Gender discrimination has persisted as a profound challenge in India, affecting all aspects of women’s lives and perpetuating across various social structures, extending beyond gender to intersect with other factors such as caste, class, and ethnicity. In response, the framers of the Indian Constitution implemented a comprehensive set of provisions aimed at promoting gender equality and dismantling discriminatory practices.
We are harnessing constitutional provisions.
Article 14 ensures equality before the law by eradicating any form of discrimination based on gender and upholding the principle of equal treatment for all citizens, irrespective of their sex.
Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds of sex, ensuring equal access to public places and amenities. It empowers the state to enact laws promoting women’s and children’s welfare and interests.
Article 16 guarantees equal opportunities for all citizens in public employment, empowering women to participate actively in the workforce.
Article 21 safeguards women’s dignity, security, and autonomy and has been interpreted expansively by the judiciary to include reproductive rights and protection from gender-based violence, addressing issues beyond physical freedom
Articles 39(d), 42, 46, and 47 advocates for fair working conditions, including equal pay for equal work, maternity relief, uplifting women’s education and economic interests, and improving their living standards.
Article 51A (e) imposes a fundamental duty on citizens to renounce practices derogatory to women and strive for gender equality.
Articles 243D (4) and (3) and 243T (3) and (4) empower local self-governing bodies to promote gender equality and safeguard women’s participation in grassroots decision-making.
Despite these safeguards, the reality on the ground paints a grim picture. This is reflected in India’s 135th out of 146 countries ranking in the Global Gender Gap Index 2022. Creating an inclusive future requires solidarity among policymakers, institutions, and individuals to advance gender equality and opportunities for women.