Showing posts with label Contemporary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contemporary. Show all posts

Maya Angelou quoted Gender equality as a human fight and not just a woman fight, alluding that gender inequality is a lifelong, unconscious and subtle process fueled among society through implicit cognitions about the role of women and men in stereotypical gendered pictures of community.In every angle of life, we see the paradox that makes the genders suffer adversities putting them in unpleasant situations. Gender inequality has become one of the most heartfelt social changes in the world,expressing the essence and certainty of breaking this vicious cycle of gender imbalance to reconstruct egalitarianism[1]. This can be achieved through an awareness of all the structural and individual factors amplifying the issuesof gender disparity.

When this is such a paramount socio-economic contention causing a revolution, questions are to be pondered upon. What is the history and reasons for gender inequality? What is the difference between gender equity, gender equality and women empowerment? And most importantly, Why is discussion and understanding of this issue important?

HISTORY OF GENDER INEQUALITY

In the 1800s, women were not allowed to vote and surrender their property to their husbands upon marriage. In 1848[2], the USA, for the first time, called for equal voting rights. Recently in 2011[3], equal voting rights were given to women in Saudi Arabia. Notably, enforcing a mere voting right took 163 years which indicates the assumptions underpinning gender inequalityare resistant to changes.

A bias made it easier for the man to pursue divorce despite the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857[4]. Germany outlawed spouse rape in 1997[5], Zambia in 2010, and it hasn't yet been prohibited in India.

The overall literacy rate for women regarding education increased from 0.2 % in 1882 to 6% in 1947[6]. In India, particularly western school's were open to girls in 1818, secondary education in 1849 and college courses in 1875. A large gap in male and female schools signifies backwardness and may be associated with lower economic growth.

Therefore, it is clear that we have come a long way from discrimination, but it is critical to note that complete democracy and peace cannot be attained unless equal rights and chances for women are provided.

REASONS FOR DISPARITY AND THE GENDER COUNTERPARTS AFFECTED

One of the main reasons for gender imbalance is uneven access to education. One-fourth of young girls and women aged 15-24 do not finish primary school, which makes up 58% of the population[7]. Of all the illiterate people in the world, about two-thirds are women. This unequal disparity affects the opportunities for women in the long run.

Only six countries give women the same legal work rights as men, which causes a domino effect on the lack of employment equality. 90% of women take responsibility for unpaid labour, whereas 22 % of women participated in employment compared to 71 % men, and hence job segregation plays an important role. The lack of legal protections causes places to become unsafe and unprotected, causing women to compromise and limit their goals.

Lack of bodily autonomy, poor medical care, lack of religious freedom, lack of political representation by 25 %, racism, societal mindset; the reasons are endless. Though impacts for women have been specifically mentioned, these reasons impact all genders without mainstreaming any of the genders, in particular, leading to a lack of representation.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GENDER EQUITY, GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

Gender equality means that men and women have equal power and equal opportunities for education, financial independence and personal development. Gender equity is the process of being fair to women and men. Ensuring fairness includes proper strategic measures that must be available to compensate for women s historical and social disadvantages that prevent the genders from starting on a levelled field. [8]Equity thereby leads to equality. Women empowerment is an expository aspect of achieving gender equality.

ISSUES ON GENDER INEQUALITY

Despite the common problems facedsuch as gender violence, stereotypes, shaming, migrant and refugee crisis with separate treatment for separate genders etc.,the variant issues dealt with women, men and the other genders are explained respectively.

One of the disappointing marriage traditions is the concept of dowry in the present times, which is a key issue to gender inequality faced by women. Why do the parents of a girl child need to pay the groom family money to keep her safe? Marriages have now become material negotiations. The suicide rates of girls due to domestic violence has increased tenfold[9]. There are subtle societal ideas pertaining to a patriarchal society, such as male-dominated surnames, family obligations, and, most importantly, media representations of gender stereotypical normsand embedded sexism that influence our thinking.In most areas, women are treated as a liability, whereas men are treated as assets.

Gender imbalance for men reverts to toxic masculinity where men from a young age are taught that crying doesn't make someone "manly". Crying is an expression, and men expressing their emotions are not a sign of weakness. Why is it so easy to hear the word housewife but not the word househusband? Men can be feminists, too, for feminism stands for equality and not just protecting women.Hence, it is brought to light that men must channel support to campaigns such as the White Ribbon Campaign, the world's biggest campaign that engages men in fighting violence against women.

