PART - I
By Dr PJ Sudhakar
A ll human rights are women’s rights. The United tions Organisation’s Intertiol Covent on civil and political rights, Intertiol Covent on social, economic and cultural rights, Universal Declaration of human rights 1948, UN Convention on Complete Elimition of All Forms of Discrimition against women (CEDAW), several fundamental rights enshrined in Indian Constitution from articles 14 to 32 and directive principles of state policy from articles 36 to 51 describes the human rights of women. There are several legislative provisions and social security laws are also provides provisions for protection of human rights of women. The tiol Human Rights Commission constituted under the protection of human rights Act 1993 and tiol Commission’ for women are actively working for protecting the woman’s rights. The guidelines of supreme court of India in Vishakha case has to be followed for preventing sexual harassment of working women. The tiol policy for women and tiol mission for empowerment of women and tiol awards for eminent women working for protection of rights of women ebles women empowerment and helps for protection of their human rights. The greatness of a civilization can be judged by the place given to women in the society. One of several factors that justify the greatness of India's ancient culture is the honorable place granted to women. The foreign influence on India caused considerable deterioration in the status of women. They were deprived of their rights of equality with men. Raja Ram Mohan Roy started a movement against this inequality and subjugation. The contact of Indian culture with that of the British also brought improvement in the status of women. The third factor in the revival of women's position was the influence of Mahatma Gandhi who induced women to participate in the Indian Freedom Struggle. The development of women is of paramount importance and sets the pace for overall development. There is a need for addressing gaps in state action for women on promoting inter-Ministerial and Inter Sector Convergence to create gender equitable and women centered policies and programmes. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has nodal responsibility to promote the human rights and concerns of women. We should have a vision of empowering women with human dignity and contributing as equal partners in development in an environment free from violence and discrimition. The Government and society should promote social, economic and political empowerment of women through policies, programmes and create awareness about their rights and facilitate institutiol and legislative support for ebling them to realise their human rights and develop their full potential of human persolity. Several social reformers like Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra VidyaSagar, rayan Guru and Periyar E.V. Ramasamy have fought for the human rights of women especially Right to Education, Right to Equality etc and removal of social evils like Abolition of Child Marriages, Sati and promotion of widow remarriages. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution and First Law Minister of independent India has introduced Hindu Code Bill in Parliament for liberating women from traditions and providing equal human rights for empowering them. Education, health employment and political power will empower the women and helps of protection of their human rights. 8th March is being observed as Intertiol Women’s Day every year across the globe.
According to government reports, 2 million foetuses are aborted each year for reason none other than they happen to be females. Census 2001 shows that during the 1991- 2001 decade the overall sex ratio increased from 927 per 1,000 to 933 per 1,000. But during the same decade the child sex ratio (0-6 years) dropped from 945 to 927, while the sex ratio in the seven plus age group increased from 923 to 935. The problem of declining sex ratio cannot be viewed only in terms of numbers. Studies should be conducted to look at the reasons behind the decision to abort and neglect baby girls. Some of the studies shows that juvenile sex ration (0-6 years) has been dropped from 945 (1991 census) to 896 (2001 census). This juvenile sex- ratio (0-6 years) is the most realistic indicator of trends in female foeticide and continuing discrimition against the girl child. The reasons behind the mistreatment of girls crosses the spectrum of Indian region, economic classes and castes and are due to a complex mix of economic social and cultural factors. Declining sex ratio is the reflection of the intrinsic flow in our social system, which has to be taken into consideration and addressed. There is an urgent need to take measures to curb this decline in sex ratio. In context to the educatiol development of women in India, they have achieved far less education when compared to men. As per the Census report 2001, the literacy rate of women is 54.16 per cent and that of men is 65.38 per cent. There has been a sincere effort to improve the educatiol attainment of women by both government and voluntary organizations. The changes in the policies and infrastructural supports on primary, secondary and higher education reflect the initiatives of the Government of India towards women education. From an economist point of view, gender discrimition severely limit expansion and utilization of human capabilities in women and it has critical implications for economic growth. It is assumed that the status of women and discrimition against them are inversely related and therefore measuring women’s status is equivalent to measuring gender discrimition.
The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimition in favour of women. Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, Plans and programmes have aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres. India has also ratified various intertiol conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights of women. India also ratified the UN Convention on Elimition of All Forms of Discrimition against Women (CEDAW) in 1993. Several provisions are provided in Indian Constitution for upliftment of women like Equality before law for women (Article 14), the State not to discrimite against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them (Article 15 (i)), the State has to make any special provision in favour of women and children (Article 15 (3)), Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State (Article 16), Prohibition of traffic in human beings, beggar and other similar forms of forced labour, the State to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood (Article 39(a)); and equal pay for equal work for both men and women (Article 39(d)), to promote justice, on a basis of equal opportunity and to provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or scheme or in any other way to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities (Article 39 A), the State has to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief (Article 42), the State to promote with special care the educatiol and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46), the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people (Article 47), to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e)). (To be continued)