The Urgency of Gender Justice: A Comprehensive Examination

Shrija Singh

Hatched by Shrija Singh

Sep 18, 2023

3 min read

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The Urgency of Gender Justice: A Comprehensive Examination

Introduction:

The issue of rape and sexual assault is not just a matter of physical, emotional, and psychological trauma for the victims. It also reflects the tolerance of these practices by a society that claims to uphold the rule of law. The Indian Constitution guarantees the right to education for all children, regardless of gender, and prohibits human trafficking, forced labor, and the employment of children below the age of 14 in hazardous industries. Additionally, it is the duty of every citizen to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. The state has the responsibility to provide a safe environment for women, who make up half of the nation's population.

The Importance of Faithful Implementation of Laws:

Laws are established to set standards of behavior and regulate conduct in a civilized society. However, without the faithful implementation of these laws by an efficient machinery, they remain mere rhetoric and fail to have a real impact. The capability approach, as postulated by Dr. Amartya Sen, suggests that women must be empowered and made equally capable and productive to achieve financial self-sufficiency. While political power, domestic violence, education, and social status are vital concerns, true gender justice extends to social, educational, and economic equality as well.

The Bias Against Women:

The inability of women to claim equality in society has led to a latent bias against them, which is reflected in the prosecution and prevention of crimes. Chauvinistic institutions like khap panchayats, which operate outside the constitutionally mandated administration of equality, further exacerbate this bias. Insensitive remarks made by public figures, such as Shri Anisur Rahman and Shri Asaram Bapu, highlight the deep-rooted misogyny that still exists in society.

The Need for Comprehensive Measures:

To combat gender inequality and ensure gender justice, several measures are urgently required. These include providing minimal guaranteed rations for women, compulsory access to education, free education up to the undergraduate level, preferential opportunities for single women, rehabilitation of destitute women, and prevention of trafficking. When a woman is subjected to sexual assault, it should be recognized as a multiple crime, encompassing rape at home and in public, demeaning medical examinations, and the insensitive response of society.

Overcoming Obstacles to Gender Justice:

The Bhanwari Devi case and the subsequent Vishakha judgment shed light on the obstacles to achieving gender justice in India. The acquittal of the accused in the Bhanwari Devi case, citing their social standing, highlights the bias against lower caste women. The construct of gender justice must include fundamental changes in society's attitudes towards women and the elimination of the concept of perceived honor.

Conclusion:

The report by the Committee emphasizes the urgent need to address sexual crimes and the obstacles to achieving gender justice in India. Rape and sexual assault are not just crimes of passion but expressions of power. It is vital to retain rape as a separate offense and broaden its definition to include any non-consensual penetration of a sexual nature. Three actionable recommendations to advance gender justice are: 1) Implement comprehensive measures such as guaranteed rations and access to education for women, 2) Overcome societal biases and discriminatory practices, and 3) Strengthen the legal framework to ensure swift and effective punishment for sexual crimes. Achieving gender justice is not only a legal obligation but also a moral imperative for a society striving for progress and equality.

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