It is not just women and men who face inequality issues, but the LGBTQ community faces immense challenges. Whether receiving an education or pursuing their dreams in jobs, entertainment, news, politics[10], they are not treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. It is drilled into our heads that pink is for girls and blue is for boys from a very young age, but what about all the colors between? Harassment and gender violence is rooted in a heterosexist ideology, and it can be concluded that changes must be brought to broaden the social structure as gender has diversified itself.

REPRESENTATION OF GENDERS IN THE LEGAL FIELD

Though the fights of the justice system continue, the genders have received a fair share of their posts. Joyita Mondal is a 29-year-old transgender woman who recently became the first transgender judge of Lok Adalat[11]. Women's representation is very low as only 5.08% of the women are in the legal profession in India[12]. Even the 34-member supreme court has only four members – the highest it's ever seen. There have been only 11 women, Supreme court judges, in 71 years.[13] Men have the upper hand in the legal field, but the statistics overshadow the challenges they face. Hence, it is to be noted that there is immense hope for the development of all genders in the legal profession, hoping to achieve feminist courts and posts based on capabilities and not genders.

SOLUTIONS TO CREATE EQUALITY AMONG GENDERS

To conclude, the genders-in-equality must be a forum showing equality through actions.Everyone must work to achieve Goal 5[14](gender equality)of the 17 SDGs of the United Nations.Awareness must be brought to ensure gender equality, equity and empowerment are achieved.In my opinion, sustainable solutions to reduce the gender gap are to stimulate full autonomy and independence through education and lifelong learning, equal rights to participate in society and equal sharing of family care. This brings about a paradigm shift in the stereotypical private and public images on the role of gender. Gender diversity is necessary to improve outcomes, and a comprehensive approach must be addressed regarding gender inequity through a shift in national and international policies.The world changes only when a single person starts to change, and genders must be treated as allies and not enemies.So the question is; Are we ready to make the world more equal?

AUTHORED BY: DIVYASRI JAGANATHAN



[1]2021. Un.Org. https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/01/World-Social-Report-2020-FullReport.pdf.

[2]"Voting Rights For Women  | The Right To Vote  | Elections  | Classroom Materials At The Library Of Congress  | Library Of Congress ". 2021. The Library Of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/elections/right-to-vote/voting-rights-for-women/.

[3]McDowall, Angus. 2021. "Saudi Arabian Women Vote For First Time In Local Elections". U.S.. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-election-idUSKBN0TV0E520151213. 

[4]Holmes, Ann Sumner. 1995. "The Double Standard In The English Divorce Laws, 1857–1923". Law & Social Inquiry 20 (02): 601-620. doi:10.1111/j.1747-4469.1995.tb01071.x.

[5]"Marital Rape And Women’s Rights In The Federal Republic Of Germany". 2021. History | Sexuality | Law. https://hsl.hypotheses.org/1685.

[6]2021. Censusindia.Gov.In. https://censusindia.gov.in/2011-prov-results/data_files/india/Final_PPT_2011_chapter6.pdf.

[7]"Two-Thirds Of World's Illiterate Adults Are Women, Report Finds". 2015. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/oct/20/two-thirds-of-worlds-illiterate-adults-are-women-report-finds 

[8]"Gender Equity | UNESCO UIS". 2021. Uis.Unesco.Org. http://uis.unesco.org/en/glossary-term/gender-equity?wbdisable=false.

[9]Dandona, Rakhi, G Anil Kumar, R S Dhaliwal, Mohsen Naghavi, Theo Vos, D K Shukla, and Lakshmi Vijayakumar et al. 2018. "Gender Differentials And State Variations In Suicide Deaths In India: The Global Burden Of Disease Study 1990–2016". The Lancet Public Health 3 (10): e478-e489. doi:10.1016/s2468-2667(18)30138-5.

[10]Dorius, S. F., & Firebaugh, G. (2010). Trends in Global Gender Inequality. Social Forces, 88(5), 1941–1968. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40927534

[11]"India's First Transgender Judge Wants To Improve Lot Of Her Community". 2021. Business-Standard.Com. https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/india-s-first-transgender-judge-wants-to-improve-lot-of-her-community-117102000649_1.html.

