Women’s rights in India have witnessed significant progress in recent years, with several key areas deserving attention.
One in three women have experienced physical or sexual abuse in their lifetimes, according to the World Health Organization. In this way, India is not immune. In total, 35331 occurrences of crime against women were reported in 19 metropolitan areas, according to the most recent National Crime Record Bureau data from 2020. The following categories were used to record most offenses against women:
Husband or family member maltreatment (30.2%), intentional assault on a woman with the goal of insulting her modesty (19.7%),
rape (7.2%) and kidnapping and abduction of women (19.0%).
In India, discrimination against women exists at every stage of life. She has sex-selection abortion before she is even born.
When she is raised and enters the adolescent stage, she may experience forced marriage, child marriage, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse. Once more, during the reproductive stage, woman may experience psychological and sexual abuse from close male friends and family members, as well as forced pregnancies.
She might once more experience psychological abuse from younger family members in her final years.
And as a result of this persistent discrimination against women, Indian law favours their equality. It is therefore imperative that women are aware of the legal rights that are available to them. This essay will discuss
Women Right’s to Refuse Arrest
The CrPC’s section 46(4) states that women cannot be detained between the hours of dusk and dawn. A woman can only be arrested by a female police officer in extraordinary circumstances with the previous approval of the Judicial Magistrate 1st Class.
Women Right’s Equal Ownership of the Property
The Hindu Succession Act underwent a significant modification in 2005. The long-standing discrimination against the daughters was ended by this amendment. With this modification, the daughters are now natural-born coparceners. It implies that they will receive an equal part of the family’s assets as the son.
Right not to be called for questioning at the police station
Women of any age cannot be called to the police station, per section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Only in her residence and in the presence of a female constable and her family members may her statements be recorded.
A girl who is under the age of 18 has the legal right, with the permission of her guardians, to end an undesired pregnancy, per section 3(4) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
Contrarily, an adult woman, married or not, has the right to end her pregnancy up to 20 weeks if it poses a risk to her life or is damaging to her health.
Rights Against Monitoring
According to IPC section 354C, a woman has the right to complain against any guy who watches her or takes pictures of her when she thinks no one is looking.
Cyber voyeurism is discussed under Section 66E of the Information and Technology Act. It entails the electronic transfer of data containing images of women doing intimate acts.
Opposed to Being Stalked
A woman has the right to submit a complaint against any man who follows, contacts, or tries to contact her, whether in person or online (on Facebook, Instagram, etc.), in accordance with section 354D of the IPC.
Stridhan comprises all a woman acquires during the course of her lifetime, including:
All of her personal belongings, both movable and immovable, presents acquired before, during, or after the marriage, gifts obtained during childbirth, and all of her personal earnings are included.
A Hindu woman is the exclusive owner of Stridhan, and no one else is allowed to claim any interest in it, according to section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act.
Right to Free Legal Assistance
Any victimized woman, regardless of her financial situation, is qualified to receive free legal assistance under section 12(c) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
Right to adopt a Child
Any Hindu woman of sound mind who has reached the age of majority may adopt any child in adoption, regardless of her marital status, according to section 8 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act.
The Ability to Take Maternity Leave
The Maternity Benefit Act of 1987 is amended by the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act of 2017. This latest amendment offers:
For the first two kids, maternity leave is 26 weeks long.
For mothers of more than two kids, 12 weeks of leave are granted.
For those mothers who adopt infants under 3 months old, they are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
Right Against Female Foeticide
The intent of the law is to forbid the improper use of a prenatal diagnostic method to determine an unborn child’s gender. It also forbids the promotion of such sex-determination methods. The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994 makes it unlawful to determine a child’s gender, lowering the mortality rate of female foetuses in the womb.
Right Against Sexual Harassment
Any sort of unwanted physical contact, sexual behaviour, remarks, sexual approaches, requests for sexual favours, etc. made by a man to a woman is considered sexual harassment.
In order to shield kids from crimes including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) was passed in 2012. Children are those who fall under the age of 18 as defined by the Act. As a result, this Act provides protection for every girl child in India.
Conclusion About Women’s Rights
Women’s rights in India have witnessed significant progress in recent years, with several key areas deserving attention. The rights to property, job opportunities, protection against sexual harassment, combating female foeticide, maternity leave provisions, adoption rights, Stridhan’s rights, and access to free legal assistance have all played crucial roles in shaping the status of women in India. While challenges persist, these rights have collectively contributed to advancing gender equality and empowering women in various spheres.
The right to property is a fundamental aspect of women’s rights in India. Historically, women faced discrimination and were often excluded from inheriting or owning property. However, legal reforms have granted women equal rights to ancestral and self-acquired property, enabling them to assert their economic independence and secure their future.
Job opportunities and equal employment rights have been instrumental in enhancing women’s participation in the workforce. Legal provisions such as the right to job and anti-discrimination laws have fostered gender diversity in various sectors, empowering women to pursue careers, achieve financial independence, and challenge societal norms that previously limited their potential.
The right against sexual harassment is a significant stride in protecting women’s dignity and safety. The enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act in 2013 provided a legal framework to address workplace harassment and ensure a safe environment for women. This legislation has helped raise awareness, promote reporting mechanisms, and establish redressal procedures, offering women greater protection against harassment.
The fight against female foeticide has been a critical aspect of women’s rights in India. Sex-selective abortions have perpetuated gender imbalances and denied girls the right to life. The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, along with awareness campaigns, have aimed to curb this practice and create a more gender-equitable society.
Maternity leave provisions have played a vital role in supporting working women and recognizing their reproductive rights. The Maternity Benefit Act guarantees paid leave and job protection to female employees during pregnancy and childbirth, facilitating their physical and emotional well-being, and fostering a balance between work and family responsibilities.
The right to adopt a child has provided women, both married and unmarried, with the opportunity to become parents and experience the joys of motherhood. Adoption laws have undergone reforms, recognizing the equal parenting abilities of women and promoting a more inclusive approach to family formation.
Stridhan’s rights, referring to a woman’s right to her personal property and gifts, are essential for ensuring economic autonomy and preventing financial exploitation. Recognizing and protecting Stridhan has helped women safeguard their assets and exercise control over their financial resources.
Access to free legal assistance has been crucial in ensuring that women can assert their rights effectively. Legal aid programs and initiatives have empowered marginalized women, enabling them to navigate the complex legal system, seek justice, and challenge gender-based discrimination.
In conclusion, India has made significant strides in advancing women’s rights through various legal frameworks and social reforms. While progress has been made, challenges persist, and continued efforts are needed to address gender disparities and promote gender equality across all sectors of society.