In the recent election season, people noticed numerous promises being made by politicians to woo the public. One of the promises which sought attention the most was the promise made by few political parties to give recognition to unpaid work done by women as homemakers. This brings into discussion the very subject which needs special attention for a long time. It is a well – known fact that women’s work as caregivers and homemakers have zero recognition in society. The fact does not just show the gender inequality prevailing in society but also brings to limelight the role and importance of unpaid work. So, the time has come to hold a discussion on this subject and move forward in ensuring equality for everyone in all the terms in society.
In a recent development, the High Court of Gujarat proposed a set of nine-point guidelines to combat the problem of menstrual taboo in India. The bench also sought the opinion of the state and centre on the proposed set of guidelines. This has brought the issue of menstrual hygiene to the centre of discussion. Menstrual taboo and hygiene have been a topic of discussion for a long time in India yet there has been very little progress noticed in this domain. Taboos related to menstruation have multi-dimensional effects on a woman’s life and health. There is a lack of awareness among Indian women regarding menstrual hygiene. Given such a grim situation, it has become important that these issues are taken for discussion and appropriate measures are taken to address these issues.
Recently, the Government of India notified the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 in the wake of growing concern around transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media. The rules aim to regulate social media, digital media, and OTT (Over The Top) platforms. The Rules provide broad powers to the government to regulate and monitor social media intermediaries including online news media. The Rules have been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011. The Rules are considered to be an instrument of a “soft-touch” oversight mechanism. The Part-II of these Rules shall be administered by the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology and Part-III will be administered by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting.
Recently, pop star Rihanna’s tweet turned the global spotlight on internet shutdowns at sites where farmers’ protests were taking place. She and other eminent women who tweeted support to the farmers’ protests later became victims of misogynistic comments from those who were offended by the said tweets. The social media was at its lowest when several critics resorted to slut-shaming, name-calling and glorifying abuse against these women. From this incident, it is evident that, while social media plays a powerful role in enabling women’s voice to be heard, it also fails to curb harmful and toxic contents by its users. Such instances often forcefully silences women users. It is the duty of the government and social media to protect women from such a harmful environment.
In the last few decades, suicide has emerged as one of the common causes of death in India. A large number of people lose their lives every year to suicide in India. Suicide has emerged as a serious public health issue in our country. It leaves a major social, economic and emotional burden on those who are left behind. Hence, it has become important to delve deep into the issue and look into the various aspects related to it.
The pandemic-led health and socio-economic crisis have hit women and girls in a disproportionate fashion, leading to increased feminisation of poverty, domestic work, work burden as well as a spike in domestic violence. At the same time, it has also caused a boost in the feminisation of agriculture, making rural women play a critical role in providing household income. This presents an unmissable opportunity for the economic empowerment of women, which has the potential to remove all structural barriers hampering gender equality within India.
Unbiased interpretation of judiciary of laws passed by the legislature is vital for ensuring sound democracy and inclusive society. Yet, the Indian Judiciary is plagued by patriarchal mindset, with interpretations being regressive and insensitive towards women. In this light, steps need to be taken to inculcate gender sensitivity in the Indian judiciary, so that it treats everyone as equal regardless of differences.
With the coronavirus pandemic roiling across the world, most of the government measures focus on containing the spread of the infection. In this situation, social issues, many of which are gender-related, are given lesser priority. This, along with the lockdown orders, has led to increased instances of violence against women, creating a new “shadow pandemic” amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The Indian handloom industry is one of the oldest and largest cottage industries in India with a standing ancient tradition dating back thousands of years for their excellent craftsmanship, representing the vibrant Indian culture. Indian artisans dating back to the Egyptian Babylonian times had such fine mastery over their fabrics. They were appreciated globally for their hand spinning, weaving and printing techniques that were handed down from generations. Among the largest in the world, this industry employs close to 10 million artisans in India and is considered the second-largest income-generating activity after agriculture in rural India. The crisis caused by COVID-19 has resulted in a sudden disruption of all businesses across the globe including the handloom sector. The sector has severely affected by the closure of the traditional and contemporary market for artisans. Recently, India has celebrated the National Handloom Day and it was on August 7, 2020, for the first time India does so without the All India Handloom Board. The Union Ministry of Textile has abolished the All India Handloom Board in consonance with the Government of India’s vision of ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’ on August 3, 2020.