[12]Mishra, Saurabh Kumar. 2015. "Women In Indian Courts Of Law: A Study Of Women Legal Professionals In The District Court Of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India". E-Cadernos CES, no. 24. doi:10.4000/eces.1976.

[13]"India Appointed Three Top Women Judges. Is It Too Early To Celebrate?". 2021. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-58498408#:~:text=But%20hurdles%20rem

[14]"Goal 5 | Department Of Economic And Social Affairs". 2021. Sdgs.Un.Org. https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal5.


 

Introduction

Gender-based Violence (“GBV”) refers to harmful acts committed against someone because of their gender. It is a serious violation of human rights and a health and protection problem that endangers life. According to statistics, a third of women suffer from sexual or physical violence at some point in their lives. It can take many forms, such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child marriage, and female genital mutilation. GBV includes sexual, physical, mental, and economic injuries committed in the public or private spheres. GBV has serious effects that can last a lifetime and even cause death in some rare cases.

One way to understand GBV is to analyze daily soaps, movies, and web series that deal with GBV. Indeed, it is a comprehensive area to study. To limit the scope, in this essay, the concept of GBV will be explored with context to the content that is demonstrated in the Indian Cinema (Bollywood) and how these representations influence your imagination and shape your mind creating a mindset that is tarnished with the feelings of violence and sex. In the due course of this essay, it will be depicting how the Indian Cinema has normalized GBV in the reel world for entertainment purposes.

A Societal Mirror

Most people think of movies as a source of entertainment. If we consider cinema as a means to circulate information like the other types of communication media, we will find that cinema is a vehicle of social change. It is not only a piece of art, but also a powerful tool to convey contemporary human emotions and social concepts. Observers have believed that movies will have a huge impact as soon as they are released.

Despite increased interest in movie reviews, film studies have remained largely unexplored. While there have been a lot of movies already presented to the public, not many movies have resulted in important insights about the nature of movies and their function in society. Contemporary films have urged us to consider those areas of life which shouldn’t be normalized, thereby, perhaps don’t feature social issues as prominently as they did in the Old Bollywood.

The Cinematic Trajectory: 1930-2021

Right from the start of the Indian Cinema, the Hindu tradition and beliefs are clearly portrayed in the films. Films like ‘Raja Harishchandra’ portrayed mythology during the silent era, and afterward came films based on drama fantasy elements and melodic tunes. In the 1930s, there was a mounting interest in social issues that affected everyday life. However, by the 1940s, a winning strategy for box office success had been developed, which included songs, dance, stunning imagery, rhetoric, and imagination.

Music and songs became the vibrant elements of filmic experience. In the 1950s, the issues of nationalism, independence and ethnic and religious visions appeared as prominent themes. By the 1960s, cinema had switched its attention away from social issues towards more romantic musicals, westernized themes, flashy acting styles, and dance routines. The 1970s saw the emergence of low-budget film genres. The 1980s saw young filmmakers creating films with sophisticated elements on the harsh realities of society.[i]

The 1990s-present which is also considered as “New Bollywood” depicted extravagant romance, prosperous lifestyles, and shooting in fancy locations that contained scenes of GBV without any trigger warning.

Starting from Main Hoon Na (2004), where a female was forced to wear makeup just to get noticed and subsequently Cocktail (2012), in which a man rejects his modern friend just because of her traditional friend. The husband in English Vinglish (2012), used to repeatedly scold and humiliate his wife.

Badlapur (2015), an award-winning movie, portrayed a scene in which the protagonist rapes the girlfriend of one of the men he’s after. Then we wonder why girls, females, and women are always being raped and are not safe anywhere!

Kabir Singh (2019), where the protagonist is portrayed abusing his girlfriend, Preethi, while claiming to love her. Further, he threatens to rape a woman and approaches his domestic help violently.

Bulbbul (2020), a film that subtly encourages you to think beyond what you see on screen. It is a horror-themed film that contains all the forms of GBV and provides us a thorough picture of the elite Bengali household and its vulnerabilities.

