The Mother Nature, and the Mother Nation,
We may often find them in a conversation
Discussing how privileged they are
As Men have yet not come at par
To be known as the father
Well, we don’t bother
The question is “Is it true, or is it just a blue?” Is it not that the rights and powers of men are highly overrated?
With feminism at its peak giving rise to the concept of meninism, rage and anger against molestation brewing inside everyone, and sympathy for others in heart, my pen feels honored to welcome the readers to the 21st century where India stands 95th out of 129 countries in the Global Gender Equality Index.
There is nothing to be shocked about as there is a similar data of 2018, where the WEF gender gap marked India at the 108th position out of 149 countries.
The problem with the Indian judicial system is that it has its roots deep into patriarchy. To quote a few, the Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and the Guardianship Act, considers the father to be the natural guardian of a legitimate child, and the mother to be the natural guardian of an illegitimate child. Another shocking fact was to know that the punishment for the rape of a separated wife is lesser than any other woman. An inhumane attitude towards separated women.
When it comes to equality, it’s not just the women who feel underprivileged. In an attempt to uplift the women, some laws have either been made forgetting about the other sex, or it was just a deliberate attempt to restrict men from some liberties. One such Section of the Indian Penal Code is Section 375. A very biased section which can hold a man easily guilty of rape even if the sexual intercourse was consensual. The movie Section 375 clearly depicts this.
The add on to the list is that, if a guy under 16 years of age has consensual sex with a girl of his age, he is a rapist. There is a list to write about, like Section 498A which deals with the anti-dowry law which has been misused to extents. To protect women, laws were made, which in turn are becoming a threat to the men.
For a delight, the bill for making sex crimes gender-neutral is introduced in the Parliament which was postponed in 2013 after the Nirbhaya case in Delhi. The bill proposed amendments in the Indian Penal Code in which a person is not referred by his gender but as “any person” in the sections relating to a sexual offense, keeping in mind the fact that the perpetrators, as well as the victims, can be both men and women.
It was intriguing for me to realize a fact that many popular websites when searched for Gender Equality show results for only the male and female genders. For a reminder, India legally has 3 genders in the country:
Bill number 169 of 2019 which became law on the 5th of December 2019, The Transgender Persons( Protection of Rights) Act, has made some efforts towards equalizing the status. However, it is still unable to provide proper laws as demanded by the community. It came as a surprise that the bill passed, has no reservations for the transgenders in educational institutions or jobs as opposed to women who have 33% reservation in government jobs and institutions. Also, the maximum punishment one can serve is of 2 years on committing a crime against transgenders. Some utter insensitivity towards them.
Gender and Rights Equality in India cannot be fully enforced by the law. At times, some laws are misused to the extent that their very existence enforces another crime.
Unbiased rules and laws are needed for sure but the societal influence regarding issues also plays a major role in the equality of people. For example: by law, it is not illegal for any person to go out at night, but according to the social norms and safety issues, it is advised for girls to not do so. According to the law, daughters have a legal share in their father’s property, but the claims made are very few due to the social pressure which supposedly terms such a woman ‘a greedy vamp’, or one who has an instigating husband.
Until and unless these social stigmas are removed from society, gender equality will remain a dream. Human rights activists, the judiciary and every person in the town fail against these social norms which need to be broken right away. Not impossible by the new laws coming in the legislation but far from possible due to some existing ones, and the social pressures, let us hope for a better tomorrow in every good way possible.
“More men need to speak up for the participation of women, and more women need to stand with men when they are correct, and more humans need to stand together to ensure gender and rights equality.”
Do let us know your take on the Gender Equality Rights in India, in the comments below!