Rahul Sodhi, The Northcap University
The basic research has been done in this paper and it has been shown how the gender gaps have to be reduced in society. From the past decade to the present time the inequality has been done with females and especially for the married and the women who work for making their family survive but due to some norms, no chances were given to them for the increment in the workplace or anywhere in the society.
It is shown how the society is giving favour to men over women without knowing their capabilities and skills. In the present year, the face is changing but for the economic growth of the society it wants more changes in the workplace and to remove discrimination totally from the nation so equal opportunities have to be enjoyed by both the genders.
The term discrimination is defined by the society in their culture or by their norms we can say discrimination in a simple term as to where the people are discriminated against based on sex, religion or cast, and so on. Society simply creates discrimination between males and females based on their gender but not according to their capabilities or skills.
It is recognized as a form of inequality and achievement for the society when discrimination is done by them whether it will be done in the workplace or their homes or anywhere in the country. This is not the issue of our nation this thing is done everywhere in the world and creates a common issue for women. This affects their mental capacity very deeply and they can’t participate fully in the workplace or society freely.
Half of the world’s population consists of women and if they see the portion of discrimination then it is on the very large point in which the discrimination has been done and it is in the continuing process whether it is directly or indirectly. The most affected part can be seen in the communities and in the religion where this is followed and even there are women’s who have accepted it and does not raise their voice because they think no one will listen to their voices and this is a part of life which continue in their whole life span and they have to live with that.
The practices of the discrimination start from their childhood in which they have learned that not to go outside at late you have to maintain some norms they are boys they can do anything but you are a girl you have to live with some norms and to maintain the good image for the society. We are living in the 21st century if we look out theoretically we see equality in society as they are not discriminated but if we think it practically we are doing discrimination or not?
No, in practical life we are not maintaining the equality among the boys and girls whether you can take the example of the school life or from the workplace where they work and we are getting so use-to with these norms and the discrimination is getting ignored in a so easy way.
If we see from the past years there are different types of discrimination have been done with different ethnicity. If we see the Brahmin religion [i]the most important culture of the Indian society in which they have said the women from the Brahmin religion have to be married in early ages as it is good for maintaining their cultural beliefs and the marriage is done without their consent and this culture is continuing in most of the villages where they are following their cultural beliefs according to the saying of their forefathers.
Discrimination is a cultural tradition nowadays that has been accepted by most of the women in the society and followed as a social value by men. The more percentage of discrimination is done in the educational background in which more chance of getting an education is given to the boys rather than girls.
The opportunity of going to school being a girl in the village or in a society where backward norms are followed are equal because most of the times no opportunity is given to the girls for going to schools by their family because of the lack of knowledge or lack of awareness in the society.
They think there is a wastage of money on the girl if we sent them to school for education because one day she has to take care of their in-laws and their husband and they can learn these things at home so why we sent them to school.
Preferential Treatment for males in a society
The Indian cultural institutions that have been particularly running by those male descendants that follow the saying of their forefathers and they are playing a central role across the system for increasing gender inequality and giving the ideas for gender behaviour.
The culture that has been continuing and given a title to the males as a caregiver for their parents in their old age as it seems to be very much effective for women that they cannot take care of their parents in their old age rather than men do but there are lot of examples in which women are better taking of their family rather than men when even they are facing the most difficult times in there life they don’t discriminate between the family and there work they participate in both of them equally.
The corporate sectors are giving the most attention to the males directly and indirectly as the paying slip the first difference came up in which more salary was given to the male employees rather than female employees and even in the appointment of the female employee the discrimination is done.
If we give a look on the transformative approach of Anuj Garg then discrimination has been defined in a case in taking the view of article 15(1). According to article 15(1[ii]), it states that state shall not discriminate any citizen on the ground of sex, caste, and religion or on anything this statement has been followed by the court itself or not there was a case of R.S. Singh vs. State of Punjab (AIR 1972 P H 11) [iii]in which the court has not given the proper statement for the appointing of women as a warden in male’s jail and given the difference of the physical appearance and the safety for the women the fact was that women have been refused to be appointed as superintendent in a male’s jail and the court held on the facts of sex and other legislative classification to not to be appointed as a superintendent.