In short, the New Bollywood has countless movies that include GBV in it without any warning. Whereas, on the other hand, the audience should also understand that the scenes which include GBV or any kind of violence should be minimized as it will show negative behavioral outcomes in the coming time especially in the youth.

As a result, in a country like India, where superstars inspire everyone, should portray such scenes with extreme caution and sensitivity, and instants involving violence against children, women, and LGBTQ people should be avoided.

The Second Gender

Bollywood films have always been criticized for almost ignoring the issues of gender. The LGBTQ community’s image is tarnished, and the creators ignore taking LGBTQ people in the ordinary films. People who are identified as LGBTQ are either cast as villains or mocked at. Examples are Dostana (2008), Kanchana (2011), Laxmii Bomb (2020) and many more.

Bollywood films portray females as physically frail and psychologically weak. In most of the movies, women are portrayed either as victims who are too naive to understand that they are in danger or cunning vamps who speak out boldly and provoke the criminal into committing a crime.

Young ladies and girls are shown as people with only one ambition in their life: to marry someone who will pay for all of their extravagant habits. Most mainstream movies depict a man and woman falling in love and then either marrying or being jilted for money or family prestige.

These stereotypes help the creators to minimize the impact of GBV, by implying that the female and LGBTQ community deserve this and should now deal with the repercussions of their actions silently. The reel world has normalized such content in the name of general entertainment and is paving a way where there will be a huge gap between the reel and real world. As a result, there is indeed a great demand for a body to interfere and govern which films should be shown to the public.

The Speed Breaker

Recently, BCCC has asked “TV channels to exercise necessary prudence and caution while scripting, filming, and editing scenes portraying gender-based violence.” Further, it added that the “Disclaimer” should state, “Gender-based violence is a penal offence. This channel does not support any form of GBV or abuse of any nature.”[ii] The self-regulatory body emphasized more on the message that violence is illegal and unacceptable and this message must be clearly conveyed to the audience.

After the advisory issued by the BCCC, there is a ray of hope that the creators who indulge in creating and making such content will abide by the guideline and will avoid portraying important social issues just for the entertainment purpose. Now let’s have a look at those films where women played a major role and were not merely used as a side character who was either cast as victim or were just simply used as an ornament for home or subject to fun.

The Strong Portrayal of ‘Her’

Movies like Bandit Queen (1994), Astitva (2000), No One Killed Jessica (2011), Kahaani (2012), Queen (2014), Mardaani (2014), Marry Kom (2014), Neerja (2016), Pink (2016), Mom (2017), Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017)[iii], and many more similar movies portrayed women as super women and have emphasized in echoing their voice.

Mary Kom (2014), based on the real-life story of an Indian fighter who achieved international acclaim for India. It’s a noteworthy picture to watch because it depicted the challenges faced by Kom during her career. This movie clearly portrays a message that women can do whatever they want to do even after their marriage.

Neerja (2016), based on the true story of a flight purser who was shot and killed while ensuring safety of hundreds of passengers on the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73.

Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017), is a coming-of-age film concerning women’s sexuality. It’s a daring movie that serves as a mirror to the current phase. 

Conclusion

In a limited scope, movies have normalized such content in the face of general entertainment. The juvenile watches these types of contents without a constraint on a stable internet-connected device like laptop, smart TV, phone, tablet, etc. If there is no restriction on the display of such violence and abusive content, then the mind of the current and the upcoming generation will be corrupted with the feelings of violence and sex.

AUTHORED BY: SHIVANGI GUPTA, STUDENT AT UPES DEHRADUN


[i]Antara Das Halder, Portrayal of gender inequality in Bollywood Cinema, ACADEMIA, https://www.academia.edu/12314094/Portrayal_of_gender_inequality_in_Bollywood_Cinema.

[ii]Meenakshi Verma Ambwani, BCCC cautions entertainment TV Channels on portrayal of gender-based violence, THE HINDU (July 01, 2021), https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/bccc-cautions-entertainment-tv-channels-on-portrayal-of-gender-based-violence/article35074977.ece.

[iii]Ashwini Deshmukh, 20 women-oriented films in Bollywood, THE FILMFARE (Mar. 08, 2018, 1:11 PM), https://www.filmfare.com/features/20-women-oriented-films-in-bollywood-26975-1.html.

