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This article was written by Sougato Ghosh, a student of KIIT University, Bhubaneswar.
In our 69 years of independence, India stands as the most progressive democracy, yet gender discrimination continues to be a humongous problem within the Indian Society. One of the most regressive in terms of conferring upon women their rights. For a country, which has been hailed all over the world for its feminism due to the worship of female deities and for endorsing concepts like the “Swayamvar“.
Gender equality is the current topic which is continuously in flash under the scenario. This topic has been in trend from past decades. First of all, we have to understand the meaning of “Gender Equality” which means the grant of equal rights, importance to both men and women. Men and women are just the two wheels of a cart. It says no one is inferior or superior to the other. They should be granted with equal status and fame. In ancient times, Indian women were treated well but with the coming of new religions, they lost their glory. The discriminatory attitude towards the men and the women have existed for the long generations which effected the lives of both the genders. The most crucial moment of gender equality came into existence during the freedom movement of the country. Indian women fought hand in hand with men for India’s Independence. Sarojini Naidu, Kasturba Gandhi, Rani Lakshmi Bai and others raised their voices. They came out and showed to the world that Indian women could do as much as men.
The Constitution of India has granted both men and women the equal rights but the disparity between the men and the women still remains. Gender discrimination infringes the human rights. Gender discrimination or inequality is mostly seen in family land sharing among the sisters and the brothers. Gender discrimination against young girls and women is affecting across the world. It is seen in all the sections of the society. There are 1029 women per 1000 men in North America  and 1076 women per 1000 men in Europe,  but there are only 919 women per 1000 men in India.  These rates tell us quite a harsh story about the selection of the sex before the birth and neglect of female child after the birth and also of the mistreatment of the young girls and women in India. Women have an advantage as compared to the men for the survival and longevity, yet there are less women as compared to the men. A male child is regarded as a blessing whereas a female child as a burden. As per the evidence, it shows that the girls are given lesser food and health care than the boys, especially in Northern India. Girls are given lesser medical attention as compared to boys and usually they are taken very late to the hospital in an emergency. For which, they face many problems like higher risks of malnutrition and the like. In case of education, the number of dropping out girls from the school far exceeds the boys just because of the fact that the girls are expected to work domestic duties like washing and cooking or taking care of younger ones which creates the difference between the female equality and the male equality in rural parts of India.
In all the sections of society, there is a problem of discrimination based on the gender. Discrimination based on the gender is one of the basic fundamental features of the human society. There is no society which treats its men and its women equally. In all the sections of society, men and women both think differently, and do different types of work. In all the societies, it is the women who has been subject and slave whereas men who has been always the ruler and master. It is a man who takes whereas a woman gives; man acts, woman waits. It is important to note that women have better immunity system to diseases as compared to the men. The infant mortality rate is comparatively lesser in women as compared to men. In a way, man is a weaker gender. The general view is that the men are more intelligent and do better achievements as compared to the women. But now women equal to men in many aspects. Today, women are becoming prominent as a leader in all the fields be it medical, engineering, law, politics, business, space, aeronautics and the like. Twenty- six laws have been enacted for the protection of the women from various crime. Women Empowerment could only be achieved if the economic and social status of women is improved. Women have proved themselves as equals in many types of professions and also proved themselves even better than men in some type of profession. Women have realized that they are not the puppets in the society but the pillar without which the foundation of society is totally incomplete. The Government of India came up in the new millennium by declaring the year 2001 as a “Women’s Empowerment Year” to focus on the vision that women are also the same partner like the men. Empowerment will become more relevant if women become more educated and prominent. Women needs to be physically healthy so that they can able to take challenges of equality.
ROLE OF LAW AND JUSTICE
Indian women living in a patriarchal country are facing many violence at homes. It is important to note that the Constitution of India provides equal rights and opportunities for both men and women and make equal provisions for improving the status of women in the society, Article 15 of the Constitution of India states that “the state shall not discriminate on the basis of sex” and Article 44 of the Constitution of India also states that “the state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India” but still Indian women are facing discrimination in various fields. For which, The Indian Parliament passed certain laws for the protection of Indian women. The Indian Parliament passed section 498A of the Indian Penal Code in 1983. For the first time in the history, domestic violence was recognized as a criminal offence. This section basically deals with cruel act by the husband or his family towards the married woman. The law under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code also deals with dowry harassments. If any woman is being harassed for dowry, this provision provides the protection of Indian women from domestic violence. Apart from section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Parliament also passed “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005” for the protection of the women from domestic violence. Though, there is one specific provision under section 304B of the Indian Penal Code which talks about dowry death but rather filing a case under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code is an apt solution.
Indian Government have also fixed quotas or seats reserved for women so that they can lead and lead from the front. Our present Government led by our Honourable Prime Minister Mr. NarendraModi has started many campaigns and they are “BetiBachao, BetiPadhao”, “Selfie with Daughter”. Nowadays, there are various campaigns being held for the benefit and grant of the rights to the women. This shows the initiative taken by our Government for only the betterment of the women and these kinds of effects we got to see from our Government being done primarily for the women empowerment. Government have even made karate classes compulsory in the school for the girls for the self-defence. These inclusion is made by the Ministry of HRD for the schools.
To conclude, it may be noticed that India has enacted many legislative and constitutionalprovisions for women empowerment. Many developmental schemes and initiatives for improving the status of women also have been implemented but still they are some sections of women in our country who continuously have to face the problems for which they are lagging behind the men. Mahatma Gandhi had said “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family”. But our patriarchal country does not provides enough opportunities for improving the status of women to have education. The first and foremost opportunity which should be given to women is to have higher education which is a mainstream problem. We can help by pulling down the obstacles that keep girls from attending their school.
Girl who says- “I want to play baseball”, why do we say, “Try something else”? Boy who says- “I want to become a kindergarten teacher”, why do we reply, “Childcare is for the women”? Why don’t we change our mind? For overcoming gender inequality, our narrow mind set needs to be changed. According to Swami Vivekananda, “That nation which doesn’t respect women will never become great now and nor will ever in future”, in pursuit of making India a great nation, our youths should be encouraged to be socially responsible and help women for their deserved status. Everybody should think of changing the society. With the application of all the phenomenon, we can make our society and the nation happier.
 Population of North America from Worldstat.
 Population of Europe from Worldstat.
 Population of India from Worldstat.