HomeEditor's PickDoes India really possess gender equality?

Does India really possess gender equality?

As we know India is not always known for maintaining equal relationship between men and women or we can say to some extent it always failed in keeping gender equality. But if we look into the past the position of women was too good during ancient time. Women during the early Vedic period enjoyed equal status with men in all aspects of life. Works by ancient Indian grammarians such as Patanjali and Katyayana suggest that women were educated in the early Vedic period. Rig-Veda verses suggest that women married at a mature age and were probably free to select their own husbands. In approximately 500 B.C., the status of women began to decline. The practice of child marriages is believed to have started around the sixth century. Indian women’s position in society further deteriorated during the medieval period. European scholars observed in the 18th century that Hindu women are “naturally chaste” and “more virtuous” than other women.[During the British Raj, many reformers such as Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Jyotirao Phule fought for the betterment of women.
India’s economy, telecommunication, dependence on technology and many social facets are constantly changing and hence is the relationship between men and women. Before the feminist movement, most men and women had very different relationships from those of today. Feminism has immensely influenced men and women relationship at workplace. The battle of the genders still rages in the minds of many. After Independence; Women is now participating fully in areas such as education, sports, politics, media, art and culture, service sectors, science and technology, etc. The Constitution of India guarantees to all Indian women equality (Article 14), no discrimination by the State (Article 15(1)), equality of opportunity (Article 16), and equal pay for equal work (Article 39(d)). In addition, it allows special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women and children (Article 15(3)), renounces practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e)), and also allows for provisions to be made by the State for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. (Article 42).
Feminist activism in India gained momentum in the late 1970s. 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 for neutralizing the cumulative socio economic, education and political disadvantages faced by them.
But Question arises that those rights which are meant for the protection of women what if it has been misused? Does those rights and privileges which are meant for the protection of women is becoming one of the critical issues for the men? Is this what Gender Equality is?
According to modern trends, men and women are equally active players in the family, community, and national affairs. Women must be recognized as representing half of the world’s most precious resources called human beings. But Thing is that these privileges nowadays is being misused by some sects of women who are actually not aware of the fact that this things will harm innocents women who are actually suffering from domestic violence, dowry or any other cases. If they keep misusing the privileges then no one will going to believe the innocent.
Now Again Indian Legal system failed to maintain balance of equality between men and women. This time it makes Innocent men suffer.
As we know there are many laws which are in favour of women but no laws made in favour of men:
As per Indian laws, while a man can be booked and jailed for adultery (IPC 497), a woman can NEVER be booked for adultery, she can only be an abettor in adulterous relationship but she can never be put behind bars.
If a woman is treated with physical or mental cruelty by her husband and his family, she can throw them behind bars. That’s perfectly fine and a good way to serve justice, but here’s the catch. Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code says that the woman doesn’t need to give any evidence whatsoever. Fair enough, but let’s consider the number of reported false imprisonments.
According to Indian law, a man serves up to 3 year’s jail or a fine for sexual harassment but what about a woman? According to Section 354 A of the Indian Penal Code, a man can serve up to 3 years of imprisonment for sexually harassing a woman, but there is no such law made for women. There are many other examples like this.
Now though India gave various rights and privileges to women but it lacks in protecting men from many kind of exploitation done by women, society etc. As article 14 provides equality before law and equal protection of laws. Then there should be some protection given to men in the context of violation and exploitation.
A good legal system represents good governance in the country. In India we know there are many complexities in law. But is it right to blame totally to our legal system? What actually happening in India??
Thing is that it is not the matter of men and women. It is actually the matter of getting privileges to wrong people. Now question arise who is wrong people? How will you define wrong in what context?? How anyone will come to know that privileges and rights are getting misused???
These above question are actually confusing everyone including legal system. Even if they provide rights and privileges to men then it again get misused by some sects’ of wrong people. Then again legal system will be blamed. What India needs the clear provisions of protection for both men and women with clear definition which includes what happened if it get misused. Yes it is complex matter, its not easy for anyone. Society has to play major role because mere making of law will not work without the support of society. We cannot totally blame everything to government, legal system, etc. The way how people thinks also matter. It matters the perception or views of people .i.e. how they take if someone say that he/she was exploited, etc. Sometimes society only makes them suffers a lot. To some extent people also have to improve themselves. They have to think differently. They don’t have to see in the perspective of men and women but they have to see in the context of humanity. First people should learn how to treat equal.
It is due to the thinking of the society only Indian laws lacks protection of men in the context of domestic violence or many more. This situation is mainly due to patriarchal thinking in the society, that men are stronger than women and they can defend themselves with physical force. Its high time India keeps pace with the rest of the world and makes the laws against domestic violence gender neutral. In most countries in the world, the laws against domestic violence provide protection to both men and women. Men can also seek restraining orders from courts, which restrain the abusive partner or wife from perpetrating abuse and even contacting the victim. Whereas in India, family violence against men is almost legal as there is no provision in any law to protect a man, who faces violence from wife or other female family members. There are several cases where a husband has been battered, abused, tortured by wife in connivance with her own family. Many a times the violence is so brutal that the husband suffers extreme injuries, in some cases he is killed as well. Most abused men do not run away from their abusers and apply for divorce, because they are either afraid of losing access to their children or they are afraid of getting implicated in false cases of dowry harassment. They also dread huge financial losses and long drawn litigation’s in the process, given the insensitive and lackadaisical attitude of the Indian Judiciary, especially towards men.

Therefore; we can’t say India as gender equality unless both society and the legal system treat them equally in true sense. The women who are misusing their rights are not aware of the consequences that due to them innocent people will suffer and then no one will going to trust even if it is true, Specifically innocent women who are really a victim of domestic violence . It’s a high time to change.

 

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