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“Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomachs, if they can have no shelter, if illiteracy and disease continue to dog them”

-Nelson Mandela

Introduction

In a time when phenomenal economic growth stories of nations are no more sensational headlines and general equality is debated all around the world in a regular basis ironically 150million people globally have no sound roof over their heads. India itself accounts for roughly 1.77 million who constitute 0.15percent of the total population of the country.  While these individuals without a shelter are viewed as full citizens regarding voting rights, their right to a basic amenity is ignored on a daily basis; their existence in the city streets, railway stations and other public places which they occupy is seen as unwanted, legally unacceptable. However those  living in makeshift or inadequate housing are also not in a very good position either, while Indians living in slums popularly known as ‘Basti’ constitute 17 percentile of world's total slum dwellers with a staggering population of 78 million, various state and non-state actors often harass them in a regular basis in violations of their rights.

 

Who Are Homeless And Inadequately Housed?

To understand the crisis we must also understand who are homeless and inadequately housed and under what condition they become so. Mainly the homeless are defined as those who live in streets without a proper shelter or people who have no fixed shelter for the purpose of residence. These people are driven to such miserable conditions under various circumstances, prominently forced evictions, people in many countries lose homes by government orders for construction of high scale housing or roads or other public projects, where the compensation may be minimal and the residents eventually become homeless for they cannot find new affordable housing. There is also an influx of immigrants where the number of individuals in demand of housing far outpaces the construction rate. There is also the matter of gentrification where the rich residents in a neighbourhood outnumber those with lesser financial stability eventually making housing  unaffordable.

The inadequately housed are those who are forced to reside in make shift houses in poorly planned and highly populated, densely packed urban or suburban areas, usually characteristic with poor infrastructure and sanitation. The main reason for them to  live in such hazardous condition being rapid rural to urban migration where people and families migrate from rural areas to urban areas due to better availability of jobs, health care and schooling but are forced to live in slums because of lack of affordable of housing.



International Take:

The global outlook towards homeless and people living in inadequate housing or slums is varying, countries like Brazil and New Zealand are among those who recognise housing as a human rights crisis and have taken various measures to counter them or to protect the rights of those who are homeless or inadequately housed. For instance those who live in urban slums in Brazil are given permanent ownership of their land if they reside there for a period of five years or more, besides work towards modernising and equipping the slum areas to provide an adequate and healthy environment for those living there has also been done. While in New Zealand National Human rights commission has taken up the issue recognising it as a human rights violation and is pushing for better planning and legislation to deal with the rising property prices which is the main factor behind such mass homelessness in New Zealand. While the United Nations recognises homelessness and inadequate living conditions as a human rights failure, there are many countries who are not unified regarding the matter, for example United States Of America recognises the matter as a crisis and has taken up various programs over the years to revert back the flow, but has not officially taken up any legislation recognising it as a violation of Human rights. In China too behind the facade of shiny sky scrapers the huge numbers of urban villages which act as make shift shelters for migratory workers are a live example of the fragility of the system on which modern society is resting peacefully.

India’s Take:

India’s position in the matter of rights of homeless and people living in inadequate housing is not very clear while the government and the judiciary have both recognised the plight of those without a shelter or an inadequate one; no proper legislation has been introduced till date to ease their pain. While India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 the government’s outlook towards homeless and people living in slums is still mostly that of illegitimacy. In India the Rights of citizens are based on Constitution and among all the rights that are enjoyed by citizens of India including the homeless and people living slums, the foremost is the Right to life under Article-21 of the Indian constitution, which as mentioned by the supreme court of India in Francis Coralie Mullin Vs. The Administrator, Union Territory of Delhi & Ors [AIR 1981 SC 746], also includes Right to adequate housing as Right to life means life with human dignity which in turn also requires a healthy and adequate housing facility. However all that being true in a legal manner, the grim reality is that the unavailability of a proper legislation and absence of a overviewing body has given rise to a situation where the government on one hand fails to provide shelter to homeless in violation of Article-21 a fundamental right in congregation to Article-25 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as recognised by Karnataka High court, while on the other hand its actors make the lives of those living in slums impossible. For instance in 2015 the Indian Railways while demolishing houses in Shakur Basti(slum),  Delhi caused death of a six month old child and further robbed four children's lives who died of cold at the absence of proper shelter, robbing them not only of their roofs in the midst of winter but also of their lives itself in violation of their right to life the most basic of all the constitutional and human right under  Article-21 and Article-3 of Universal Declaration Of human rights . While the act in itself was inhumane they further robbed 6000 residents of their shelter, further endangering their life. Despite the fact that all of this was done without a proper advance notice by the railways or any rehabilitation facility in violation of their Right to adequate housing even when some of the residents of Shakur Basti had been residing there for more than 30 years. While the event was distressing in itself, the bigger picture is even more grim, as reports suggests that 56000 children die every year of malnutrition in India’s urban slums, in complete violation of their Right to Life.

