“Human rights are women rights and women rights are human rights, for once and for all”
Hillary Clinton rightly said that all women deserve being treated equally, just like other humans. Imagine what world one would be living in, where acknowledging women equal to other humans becomes a necessity.
Being a woman is hard and existing in Indian society as a woman is a whole different level of hardship. It’s not that women in other parts of the world are treated any better, but India being one the most unsafe countries for women, clearly treats its women worse.
What is sadder is that even after several revolutions, protests and victories, most women here are not privileged enough to be educated about it. More than 40% of women of this country don’t even know the meaning of word ‘empowerment’, practising it is a far cry!
Indian society is harsh on women, but the law has evolved and started treating them with dignity. The women of this country have been pitching their voices high for equality, and after a lot of struggles, the court finally started listening to them. The Indian Constitution has made various amends in favour of women right and laws. These laws have been amended on the grounds of gender equality, exclusively for women. Here’s the list of rights every Indian woman holds and deserves to know about:
Right to equal pay
Equal pay is one of the most controversial and most discussed topics ever. While in most of the industries, women are still struggling to get equivalent salary as men, according to the provisions listed under the Equal Remuneration Act, one cannot be discriminated based on sex when it comes to salary, pay or wage. Working women have all the rights to draw an equal wage, as compared to men.
Right to Dignity and Decency
If in a crime of situation where the accused is a woman, any medical procedure on her must be performed on her by, or in the presence of, another woman.
Right against workplace harassment
Women have the right to file a complaint against any sexual harassment.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at a workplace act give women the authority to submit a written complaint to an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) within a period of three months.
Right to Anonymity
Under no circumstances, the identity of a rape victim can be revealed.
Neither the police nor media can reveal the name of the victim in public. Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code states that the disclosure of the victim’s identity is a punishable offence. Women also have to right to privacy while filing a harassment complaint. The statement could be recorded alone or in the presence of just one female police officer.
Right to Free Legal Aid
Under the Legal Services Authorities Act, female rape victims have all the rights to get free legal aid. She can seek help from the Legal Services Authority, who is obliged to arrange a lawyer for her.
Right to not get arrested at night
Unless the case is exceptional, on the orders of a first-class magistrate, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset or before sunrise. If the police force her, she has the right to file a complaint against the police, which can cost them their job.
Right to register virtual complaints
The Indian Penal Code gives women the provision for filing complaints via e-mail, or penning down her complaint and sending it to a police station from a registered postal address. On receiving the complaint, the SHO sends a police constable to her place to record her complaint.
This is in case a woman is not in a position to physically go to the police station.
Right Against Indecent Representation
According to IPC, it is a punishable offence to represent a woman’s figure or any body part in indecent, derogatory, or is likely to ruin, corrupt, or disrupt morals.
Right Against Being Stalked
In an offender follows a woman, tries to contact her to foster personal interaction despite a definite no, or tries to repeatedly contact her through the internet, e-mail or any other form of electronic communication, the woman can take legal action against him/her.
Right to no arrest
Several instances have been filed of women being harassed by policemen in the wee hours or during interrogation. The Supreme court clearly rules against this. Under section 160 of the women cannot be called to the police station for interrogation, and she has the right to deny being physically present there.
Right to inherit property
According to section 6 of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005, the daughter has equal right in the property of her parents, as the son. Although, if there’s a will by the parents where a specific name is mentioned, then she is not entitled to do the same. Women also have the right to shelter in their parent’s house if they are divorced or deserted.
Women have a right to Zero FIR
An FIR that can be filed at any police station irrespective of the location where the incident occurred or a specific jurisdiction it comes under, the Zero FIR can later be moved to the Police Station under whose jurisdiction the case falls.
This ruling was passed by the Supreme Court to save the victim’s time and prevent an offender from getting away scot-free.