What are the fundamental Rights of women in India?

 What are the Fundamental Rights Of Women In India?

Fundamental Rights of women in India Ichhori_Webp

The land of India has been guided by the Constitution since 1950. Deriving sources from different countries' constitutions, the Indian Constitution is an amalgamation of both rigid and flexible parts. The makers had kept in mind the socio economic condition of the citizens back then in 1947. As the years passed, many articles came across amendments with the rising need of the hour. When it comes to women’ social status in India, it has seen many crests and troughs with passage of time.

The Rig Vedic era was the one were both genders were at par, with passing of time, the medieval era saw a fall in equality for woman and after independence, women could be seen in many top positions like president-ship, prime minister-ship, speaker in lok-sabha, in the UNGA office, etc. Even though some women get a chance to make their places in the top office, there are many women who face atrocities like rape, acid attack, molestation, etc. on a daily basis.

The condition of women in India has always been a concern. “She is in threat from the womb to tomb. ”The threat of foeticide when in the womb, the threat of getting abused – mentally, physically at any stage of life till she survives. Since the past few years, women have been trying to fight for equal status but are unable to get at par with men; in society, in the workplace, etc.

Although the constitution is a guardian for every citizen, particular woman guided rights need to be revised. Here are few articles of the Indian constitution that establish equality but are not followed-

1.  Article 14 – there shall be equality before law and equal protection of law conferred by the state. Equality before law has been derived from the British constitution which has the absence of special privileges. Even the king and the layman are treated with the same set of laws. It means no person – rich or poor, high or low, official or non-official is above the law.

Equal protection of law was taken from the American constitution which follows the pattern of like should be treated alike. Both the above rights take place only when law is breached. No person can be punished without breaching the law.

2.  Article 15 – there shall be no discrimination by state i.e., government led bodies on the basis of race, religion, caste, place of birth or gender. Despite such measures, discrimination towards women is seen in workplace. They tend to not be selected on the basis of their physical limitations. The criteria of their rejection is baseless. When the constitution is offering equal rights to every citizen, there should be no discrimination on the above mentioned grounds. If one faces such kind of discrimination, they can always report and take action against it. In the same article, subsection; states can male laws in favor of women and children for their upliftment.

3.  Article 16 - there shall be no discrimination in Employment by state i.e., government led bodies on the basis of race, religion, caste, place of birth, descent, gender or place of residence. The government has few reservations for certain backward classes and women. Any of them who face issues of discrimination can exercise their right towards legal aid.

4.  Article 39 – along with Fundamental rights, there are a set of duties which the state should follow for the welfare of the citizens. These set of principles are called Directive principles of state policy. This article covers the importance of having equal pay for equal work. If both the genders are working at the same place giving the same input, there should not be a difference in the pay scale. The work they are delivering is the same, so should be the pay. This makes the workplace and society a gender neutral one and promotes women empowerment. With an equal pay range, motivation and desire to work at the same place remains. This initiative has been adopted by countries like Norway awarding equal pay for equal work. In the news, the UK has put forth a decision of 4-day work with the same pay.  

5.  Article 42 – the directive principle of state policy allows for the provisions to be made by the state for securing just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief. In august 2016, the much awaited decision and amendment of Maternity benefit act, 1961 took place. The amendment extended maternity leaves from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. This paid maternity leave extension provides a sense of relief to the new mother and her infant. By this landmark amendment, the mother does not have to juggle between work and her infant's care like before. There are offices which offer crèche facilities and work from home provisions even after paid maternity leave. It is not universal that both mother and infant remain healthy after the delivery, if any kind of issue arises, the mother has to stay back for recovery even after the maternity leave.


Feminist activism in India surged in the late 1970s. One of the first national-level issues that brought women's groups together was the Mathura rape case. The acquittal of policemen accused of raping a young girl in a police station led to country-wide protests in 1979-1980. The protests, widely covered by the national media, forced the Government to re think and  amend the Evidence Act, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Indian Penal Code; and created a new offence, custodial rape.

Female activists also united over issues such as female foeticide, gender bias, women's health, women's safety, and women's literacy. Since alcoholism is often associated with violence against women in India, many women groups launched antiliquor campaigns in different corners of the country. Many Indian Muslim women have questioned the fundamental leaders' interpretation of women's rights under the Shariat law and have criticized the triple talaq system. It has seen victory since the landmark judgment of the supreme court in 2017, to consider it unconstitutional. This shows that the Indian constitution is secular and keeps in mind the rights of every citizen.

Self-help groups and NGOs such as Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) have played a major role in the advancement of women's rights in India. Ila Bhatt and many other women came together to bring a change and be the change. The Government of India declared 2001 as the Year of Women's Empowerment (Swashakti). The National Policy for the Empowerment of Women was launched in 2001.

Despite all these, there is an unspoken truth that women in India are subjected to a lot of cruelty and discrimination. Perhaps, the biggest crime against humanity is perpetrated against women, threatening their safety and security. The laws, constitution and supreme court and the guardians to every citizen. Every person from any sphere can knock the doors of the supreme court when and wherever needed. Not only laws guide the rights for citizens, we as humans should become more gender sensitive so that the country and world become a better place to live in. 


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