In the last decade, the need for a GENDER-NEUTRAL society has been acknowledged. An adjective that can be used to describe both male and female genders, according to the Oxford Dictionary's definition, is "gender neutrality". There is a strong emphasis on the equal treatment of men and women in terms of laws, language, and other social institutions, as well as the elimination of gender discrimination. We envision a society in which equality will be established in its truest sense, and not at the expense of any one gender!
Male biased laws
Oxford Dictionary defines eve-teasing as the making of unwanted sexual remarks or advances by a man to a woman in a public place.
The definition, itself is biased.
The Indian Penal Code (IPC) under section 509 and 294 is intended ONLY towards the woman’s modesty and privacy, sentences a “man” found guilty when he utters any word, makes any sound or gesture or remarks, songs or recitation to a maximum jail sentence of three months.(1),(2)
What about those males or boys who have been the victims of this offence, don’t they have the right to get their female offenders, if any be punished?
As a result of the country's laws, women who bully men have an upper hand and are not punished.
Only the man is charged with adultery.
An extramarital sexual relationship between a husband and another woman(not his wife) or A wife and another man (not his husband), is a criminal offence under IPC but it protects women from adultery-what a biased law!
According to Section 497 of the IPC, it is a punishable offence for a man to have sexual relations with a married woman without her husband's consent. A man who commits such an offence faces imprisonment for five years or more, as well as a fine.
A preconception that only a husband commits cruelty, it can be other way round too.
Section 497A of IPC says- Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.(3)
Are there any laws in India that protects a husband from his wife from this offence?-NO
Men cab be sexually harassed or raped too.
Sexual harassment and rape of men is not protected by Indian law or statute. At most, they can be sodomized under Section 377 (10) of the IPC, which is based on the Buggery Act of 1533, which defines unnatural sex as an “Act against God.” Sodomity means anal or oral intercourse between human beings, or any sexual relations between a human being and an animal, the act of which may be punishable as a criminal offense.
Laws against women
The issue of women's rights is a major issue to be addressed as well. Let's take a look at what laws do men have in their favour. Are women in India protected enough? This question, which cuts through all of the layers of social stratification, is one that has a profound impact.
Age of marriage
Legal marriage age is 21 for men and 18 for women. When it comes to marriage, a wife must always be younger than her husband.
Why can’t the age of women be equal to that of men in a sacred ceremony of marriage or even a wife can’t be elder to his husband? Even lord Ram was 5 years younger to goddess Sita.
Hindu guardianship law
Section 6 of the 1956 Hindu Minority Guardianship Act states that the father is a natural guardian for a Hindu minor boy or unmarried girl. And if the minor is a illegitimate boy or girl the guardianship shifts to his or her mother.
A mother keeps a child in her womb for 9 long months, endures pain but because the law was written with a patriarchal mindset, fathers are still considered to be the natural guardians of their children today still. The law should be simplified so that only the mother is considered a guardian.
An international ranking of 193 countries' percentage of elected women parliamentarians places India 148th.
A bill for Women's Reservation or Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, was introduced on 9 March 2010 and proposes to amend the Indian Constitution to reserve 1/3rd of all seats in the Lower House of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, and in all state legislative assemblies for women, but this bill is still pending.
Apart from this women are treated unequally in various aspects of life be it in public domain or private, a working woman or a housewife. Wage inequality, equal rights under the law to own property and receive equal inheritance rights, but in practice, women are at a disadvantage.
The Sabrimala issue where women of the ages 10 and 50 that is during their menstrual period are disbarred entering the temple and worshipping at Sabrimala despite the Supreme Court’s verdict.
Despite the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and subsequent IPC sections 304B and 498A, which make asking for dowry an offence, there are still 23 dowry deaths every 24 hours in the country today.
Gender biased laws can be seen in educational realm too. Boys get more seats reserved than the girls in fields of engineering, law, doctory, even in army, naval and air forces.
World gender gap index by World Economic Forum of 2021 , lists India at 140th position (slipped 28 places) amongst 156 nations. The report is based on Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. India can soar high only when there are equal laws for every gender!
A person's gender should not be dominant over another's. Equal treatment in the eyes of law as well as society would bring gender-equality and gender-neutrality. Our goal to be able to talk about a gender-equal world in 2030 should be achieved.