JUDICIAL PERSPECTIVE OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT.
Authored By - Sushmitha.J
5th year BBA.,
LLB PRIST University- School of Law
In our society women enjoy an unique position and their contribution to the social development and progress can never be denied. In almost all parts of the world their role in building the national character is significant.
In our Nation, almost half the population are women and their contribution to the economic prosperity and growth is noteworthy.
Prior Manu declared Yatra Naarayastu Poojyante ramante tatra Devatah’ It means where women are respected, divine and grace .Women are symbol of sacrifice, kindness, also placed women in high esteem glorifying their dignity but from the cradle to grave women are below the clutches of numerous evils such as discriminations, oppressions, violence, inside the society. In order to ameliorate the condition of Women in India various legal provisions for women safety and empowerment in Indian Constitution is the most comprehensive and complete document containing the provisions of equality and justice which aims at protecting the dignity of each individual irrespective of class, caste, religion etc. Fundamental law as in the Preamble, in Part III dealing with Fundamental Rights and in Part IV which stating Directive Principles of State Policy, thrive for securing gender justice and other numerous laws and legislatures aimed at empowerment of women in the areas of personal, labour, service and criminal and social economic matters.
Legal system in India for the protection of women ranges from constitutional mandates to women specific legislations. Protection of the rights of women is also an obligation of India in the international context. The role played by judiciary is significant for the protection of rights of women. The present research paper critically analysis the role of the legislature and judiciary in empowerment of women.
Keywords: women, judiciary, protection, legislature, empowerment,
All data and information present in this research paper are collected from various reports which are been prepared by national and international agencies on women empowerment, information's are collected from several authentic websites and journals relating to role of judiciary on women empowerment are referred.
In our society women enjoy an unique position and their contribution to the social development and progress can never be denied. In almost all parts of the world their role in building the national character is significant. Their contribution to the society is manifold and they have got multifaceted personality as they play the role of mother, sister, wife and daughter during various stages of their life. In their role in various capacities they become a part of the society and by playing a major role in enhancing, the dignity of the society.
During the last three decades there has been a sea change in the concept of women's empowerment.
Women’s empowerment can be defined to promoting women’s sense of self-worth, their ability to determine their own choices, and their right to influence social change for themselves and others. Women’s empowerment and promoting women’s rights have emerged as a part of a major global movement and is continuing to break new ground in recent years.
Empowerment provides a greater access to knowledge and resources, more independence in decision making. considerable ability to plan lives, more control over the circumstances which influence lives, and freedom from customs, beliefs and practices. Thus, women empowerment is a process in which women challenge the existing norms and culture, to effectively promote their well being.
According to the United Nations, women’s empowerment mainly has five components:
Women empowerment can be interpreted as totality of empowerment including political, social, cultural and other dimension of human life as also physical, moral and intellectual.
“You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”
– Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru
The significant discrimination of women time over time again during the past centuries gave birth to the concept of women empowerment. The concept was first introduced during the UN's third world Conference on Women while highlighting the need for equal social & economic power in favour of women.
In the medieval period The integrity among the genders had room in the early Vedic period but somehow in the later Vedic period there was a decline in the integrity and equality among them, especially the position of the women which was equal in the early Vedic period, later had a downward trend in later Vedic period. It is believed that foreign conquest is the main reason for the decline of women’s status in that era. There was an erosion in the Rig-Vedic ideals of fairness and harmony, which deprives women to enjoy their right to study the Vedas, recite Vedic mantras, and practice Vedic rituals. Women were forced to get married and or involve in domestic life and have an indisposable devotion to their husbands. At that time parents were ashamed of the born of a girl child.
Approximately 500 B.C., the status of women began to Decline, and with the Islamic invasion of Babur and The Mughal empire and Christianity later worsened women’s Freedom and rights. Although reform movements such As Jainism allowed women to be admitted to religious orders, By and large women in India faced confinement and Restrictions. The practice of child marriages is believed to Have started around the sixth century.
The Bhakti movements tried to restore women’s status and Questioned certain forms of oppression. Traditions such as Sati, Jauhar, and Devadasi among some communities have been banned and are largely defunct in modern India. However, some instances of these practices are still found in Remote parts of India. Child marriage remains Common in rural areas, although it is illegal under Indian law.
Thus The position enjoyed by women in the Rig- Vedic period deteriorated in the later Vedic civilization. Women were denied the right to education and widow remarriage. They were denied the right to inheritance and ownership of property. Many social evils like child marriage and dowry system surfaced and started to engulf women. During Gupta period, the status of women immensely deteriorated. Dowry became an institution and Sati Pratha became prominent.
During the British Raj, many social reformers such as Raja Rammohun Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Jyotirao Phule started agitations for the empowerment of women. Their efforts led to the abolition of Sati . As a result of their concentrated efforts, the status of women in social, economic and political life began to elevate in the Indian society.
In the modern age, in this new millennium they have shown their excellence in almost all fields and their contribution in political, civil, economic, social and cultural development of a country is widely appreciated and recognised and they have proved that they are no more week and are equal with men. In both developed and developing countries we can see women are placed at par with men and even at some places they are placed in a better position enjoying higher status thereby signifying the leadership they have.
NEED FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT:
In earlier societies they used to enjoy a special status as they were worshipped as goddesses but slowly the respect, the admire and the status came to be derecognised and their position deteriorated to a great extent. They have become victim of the social set up and sex based discrimination continued to dominate the society thereby depriving them from all sorts of facilities. They are treated unfavourably and the concept of equality and equal status has become a myth for them.