The court of Karnataka high court states that there is a difference between the physical structure between male and female and the strength of the male is more than women so she cannot hold the position of the superintendent. According to this judgment it has been classified that law has also drawn a clear line by privileging men over women.
Court also highlighted the statement in appointing of women in the male’s jail as a warden due to self-reliance, physical strength and state can discriminate against women in a context where such disparities have to be in relevant considerations.
There are many judgments[iv] in which the court is also privileged men over women and not followed their laws for their advantage in society. The disempowering of the women which affect their strength has also done in their marriages because of the demand for dowry from there in-laws and this instance is increasing in the time and has become a substantial part of a household income across all the regions and also in the socioeconomic classes. If the demands are not met by them then this will result in the dowry related violence that has been done with them by their husband, by their in-laws, and the demand got increased over time.
There are various judgments in which the cruelty has been done with women in demand of dowry and which leads to the end of their life or they end up in the court due to this problem. Due to these practices in the society, the girl child is less favourable rather than boys and these are increasing more pressure on the parents to not to have a girl child or they are investing low for the girl’s health and in their education and the ratio of the less girl child have been increasingly so fast in the Indian society and it is also being outlawed in India in the past decade.
Gender Inequality at workplace
If we give a look at the economic status of Indian society especially in the rural areas then the women empowerment [v]in the working sector is has been downsloping rapidly because of the society they don’t let them work in any sector. The male of their houses only knows that the women don’t work as they are only there so they can be the good housewives only.
If we see in the agricultural work the contribution of women is invisible and the agricultural sector has not generated more employments for women formally. In the urban areas also the percentage of women employees is very less and if the urban cities are also facing the issue of less employment of women then there is something wrong.
If we see the Indian global labour force participation of females in an employment ratio is only 27%. We celebrate women’s day for showing the achievements of the women’s done till now and showing equality among both the genders but on this day if we focus on the gaps that have been created in the workplace most basic gap is a pay gap in which the discrimination of salary has been done among the males and females. It has been the issue that has been surrounding till now in the society and no one is filling this gap.
In most countries to reduce these gaps they have done most efforts for equality and to promote fair competition among the workforce. If we want to understand the equality we have to understand privilege which means you are getting a good education, no questions have been asked to you, you want to do what you want, but if you are not privileged or you are from a backward background where the awareness level is zero among the society then you can’t afford the same thing if you are not the privilege ones.
It is not saying that only the privileged have the equality among themselves they face different issues in the workplace for example if you are married then you have to take the responsibility of your husband and your family also. You can’t come late at night the question will be raised or you will be forced to leave the job because of common family issues.
In the workplace, the environment is safe or not. You don’t have to stay up late at night there because of the environment. Sometimes you are capable of holding some position in the workplace that is above from the common colleagues but the opportunity has been taken from you because your strengthening power is judged and you were not allowed to take the position.
In the latest years for increasing the studies of the girl child the motto has been followed by the government “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao[vi]”. This movement focuses on the schooling of the girl child so that she gets the chance of schooling and she can get the job. After this motive, most of the villages came up in which many of the girl children were not gone to school and their parents were not aware of the education. If the girl will study then she can educate the society and will take care of the family very well.
The including affirmative action in the inequality at the workplace or anywhere then various policies initiatives came up for the empowering of the women and to reduce the gender gaps in the society. Starting from the rural level the policy that has mandated the participation of one-third of the female representatives in the position of local leadership.
After amending these policies the evaluation has taken place in the rural areas and they found that villages led by women are better represented and it also increases the empowering power of the women raises the voices against the crime that has been faced by them in the earlier period. The female leaders have played a great role in maintaining awareness among young girls and their parents.
The land acquisition rights are also changed due to the affirmative policies equal rights have been given to both the genders for the acquisition of the land as it also increased the educational attainment among the young youth and the age of the marriage after having their carrier in a good position.
These policies have also increased the labour market position and awareness among the women in the villages for labour employment. If India wants to lead in the global market then they have to give them equal opportunities to both the genders especially they have to focus on females as they have been ignoring from the very long time and due to some affirmative actions they have to be considered equally in their homes and in the society also this will increase the chances of women participation in any field without any comparison and they will do freely whatever they want to.
