Adeela Hameed

Defending Rights of Women in India: A Constitutional Standpoint

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Women make up half the population of our world. They are equal members to each resource provided by nature, have personal and official rights, and elicit respect. Each country takes care of women rights as one of its fundamental responsibilities. India is no exception.

When talking about constitutional and legal rights of women in India, we have a large base to cover. Some of the very important constitutional rights are mentioned below to provide an idea that the Indian constitution does indeed cater to women empowerment.

  1. Article 15(1): The state shall not discriminate against any citizen of India on the ground of sex.
  2. Article 16(2): No citizen shall be discriminated against or be ineligible for any employment or office under the state on the ground of sex.
  3. Article 23(1): Traffic in human beings and forced labour are prohibited.
  4. Article 39(a): The state to secure for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood.
  5. Article 39(d): The state to secure equal pay for equal work for both Indian men and women.
  6. Article 39(e): The state is required to ensure that the health and strength of women workers are not abused.
  7. Article 42: The state shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
  8. Article 51-A(e): It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.

The legal rights (notified as Acts) of women as provided by the Indian constitution are:

  1. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005)
  2. Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (1996)
  3. Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (1996)
  4. Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act (1987)
  5. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971)
  6. Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection Act) (1994)
  7. Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act (1939)
  8. Hindu Marriage Act (1955)
  9. Code of Criminal Procedure (1973)
  10. Legal Services Authorities Act (1987)
  11. Minimum Wages Act (1948)
  12. National Commission for Women Act (1990)
  13. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (2013)

Although these rights are clearly mentioned in the Indian constitution, following these to the bone is lacking at large in our country. What does this say about citizens and governing bodies? This indicates that however powerful the rule, it will never be powerful enough to be implemented, unless and until underlying issues are addressed. The issue here is making women aware of these rights, boosting their confidence, and helping them to be bold and headstrong in the face of turmoil at any level; societal, familial, or personal.

Female employees working in industries, factories, government offices, or private facilities whilst maintaining their households properly are proof enough that a woman can balance her job and personal life well. They don’t need to be patronized. What they require is full reimbursement for their abilities, at home or at work.

Women are half the reason this planet survives. They are guardians of the human civilization, and their presence in this world matters as much as a man’s. So, women need to know their role, rights and responsibilities to move ahead with confidence. Not only women, but men too should consider it their duty to make sure a woman is respected and admired responsibly. That she is supported in her dreams, her modesty protected, and work appreciated.

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