5 Ways Goverment Sabotages Women's Progress [infographics]
Forms and Guardianship
Lets start with a seemingly ‘minor discrimination’ - Forms. Yes, forms. As you may have noticed, most form ask if you are son of, daughter of or wife of someone. And that someone has to be a male. There is no - ‘are you husband of someone’. NO! It’s always wife of. Although it may have been for documentation purposes, when “house-wives” did not have any other existential proof. However, now everyone has identification such as aadhar cards, voting id, bank accounts, this method is no longer needed. There are marriage licence for census purpose and if still the government for some reason thinks its necessary, why not do it as “husband of” as well? This kind of discrimination may seem minor but it just shows the general thinking of the society and the government. Women should not be seen as daughter of or wife of someone but as an individual. The repercussions of this is not only limited to the humiliation of filling these forms, but also reflects on not only the way society thinks but also, how government makes laws and policies. For example, a father is considered the ‘natural guardian’ of a child, even though in majority cases the custody of a child is given to a mother, because I guess she is the ‘natural parent’? The women, however, is not considered “equal guardian” of the child! So, a field in the form is not just that, it is much more, it is a representative of every way in which the government thinks of women as lesser than males.
Personal Religious Laws
In idea, we have the right to equality, we have unity in diversity but in law we only have diversity. Every religion, has it’s own personal law and each of them is discriminatory to women in their own ways. Recently, equality took a huge victory with the abolishment of triple talak, but there is still a long way to go.
5 Ways Goverment Sabotages Women's Progress
For example, in Hindu inheritance law, a if a women dies and have no husband and children, her property goes to the parents of her husband and not her own parents, in absence of a will. This is applicable even if she was ill treated by her in laws. Contrary to this, women has no right on husbands assets in case of a divorce, so basically, even after years of marriage, a divorced women can be potentially homeless. Similarly, according to Parsi law, a non-Parsi wife or widow cannot inherit. Children of a non-Parsi wife and Parsi husband have the right to the property, however, children of Parsi wife and non-Parsi man have no right to the property. Polygamy (no polyandry by the way) is allowed for Hindus in Goa. Yes, there is no bound to the discriminatory and non-secular policies and laws, in this secular and republic nation.
Child marriage laws
Another gem of the government law, is illegality of child marriage, so to marry a child is wrong but – ta-da – to stay married to a child is NOT illegal. So, unless, someone or the police does not intervene before the nuptials, there is nothing anyone can do about it. The disparity in the legal age of marriage – 18 for women and 21 for men, itself shows the thinking behind law making. Older men should marry young women, isn’t it? So, a 18 year girl cannot marry her boyfriend if she wants, but a 8 year old can stay married to an 80 year old!
Although the laws on rape has been made stringent since the Delhi Gang rape case, the follow through and other laws which render these laws useless, still have strong hold on the constitution of India. One of the examples, was demonstrated in the point above, the rape of a ‘married child’ is not illegal, as the marriage is not illegal once this is done. That shouldn’t matter right? As rape is rape, how does it matter if someone is married or not? Turns out, it matters, marital rape is not recognised in India. Not only that, the rape of separated spouse carries less sentence. This means, if a woman is raped repeatedly for several years in a forced marriage, and somehow finds the strength to file for divorce, and separate from her husband, who then again rapes her, not only the years of torture will not be counted, but also, the subsequent rape will carry less sentence. Where is the justice in that? Outrageous!
Did you know that kumkum, bindi, sindur and semen, yes, semen is exempt from the GST but sanitary napkins have a tax of 12% whereas tampons have a tax of 18%. So I guess every child needs the former but they don’t the latter. The former is basic necessity, as every female needs to be a traditional Hindu wife with kumkum and sindur, and in case her husbands is infertile, she can perform her ‘natural duties’ of being a mother, by buying semen GST FREE! But, a girl has to stop going to school as soon as her period starts , (may be according to patriarchal thinking) to perform her ‘natural duty’ as a mother, at the age of 10. Morever, in the GST council meeting, taxes were reduced from 178 items, this included, a 13% reduction (from 18 to 5%) in Tamarind kernel powder and ‘mehendi paste in cones’, OFFCOURSE! But not women hygene products, which further highlights the mentality behind the law making in this country! Sanitary pads, are the basic necessity of living a civilised life, the overall cost of leading a human life should not be so high, and should not have tax applicable on it. Just imagine sitting in a room with your clothes soaked in blood for days, and you will realise how inhumane these laws are. #taxOnBeingWomen #taxDiscrimination
TLDR: The government may not be actively seeking to sabotage the female population of India, but they have to realise that the laws are archaic and discriminatory, some of them have lost their meaning and some of them are just cruel! These laws and practices needs to be challenged and changed. These laws in combination with the wage gap for the same job, makes sure that women’s saving and hence her quality of life and chance to progress in the world is jeopardize. While some politicians may give vague statements in the support of this equality, the truth of the matter is no action is been taken. The result of this is that even basic necessity such as sanitary napkins and right not to be raped are not available to young girls due to which many of them have to stop going to school and hence are systematically being made into ‘typical docile house wives’, with no prospects and no happiness. Every human being, male, female or others, should have the right to decide, right to prosper and be happy. For that to happen, this outrageous systematic discrimination needs to stop and laws and policies needs to change, NOW!!
#equality #systematicAbuse #crimesAgainstWomen #lawDiscrimination #changeTheGovernance