However the worries don’t end there, although there are a considerable number of homeless people in India the distressing matter is that more than 4 lakh of them are homeless children in the Indian streets, who often face physical and mental abuse in violation of their right under Article- 39(e) which guarantees protection from being abused they are further stripped of their Right to education under Article-21A and are often refused by hospitals to proper health care, in breach of their human rights under Article-25 and 26 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

While the Right of homeless people as voters is often secured by the government, their right to equality under Article-15 in availing social security schemes by government is often missed and a large section of them remain bereft of their benefits, while there is a breach in constitutional rights there is also a breach of their human right to have equal access to public services and the right to avail social security under Article-21 and 22 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Concluding observations and suggestions:

Thus in relation to the points of view regarding the human rights of Homeless and people living in inadequate housing, it is my understanding the thorough criminalization and police base action will not solve anything, rather a more inclusive policy frame work with stressing importance on both legitimization, modernization and proper rehabilitation will make the lives of those without a shelter or inadequate housing at present easy and healthy. While that being said,  the steps taken by the Indian government in the last decade are also commendable, policies such as National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy of 2007 and The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to improve the lives of Homeless and people living in inadequate housing by regional planning, modernization and improving affordability of housing is a step in right direction.

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AUTHORED BY: ABIR MUKHERJEE, STUDENT AT SNEHANGSU KANTA ACHARYA INSTITUTE OF LAW, KALYANI

“The most sacred laws of justice are the laws which guard the life and person of our neighbor.”

 - Adam Smith (The Theory of Moral Sentiments)

In a time shrouded by liberalism, of unified equitable growth and development, where individuality is upheld in the sense of collective good, for some the very right to be alive appears to be a tough ask. While we exhibit freedom of speech and expression in social media, using a multitude of hashtags ranging from #me_too to #proud_to_be_gay, there are those who are denied their basic ‘Right to Life’. Every Indian female, as I will elaborate, whether a foetus or deceased, isn’t guaranteed the right to live with dignity as our Constitution provides for inArticle 21. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3 provides for right to life while Article 5 prohibits subjection to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that every human being has the inherent right to life. So what about us, the female demographic of the Indian population, are we not humans? I, myself know how fortunate I am to be alive and kicking. Who knows how long this will last? Does it really matter? We talk about the right to choose our religion, gender, sexual orientation etc. But can we control our lives without falling prey to someone's whimsy? Perhaps a jilted lover or a family member in search of an illusory sense of honour. Each stage of a girl’s life, in India, is akin to levels of video games.

Just to be born is a matter of great luck because the extent of female foeticide till this day is shocking. Notwithstanding the legislations to prevent prenatal sex determination,sex-selective abortion, the practice runs havoc  resulting in a skewed sex-ratio.The desire for a male child has not only given rise to sex-selective abortions but even in extreme cases the inhumane treatment of the mother-to-be! Forceful hormonal treatments and multiple abortions are commonplace. 

Even if by some stroke of luck we are born, there is no respite at bay. Instances of female children being disposed of are nothing out of the ordinary. From drowning in milk to being thrown into wells, this doesn't bode well for the safety of the aforementioned demographic now does it? Infanticide of newborn girls was systematic amongst feudatory Rajputs. The practice of female infanticide was also common among the Kutch, Kehtri, Nagar, Bengal, Miazed, Kalowries in India inhabitants, and also among the Sindh in British India. The practice of killing female infants existed among the Jadejas of Kutch and Kathiawar, Rathore Rajputs of Rajasthan, Rajkumars of Uttar Pradesh and Bengal, Mewatis, a sect of Muslims, whose ancestors were Hindus and among the Lewa Kanbis of Mahikantha in Gujarat. 'Kar'ada inhabitants chiefly of the Konkan region also practised female infanticide.

