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70 Years of Independence But No Right to Live With Dignity for Women: National Commission for Women Data

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Right to live with dignity
Indian students shout slogans as they hold placards demanding stringent punishment for rapists during a protest in New Delhi, India, April, 23, 2013. VOA
Oct 3, 2017: India completes 70 years of Independence, yet women of the country fight for their ‘right to live with dignity’. Our women are still not free from the clutches of societal customs. According to the media reports (2016-17), the National Commission for Women (NCW) received maximum complaints under this category, ahead of rape or molestation.
The NCW is a statutory body appointed to safeguard women’s rights. The highest number of complaints registered by NCW were 4,373 under the ‘right to live with dignity,’ followed by dowry harassment (1,752), disrespecting the modesty of a woman (946) and violence against women (943), reported IndiaTimes.
“The NCW is founded upon the recognition that in a patriarchal society, women face a far greater degree of vulnerability and, hence, any effort to reform any law cannot go against this well-evidenced fact and reality and now argue that men are equally if not more vulnerable than women,” All India Progressive Women’s Association secretary Kavita Krishnan said, reported PTI.
[bctt tweet=”As much as Right to live is a physical right, it is equally imperative to exercise a right to live with dignity. ” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]
Many a times police personals ask women inappropriate and insensitive questions during investigations. It is startling to see that NCW department has registered 3,963 complaints of police apathy, which also top the cases of molestation or dowry.
Often women are compelled to marry against their choice. Indian women grapple with the right to choice in marriage and forceful arranged marriages that dominate consensual marriages in the Indian society. NCW received 337 complaints about women wanting the right to choose their own spouses.

In the famous conflict between Maneka Gandhi and Union of India, she challenged her impounded passport in the apex court. Maneka was issued a passport on 1976, and within a week, the same was impounded because of the public interest. A writ petition was filed with the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of India gave a new light to Article 21 (III) by demonstrating that the right to live is not merely a physical right but encompasses the right to live with dignity as well.
As per the Article 21 of Indian Constitution:
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94

 

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African Nations Urge Government to Enforce Fairer Family Laws

The pact, known as the Maputo Protocol, came into force in 2005 and guarantees extensive rights in areas from protection against violence to economic empowerment

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family laws
FILE - A woman protests against underage marriage in Lagos, Nigeria, July 20, 2013. VOA

Women and girls in Africa are still being pushed into forced or early marriages, while those in unhappy unions face discrimination when seeking divorce, campaigners said on Tuesday, urging governments to enforce fairer family laws.

The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) — a coalition of 50 groups — said while most nations had committed to a pan-African pact on women’s rights, states had failed to enforce laws relating to marriage, divorce, child maintenance and inheritance.

The pact, known as the Maputo Protocol, came into force in 2005 and guarantees extensive rights in areas from protection against violence to economic empowerment.

Anisah Ari from the Nigeria-based Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, a SOAWR member, said while African nations had taken steps in other areas such as tackling sexual violence, family laws were largely being ignored.

family laws
File: Sudanese Women carrying 50kg bag of grains. Wikimedia Commons

“While the Maputo Protocol affirms women’s rights to exercise self-determination and bodily autonomy — free from discrimination, coercion and violence — many African girls and women continue to bear the brunt of discriminatory family laws,” Ari told a news conference.

“For instance, despite the fact that women have a right to inherit their husbands’ properties after death, this is not always assured — leading to protracted legal battles.”

The SOAWR members, which come from 25 African countries, said many nations had enacted progressive family laws in line with the Maputo Protocol, but the laws were not being enforced.

Women’s contribution and access to familial property was rarely recognized during marital disputes, and women often faced an uphill struggle when seeking child maintenance, they added.

family laws
Women wear the Algerian flag during a protest in Algiers, April 26, 2019. VOA

The legally binding pact, lauded as the most progressive human rights instrument for women and girls in Africa, has been signed and ratified by 42 of the African Union’s 55 member states. Three countries — Botswana, Morocco and Egypt — have neither signed nor ratified it.

The SOAWR members — which come from countries such as Tunisia, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya — said addressing the protection and rights of women and girls in the family was the integral to the advancement of women.

ALSO READ: Africa: New Dresses, Youth Action – Ending Female Circumcision

“Family laws are key as the family unit is where the socialization of gender roles begins. It is where girls first learn their rights and roles in society,” said Violet Muthiga from Sauti Ya Wanawake, a Kenya-based women’s rights group.

“So if we can intervene at the family level to ensure they are protected and treated fairly, we can change perceptions and curb practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation — all of which happen with the family unit.” (VOA)