Since childhood, women are programmed with certain rules that require them to dress up in a certain manner, stay indoors at night, not work till late and many more. Almost every woman in India has been through such situations where they have felt intimidated by men passing by or standing around.
Now even though women have become aware and are empowered to walk out of home, take risks, work to earn, they still need a support to make them strong enough to face the world. In fact, most women in India
are not even aware of their own rights.
Law student Bhimika Goyal says, “I believe if every woman in India becomes well informed about her rights, there will be equality and balance in the society,” adding, “Before starting college I was not aware of many rights for women in India but after I studied them all in detail I feel empowered.”
Below are 10 rights every Indian woman should know:
Right to equal pay:
It is a challenge for an individual to find a job and for a woman it becomes harder to find one with a favourable work environment and equal wage rate. Indian women have a right to equal pay. It is one of the rights every Indian woman should know. According to provisions under the Equal Remuneration Act, one cannot be discriminated on the basis of sex when it comes to salary or wages.
Right against harassment at work:
Of all the important rights every Indian woman should know, right against harassment at work is most important, especially, if you are a working woman. Next time, you face any issue in your office related to harassment you should know that you have the right to take it up formally. The enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act gives one the right to file a complaint against sexual harassment at workplace.
Right to anonymity:
Women in Indian society are ‘supposed’ to maintain the reputation of a family, which is why most of women choose to not file a complaint. Under one of the most important rights Indian woman should know, right to anonymity is very vital, especially to those who are victims of sexual assault. To ensure that her privacy is protected, a woman who has been sexually assaulted can record her statement alone before the district magistrate when the case is under trial, or in the presence of a female police officer.
Right against domestic violence:
Women in India are told to keep family issues a secret even when they are physically harmed behind closed doors. For such situations there is a right against domestic violence. The act primarily looks to protect a wife, a female live-in partner or a woman living in a household like a mother or a sister from domestic violence at the hands of a husband, male live-in partner or relatives. She or anybody on her behalf can file a complaint.
Right to get maternity benefits:
Maternity benefits are not merely a privilege of working woman, they are a right. The Maternity Benefit Act ensures that a new mother does not suffer any loss of earnings following a period of twelve weeks after her delivery, allowing her to rejoin the workforce.
Right against female foeticide:
It is a duty imposed on every citizen of India to allow a woman to experience the most basic of all rights — right to life. The Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT) ensures her right against female foeticide.
Right to free legal aid:
Another one of the most helpful and important rights every Indian women should know, the right to free legal aid covers victims of sexual assault. All female rape victims have the right to free legal aid, under the Legal Services Authorities Act. It is mandatory for the Station House Officer (SHO) to inform the Legal Services Authority, who arranges for the lawyer.
Right not to be arrested at night:
The right not to be arrested at night is another one of the important rights that every Indian woman should know. Under the right not to be arrested at night, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise, except in an exceptional case on the orders of a first class magistrate.
Right to dignity and decency:
Right to dignity and decency in the event that an accused is a woman, any medical examination procedure on her is to be performed by or in the presence of another woman.
Equal share in inheritance:
The Hindu Succession Act allows women and men equal share in inheritance, thereby setting new rules and regulations. Punjab and Haryana High Court Advocate Sonia Kanda says, “Right of Choice is a conventional up thrust for women to choose their path with dignity surpassing the narrow lanes of demeaning fundamentalists.”
“When the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8 this year, make sure that at least one woman around you becomes aware of her rights.” she added.