Very recently,a newborn baby was found dumped in a Mumbai drain. In West Bengal a new-born baby was suffocated to deathand to add fuel to fire, this method is apparently gaining momentum. Even the vulnerable Google auto-complete throws up the phrase "female infanticide" when you just type infanticide; even the algorithm knows what to associate with. That says enough. 

As if just the threat to life was not enough, even the dignity of infants is under threat. Rape cases of three month old babies have become a fact and not fiction.The children are most unsafe in their homes. As per NCRB data, 3,189 minors were raped by known persons.From their own father,brother,grandfather, uncle, cousin or someone else close to the family, a neighbour, theprivate tutor, ateacher at school, apriest or someone random, everyone is a potential predator! Minors are sold in lieu of money and forced into prostitution, whereby they face torture and humiliation. 

If we are lucky and have a family that doesn’t similize us with chattel, provides for education, healthcare, our safety is still not ensured. Jilted lovers or other such avengers holding a grudge for some reason prompt numerous cases ofacid attacks.Then there exist people who are incited by our dressing sense or the way we walk or perhaps just the way we breathe. Cases of sexual abuse, even in cyberspace, andrape are a dozen a dime in India.

Raped and brutally murdered has been a trending headline for a while now. Be it achild or adoctor, everyone somehow manages to incite or excite men into committing such crimes.

Moving on to the next level, the great game of patriarchy aka marriage! We get married (if we don’t that’s a whole another story of societal ridicule), whether willingly or forcefully doesn’t really matter, I mean who cares for our opinion either way? We are still unsafe. Apart from the lurking eyes on the street, even the house we marry into can turn into a danger zone more often than not. Even after years of the legislation being enacted, cases of reported dowry deaths are quite high.Demand for dowry results in domestic violence and ultimately death of women by the hands of the husband or in-laws or in some cases suicide. A woman was found hanging in her South Kolkata residence with a note on her palm stating the hassle for dowry to be the cause. Such cases are not limited to the poor. The elites are here too. A recent case in Kolkata was evidence of the same where a25 year old woman was pushed to the brink of death due to torture. Marital rape has always been an issue but only  recently recognised as such.Incidences that are not reported are more common in cases of domestic violence, marital rape, etc.

Sexual abuse of varying degrees is faced by women in their workplaces, even in transit which are hunting grounds for sexual deviants.

I'm not even going to address the issue of emotional abuse we face either regarding our attire, speech, the company we keep, childbirth, maintaining a work-life balance, or choosing career over marriage. Rather let’s see how even after crossing so many stages of life and to reach old age we still remainunsafe.

It is beyond my understanding how a menatally unstable senior citizen, or a septuagenarian nun , or apatientcould incite rape.

Just when we think this is the end, it’s not. Our suffering doesn’t cease even in death. Our life might have ended but our dignity might still be robbed off us. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution recognises under its ambit that the right of fair treatment and dignity extends to the dead as well. This was held in many cases like Parmanand Katara v Union of India [(1995) 3 SCC 248], Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan v Union of India [(2002) 2 SCC 27], and Ramji Singh and Mujeeb Bhai v State of U.P. & Ors [(2009) 5 Alj 376].It was also  reiterated by the National Human Rights Commission in an advisory published. But still corpses are being sexually violated,after murdering the woman, or in morgues, or after being dug out from graves.

While there are cases where males suffer from many such similar issues, the magnitude of cases is far less. If one half of the population as per societal constructs itself is treated as being beneath animals, there really is not much hope for acceptance of other gender identities.

As I stated in the beginning of this article, an Indian female strives for their dignity as a mere human from before birth till after death. The causes are evidently interlinked pointing towards heteronormativity, misogyny, and patriarchy. This adversely affects the self-esteem and morale of the women, who subsequently do not wish to have daughters to relieve them of the same feat. There is a need for a strong change in the laws and social customs to improve the status of women but it can happen only when men, women, and others stand and fight against minority oppression. Don’t put us on pedestals. Don’t worship us. Just let us be.

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Authored By: Neha Banerjee, student at Snehangshu Kanta Acharya Institute of Law, Kalyani