Gender Equality in Judicial Decision
After seeing various amendments and policies that have been come forward for the women empowerment after R.S Singh Vs State of Punjab (AIR 1972 PH 110) by the transformative reading of Anuj Garg by showing unfair decision of court in the cases of equality.
After the judgement from Anuj Garg then Ratna Kapoor told the equality in the judicial decisions that how the law has been changed for the empowerment of women. If we see the laws for the protection of women in society and starting from domestic violence then in 2005 the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act 2005 has been enacted for women’s right to protection[vii].
This basically focus on the protection of women from the domestic violence that has been rising in the society and many other issues are also covered for the safety of women under this act. After the amendment of the protection of women act, it was challenged in the court that it will be only benefited for women not for men and it will be unfair for the males in the society.
The court have given the various guidelines after hearing the petition of the matter and the statement was given by the court, if wrong complaint will be registered then there are some clauses in which the males will be protected and there are punishments have been defined under the protection of women act for females also for any wrongdoing act in the society.
To curb sexual harassment in the workplace, various enactments have been enacted such as the POSH Act, so as to protect women from getting harassed in their workplace. The main changes of the enactments have been changed after the vishaka[viii] case when the women were doing her job and were sexually assaulted by group of people from stopping the child marriage in the village.
Then various new guidelines were added for the safety of the women in the workplace and timings for the shift of the female have been changed whether they are working in the factory premises or office.
There are various cases of maintenance[ix] in which article 14 and 15 have been challenged in respect of the Hindu Marriage act when the discrimination has been done with the females for not providing the maintenance after divorce and also when the female was getting divorced because the marriage was not done with her consent.
Then in these cases in the past decade, there were no provisions for providing the maintenance for the women and her child but after the provisions were challenged under the court then new guidelines came up for the maintenance and for the consent of marriage. The case of Krishna Murthy[x] in which section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act[xi] was challenged for violating article 14 [xii]on the basis for spouse liability for alimony then the court has given the judgment the maintenance will only be provided if the financial capacity will be not good of female. If the financial capacity of the men is not good then a very less amount of maintenance will be provided under the act.
If we talk in the recent time then two judgment is most important for the equality the first one is Sabarimala [xiii]case in which the women were previously not allowed to enter into the Sabarimala temple for some issues but after so many years of the petition, the supreme court in the judgment has said there will be no discrimination be done with the females for not entering into the temple.
The females are allowed to enter into the temple without any fear as this is not the part of any religion in which the females can’t enter into the temple. The females can go to the temple and it is not hurting any community guidelines. Another case was of the women commanding permanent positions [xiv]in the army. Till September 2019 women were not allowed to be granted for the permanent positions in the army and not to be appointed as women commander.
After the statement came up that men will not accept women as their commander because most of them are not open-minded and came from a rural background. Then court given the statement on this it will be insulting for the women not to be appointed if she is capable of being holding the position of commander. The final judgement was given for granting of the permanent commission for women in the army for all roles except for the comb.
[i] Culture of Brahmin religion towards discrimination have been explained.
[ii] Article 15(1) of Indian constitution, 1949
[iii] R.S Singh Vs. State Of Punjab [ AIR 1972 PH 11]
[iv] Air India Vs. Nargesh Meerza on 28th August 1981 AIR 1829, 1982 SCR (1) 438
[v] Women empowerment has been decreasing continuously in various sectors
[vii] Enactment of Protection of women against domestic violence act 2005 has been done.
[viii] Vishaka & Ors vs State Of Rajasthan & Ors on 13 August, 1997 [(Air 1997 SC 3011]
[ix] Purnananda Banerjee vs Sm. Swapna Banerjee and Anr. on 10 December, 1980 AIR 1981 Cal 123, (1981)
[x] P.S. Krishna Murthy vs P.S. Umadevi on 12 June, 1986 AIR 1987 AP 237
[xi] Section 24 in The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 Maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings.
[xii] Article 14 of Indian Constitution, 1949
[xiii] Indian Young Lawyers Association vs The State Of Kerala on 28 September, 2018
[xiv] Secr. Ministry Of Defence vs Babita Puniya on 17 February, 2020.