Reading Time: 7 mins In an important step towards granting women the right to serve in the military on equal terms with men, the apex court had recently granted women officers the right to “permanent commission” and the right to command. This order brought women officers in 10 streams of the army on a par with their male counterparts. This case was first filed in the Delhi High Court by women officers in 2003 and had received a favourable order in 2010. However, the order was never implemented and was challenged in the Supreme Court by the government. The recent order by the supreme court opens the doors for women to command military units like logistics, signals, etc., thus placing them in the position of leading bodies of 500-600 men in combat support duties. This ruling is hailed as a “great leap” towards equality in the army.
Reading Time: 7 mins The union cabinet recently approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The move is expected to liberalise the practice of abortion and is long overdue. The move has been called for by many women’s rights groups and even the Supreme Court. The move is also significant as liberal abortion laws have been linked with a decline in unsafe abortions and abortion rates in general.
Reading Time: 6 mins According to the recently released Sample Registration System (SRS), India’s Maternal Mortality Ratio has declined from 130 per 1 lakh live births in 2014-16 to 122 per 1 lakh live births in 2015-17. This is of significance as it means that about 2,000 maternal deaths have been prevented each year. This may be due to the improving accessibility and affordability to healthcare and also due to increasing awareness about the benefits of the public health system.
Reading Time: 6 mins Many efforts taken by the Indian government and various other organisations in recent years are not addressing the problem of the startling decline in India’s sex ratio since 2011. Many are alarmed that it would be reflected in India’s child sex ratio in the 2021 Census report.
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According to the latest statistics, about 25% of the Indian population belongs to the rural poor. Women make up one-third of the Indian labour force. However, social constraints have prevented them from having access to and making use of the available resources that may help them improve their living conditions. Self Help Group is seen by many as the catalyst for rural development, women and social empowerment. Its importance in the Indian economy is seen through many success stories like production of 13 different bioagents to support organic farming by Sabari Swasraya Sanghom of Nellarachal tribal hamlet, Kudumbashree SHG, etc. They are not only inspirational but also the obvious solutions to the existing socio-economic problems of India.
Reading Time: 7 mins The gang-rape of a veterinary doctor whose body was set ablaze and dumped under a bridge has sent shockwaves through India, with hundreds of women taking to the street in protest. Less than 24 hours of this incident, another charred body of a 35-year old woman was found in the same area. The gruesome nature of this crime has brought back the chilling memories of the Nirbhaya incident that took place in Delhi in December 2012. People from all walks of life have come together to demand capital punishment for the accused.
Reading Time: 6 mins Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple issue is about the conflict between women rights and tradition. According to age-old traditions and customs, women from ten to fifty years of age were not permitted into Sabarimala Temple. However, the situation has changed when the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court on September 28, 2018, declared that restricting entry of women of menstruating age was unconstitutional. Thus the SC allowed women, irrespective of their age, to enter Sabarimala temple.
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Women, who were long considered to be the “weak sex”, in recent times, have made far-reaching achievements in almost all walks of life. However, India, despite having had a woman prime minister, chief ministers, and president, does not show any remarkable progress in the political and social empowerment of women.
The idea of women empowerment seems to have lost the vigour it had enjoyed during the time of freedom movement when Mahatma Gandhi mobilized as many women as men during the freedom struggle.
Nowadays, there is a need for special political interventions for the inclusion of equal representation of women in Indian politics as even the prominent female political representatives are feeling marginalised within their respective parties.
Many women politicians in the electoral and party politics are an ineffective minority within their political parties while the male politicians dominate the functioning of the political party.
Therefore, political interventions like Women’s Reservation Bill are a need of the hour to address the social shackles that are suppressing the equal representation of women in Indian society.