Gender Rights : Reflection, Commitment and Action
Constitution ensures protection against discrimination on the basis of gender through Article 14, 15(1) and 16(2). Article 39(a), 39(c) and 42 of the Directive Principles of State Policy provided in Part-IV guides that India’s governance shall ensure gender equality in law and policy.
Article 51A(e) imposes fundamental duty on the citizens of the country to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of the women and to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all people of India.
Constitutional Provisions promoting gender equality –
- Preamble – Socialism, equal distribution of opportunities and resources, social justice, assuring the dignity of the individual,
- Article 14 – Equality before laws and equal protection of laws,
- Article 15(1) – Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex,
- Article 15(3) – Empowering state to make special provisions for women and children,
- Article 16(2) – Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment; prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex,
- Article 38 – State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people with social justice and equal opportunities,
- Article 39(a) – Secure, men and women equally, the right to an adequate means of livelihood,
- Article 39A – Equal justice and free legal aid,
- Article 42 – Just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief,
- Article 51A(e) – Promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women,
- Articles 243D (3) and (4) 243 (3 and (4) – Reservation of seats for women candidates in Panchayats and Municipalities.
Initiatives of Government –
- Pan India – Emergency Response Support System (ERSS), single internationally recognised number – 112 for all emergencies with artificial intelligence to identify the location of distress,
- National Policy for the Empowerment of Women 2001,
- Technology based smart policing and safety management,
- Cyber-crime reporting portal specific to women and children to report obscene content,
- National Database of Sexual Offenders (launched in September 2018) for facilitating the investigation and tracking the habitual sexual offenders,
- Launched ‘Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO)’ in February 2019 to monitor and track time-bound investigation of sexual assault cases according to Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018.
- Over 700 Stop Centres were approved and 595 are fully functional pan India exclusively designed to provide medical aid, police assistance, legal and psycho-social counselling, court case management, temporary shelter for survivors of sexual offences.
Goals for Gender Equality in India –
- Advancement, development and empowerment of women,
- Creative conducive and protective environment for women through political, social and economic policies,
- De jure and de facto guarantee of enjoyment of fundamental rights for women,
- Equal access to development, employment and empowerment for women,
- Strengthening legal and administrative systems to eliminate all forms of discrimination and crimes against women,
- Social re-engineering to do away with the discriminatory and derogatory practices prevalent in India,
- Elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and the girls child, and
- Encouraging women to enter into all fields of employment and commerce.
Source – Yojana Magazine
QUESTION – Discuss the constitutional provisions that promote gender equality in India. How would it help in realisation of gender equality goals in India.