Gender Rights: Reflection, Commitment and Action (Download PDF)

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  • India has ratified various international treaties and human rights conventions to secure gender equality.
  • The principles of the Constitution enshrined in the Preamble guarantees:
    • Social equality
    • Social justice
    • Promotes the dignity of the women
  • Fundamental rights laid down in Part – III of the 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 the people of India.
  • Article15 (3) :
    • Reservation of seats for women in Panchayats & Municipalities.
    • States can make special can make special provisions only for women and children for safeguarding their interests.
  • Article 243 in The Constitution Of India 1949:
    • Gram Sabha means a body consisting of persons registered in the electoral rolls relating to a village comprised within the area of Panchayat at the village level.
    • Panchayat area means the territorial area of a Panchayat.
    • Panchayat means an institution (by whatever name called) of self-government constituted under article 243B, for the rural areas.
    • Population means the population as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published.
    • Village means a village specified by the Governor by public notification to be a village for the purposes of this Part and includes a group of villages so specified.
    • Intermediate level means a level between the village and district levels specified by the Governor of a State by public notification to be the intermediate level for the purposes of this Part.

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 law 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) & (4) 243T (3) & (4) : Reservation of seats for women candidates in Panchayats and Municipalities.

Legislative Provisions Promoting Gender Equality

  • Indian Penal Code: Section 376 – Rape.
  • Section 363 to 373 – Kidnapping and abduction for different purposes.
  • Section 302 ⁄ 304-B – Homicide for dowry, dowry deaths or their attempts.
  • Section 498-A – Torture, both mental and physical.
  • Section 354 – Molestation; Section 509 – Sexual harassment.

Special Laws (SLL)

  • The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
  • The Plantation Labour Act, 1951
  • The Family Courts Act, 1954
  • The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  • The Hindu Succession Act, 1956
  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
  • The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
  • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
  • The Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1976
  • The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
  • The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
  • Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987
  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018

Other Initiatives of Government of India

  • Pan India - Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) , single internationally recognized 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 on 20th September 2018) for facilitating the investigation and tracking the habitual sexual offenders.
  • Launched ‘Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) ’ on 19th February 2019 to monitor and track time-bound investigation of sexual assault cases according to Criminal law (Amendment) Act, 2018.
  • Over 700 Stop Centers were approved and 595 are fully functional pan India exclusively designed to provide medical aid, police assistance, legal and psycho-social counseling, 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 girl child and, encouraging women to enter into all fields of employment and commerce.
  • Various schemes have been introduced to expose the women towards skill and employment programmes.
  • Special subsidies are given through micro finance services pan India, specifically targeting the rural women.

Commitments W. R. T International Instruments Related to Gender Equality

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966
  • Beijing Principles of the independence of judiciary
  • Convention on the Political Rights of Women, 1954
  • The Declaration on Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVW) 1993
  • Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
  • The UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
  • UN Women
  • UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security
  • Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 1995 and 2020 etc.

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Initiative

  • To create awareness about the importance of female in the society.
  • Save and empower them with education.

The National Youth Policy (NYP-2014)

  • Aims at providing an overview of the state of the youth aged 15 - 29 years in India.
  • To empower youth of the country to achieve their full potential.
  • Enable India to find its rightful place in the community of nations.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 22, 2020

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