here are some of the provisions which are enshrined in part three of the Indian Constitution as fundamental rights in favour of women.

  • Article 14 of the Indian constitution:- it states equality before the law or equal protection of laws within the territory of India. It is one of the most important rights which is guaranteed in favour of women which protects the women against any women based crime and also it introduces various acts and laws for the enforcement of legal and social rights of the women
  • Article 15:- The state shall not discriminate against any citizen on various grounds such as caste, religion, race, sex, place of birth. No sort of discrimination shall take place against women on the basis of these grounds. women shall be treated as equal as men.
  • Article 16:- It ensures equal employment opportunity at workplaces for every citizen of India And there shall not be any gender inequality, discrimination at workplaces on the grounds of religion, caste, descent, place of birth. Women should be given due respect at offices, corporate sectors, politics and in the present scenario the women are found capable and doing great in all sectors.
  • Article 39(a):- It is enshrined in part four of the Indian constitution under the directive principle of state policy ensures the state to implement policies for men and women the right of sufficient means of livelihood and also guarantees equal payment of wages should be given to both men and women.
  • Article 243:- It basically deals with the reservation of seats for women in Gram Panchayats. After the enforcement of this right, the conditions of women have improved in rural areas.

LEGAL PROVISION AND STATUS OF WOMEN IN INDIA

Our constitution has enacted and introduced many laws and provisions for the protection of women and to uphold their social and legal rights and have adopted many measures for equal rights of women and also to oppose social discrimination and to stop violence against women.

Women are getting targeted to many offences such as rape, murder, kidnapping, theft these are categorised as a crime against women which is divided into two types

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Crime under the Indian penal code(IPC)

Rape which comes under 375 of the IPC “a sexual intercourse with a woman without her permission by coercion, fraud.

Kidnapping under 363 is unlawfully detaining and confining a person against his or her consent.

Mental and physical torture which comes under section 498A of the IPC

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Sexual abuse under 354 of IPC is to use force upon one person or take advantage illegally.

And the other one is those crimes that are specifically categorized under special laws

There are various laws and acts which have been developed and are implemented by the Indian Government for the protection and for the welfare of women in India such as   Dowry prohibition act,1961, Protection of women from domestic violence act 2005, sexual harassment of woman at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal act,2013, guardians and wards act2019, maternity benefit act,1861. These were the acts which were introduced by the  Indian government for the protection of women’s life.

RESERVATION

During earlier years, women were not getting the privileges and same rights as men. They were considered to be within the four walls of their house and do the household work of their family members. They were not entitled to get any opportunities in social, cultural and economic aspects. They were treated as untouchables. And their educational and job opportunities were very limited. They were not getting the scope to excel.  Reservation for women was introduced to give vulnerability to women and to make society realize that women are no less as compared to men. The introduction of women’s reservation bill for quotas in parliament and assemblies have improved women electoral chances, and have raised hope and education for teenage girls. And also with the implementation of the reservation bill, women’s involvement in politics is increasing more and more with strong and eligible female leaders in our country.

STATE-SPONSORED INITIATIVES

  • National commission for women:- This statutory body was set up by the government in January 1992 to study and to watch all the matters regarding the safety and security of women
  • Reservation for women in local self-government:- This act was basically passed in 1992. The 73rd constitutional amendment act aims to guarantee one-third of seats in the election in both rural as well as in urban areas.
  • National plan for the action of girl child:- This scheme was introduced in 1991-2000 which aims at developing the overall future of the children with the main motive behind it was to recognize the rights of the girl child and to protect them from illiteracy, exploitation and to provide equal opportunity.
  • National policy for women empowerment:- This was implemented for improvement, empowering the women, providing equal rights to women and for the advancement of women.

There are still various laws which are prevailing till now in many parts of our country. Until and unless these laws are prevalent  our women will not  get justice and be treated equally as men

There are women who are tortured, sexually harassed by their husbands, family members out of these many of them belong from rural uncivilized areas and there they don’t get the privilege to take a stand for themselves and also they don’t get any moral support from their family members as well as they are unaware of the laws. Going by the statistics and the conviction rate reported by courts, women after filing the cases they have to undergo humiliation from society as, harassment at the hands of police officers, and they suffer immensely before getting exonerated.

CONCLUSION

Even though our constitution has introduced and enacted many laws in favour of women as well as provided equality in many aspects but the effect of multiculturalism or globalization and industrialization affected the status of women. Women are always considered as a weak part of our society and are ill-treated, They were not given any kind of recognition. But even after facing such ill-treatments and living in a patriarchal society they have fought for themselves and have emerged as real heroes in their struggle. Today women are the pride of our country. “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in this world “as said by Hillary Clinton. The struggle of a women’s life is more than that of a man. Illiteracy is the root cause of all those problems. To achieve the goal of social justice and equality the rights of women are approved at the national level to make certain the development of women in various educational socio-economic fields.


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