Need for empowerment are day so centres of domination and discrimination done by men over women; women are the suppressed lot. They are the target of varied types of violence and discriminatory practices done by men all over the world. India is no different
India is a developing country where we find various types of customs traditions and practices. These customs and traditions, good as well as bad, have become a part of our society’s collective consciousness. We worshiped women as female goddesses by giving great importance to our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and other female relatives of friends. But at the same time, we could see treating the women badly in society.
Indian society consists of people belonging is almost all kinds of religious beliefs in every religion women are given a special place where every religion teaches us to treat women with respect and dignity. But somehow the society has so developed that various types of ill practices, both physical and mental, against women have become a norm since ages. For instance, sati, practice of dowry, abetment to suicide, female infanticide, cruelty, sexual silence, sexual harassment at work place, domestic violence and other varied kinds of discriminatory practices.
Empowerment are classified as;
Individual empowerment- means to have the self-confidence to articulate and assert the power to Negotiate and decide.
Social Women Empowerment- A critical aspect of social empowerment of women is the promotion of gender Equality. Gender equality implies a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, outcomes, rights And obligations in all spheres of life.
Educational Women Empowerment- It means empowering women with the knowledge, skills, and self-confidence Necessary to participate fully in the development process. It means making women aware of their rights and Developing a confidence to claim them.
Economic and occupational empowerment- It implies a better quality of material life through sustainable livelihoods owned and managed by women. It means reducing their financial dependence on their male counterparts by making them a significant part of the human resource.
Legal Women Empowerment -It suggests the provision of an effective legal structure which is supportive of women Empowerment. It means addressing the gaps between what the law prescribes and what actually occurs.
Political Women Empowerment- it means the existence of a political system favouring the participation in and control By the women of the political decision-making process and in governance.
Empowering women is one of the most effective tools for improving lives of family, community and nation as a whole.
Thus, it is imperative need to develop women empowerment.
“there is an urgent need to tackle the illes of the society against women through active participation of all- men, women, society and governments. It is imperative to make women empowerment a people’s movement.”
REPRESENTATION IN JUDICIARY:
Our judiciary is one of the four pillars on which Indian democracy stands. It governs and drives our actions and categorises them into legal and illegal verticals. Among several judges in the 25 High Courts of India, female judges make up only 11.7% of the population, states the report of Supreme Court Observer.
Motivates More Women to Seek Justice: Higher numbers, and greater visibility, of women judges can increase the willingness of women to seek justice and enforce their rights through the courts.
Different Point of Views: It is definitely valuable to have representation of various marginalities in the judiciary because of their different lived experience.
Increase Judicial Reasoning: Increased judicial diversity enriches and strengthens the ability of judicial reasoning to encompass and respond to varied social contexts and experiences.
INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND CONVENTIONS:
ROLE OF JUDICIAL ACTIVISM ON WOMEN EMPOWERMENT :
All provisions of the Constitution and all laws enacted by the legislature get their real meaning and import through the process of judicial interpretation.
The Constitutional mandate and the various laws providing for protective discrimination in favour of women relating to several aspects of their social, economic and political life have come up before the courts. Through various devices like judicial review, judicial activism, social action litigation and the duty of enforcement of fundamental rights the superior Courts in India have evolved a gender jurisprudence which has given substance and life to the constitutional scheme of protective discrimination in favour of women.
Below is detailed overview of the judicial approach in various cases, where the Courts have successfully delivered their verdict to strengthen position of women.
LEGISLATURE ON WOMEN EMPOWERMENT:
In India there are numerous laws aimed at empowerment of women in all areas such as personal, labour, criminal and socio-economic fields.
Art 14 states about principle of equality- right to equality, Art15 specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex
Art 15(3) empowers the State to take affirmative actions in favour of women. Article 16 provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens relating to employment of appointment to any office.
These rights being fundamental rights are justiciable in court and the Government is obliged to follow the same.
Directive principles of State Policy also contains important provisions regarding women empowerment and it is the duty of the government to apply these principles while making lows or formulating any policy. Though these are not justiciable in the Court but these are essential for governance.
Art 19 (a) provides that the State to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood.
Art 19 (d) mandates equal pay for equal work for both men and women
Art 42 provides that the State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
It also contains a duty related to women's rights:
Art 51 (A) (e) expects from the citizen of the country to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices deviatory the dignity of women
Through 73rd and 740 Constitutional Amendment of 1993, a very important political right has been given to women which is a landmark in the direction of women in International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics Special In India. With this amendment women were given
31.33 percent reservation in seats at different levels of elections in local governance at Panchayat Block and Municipality elections.
12 The Equal Remuneration Act 1976 It provides for payment of equal wages to both men and women workers for the same work or work of similar nature. I also prohibits discrimination Against women in the matter of recruitment
Women are an integral part of a society, they play a vital role in determining the destiny of a nation. We are most powerful when we work together as a team by which we could achieve to embrace the progress, creativity & independence. In consequence road map for women empowerment is there but still we have miles to go on this path of empowerment.
Each person has a unique role in the community opportunities to fulfil those must be given. This in particular, will take its time as well. The idea of women empowerment might sound hard by the yard, but by the inch, it is just a cinch. All we need is a concentrated effort focused in the right direction that would rest only with the liberation of women from all forms of evil. Therefore, due recognition for them becomes all the more important.
“The fight is not for woman’s status but for human worth. The claim is not to end inequality of women but to restore universal justice. The bid is not for loaves and fishes for the forsaken gender but for cosmic harmony which never comes till woman comes.”
- Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer