Some specific laws which were enacted by the Parliament in order to fulfill Constitutional obligation of women empowerment are ,
- The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
- The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
- The Medical termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
- The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
- The Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994.
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Protection and) Act, 2013.
Above mentioned and several other laws are there which not only provide specific legal rights to women but also gives them a sense of security and empowerment.
International Commitments of India as to Women Empowerment
India is a part to various International conventions and treaties which are committed to secure equal rights of women.
One of the most important among them is the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), ratified by India in 1993.
Other important International instruments for women empowerment are: The Mexico Plan of Action (1975), the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies (1985), the Beijing Declaration as well as the Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome Document adopted by the UNGA Session on Gender Equality and Development & Peace for the 21st century, titled “Further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action”. All these have been whole-heartedly endorsed by India for appropriate follow up.
These various national and International commitments, laws and policies notwithstanding women’s situation on the ground have still not improved satisfactorily. Varied problems related to women are still subsisting; female infanticide is growing, dowry is still prevalent, domestic violence against women is practiced; sexual harassment at workplace and other heinous sex crimes against women are on the rise.
Though, economic and social condition of women has improved in a significant way but the change is especially visible only in metro cities or in urban areas; the situation is not much improved in semi-urban areas and villages. This disparity is due to lack of education and job opportunities and negative mind set of the society which does not approve education for girl children.
Ms. Jaishree( Asst Professor , School of Law)
Presidency University, Bangalore