Throwing light on history, we usually see that both women and girls had formed feminist movements during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries that led to the demand for equality in the three basic spheres i.e., workplace, politics, and education. At the international level, the above rights are supported by various laws, regulations, acts, and customs. However, in other places, they are often ignored or concealed. Despite enormous progress that took place in the field of gender equality, women are still facing discrimination, restrictions in equal participation within the society, extreme forms of violence, and suffrage. Often women’s rights movement had been highlighted in past years, which had forced girls to get married at an early age, trafficked into forced labor, and sex slavery. There is still a barrier for them to pursue education, vote, participate in political activities, and secure jobs. They are consistently paid less, discriminated and underestimated at the workplace. Even if when a woman is pregnant or has given birth to a child they are forced out from their respective work. Across the world, there is the death of women due to pregnancy and other infectious diseases because of a lack of proper medical care. They don’t get the basic right to make decisions for their own private life and are concealed for the rest of their life for taking any decisions that concern themselves.
CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN
Gender-based inequalities have existed for a long time, back when the Covid wasn’t in the scenario and still holds force. Now and then either a woman or a girl is subjected to various crimes even at their homes. The following are some of the crimes that have been reported frequently:
The pandemic crises had led most of the working women and their husbands to stay at home. The shelter which they consider as their homes are now not safe as they are facing domestic violence and sexual assault. Job loss, stress, anxiety for the future, household tensions are some of the reasons which escalate among men and they end up becoming an abuser. This increase in violence had resulted from National Commission for Women to launch a common national WhatsApp number for women out there to file complaints against domestic abuse. It happens at times women try not to report these types of complaints because of some obvious reasons like lack of communication, restriction on their movement, etc. So, from all these situations, we can count that domestic violence is not an inevitable situation that arises out of crises rather we must focus on what measures can be implemented to curtail these situations.
FEMALE FOETICIDE AND INFANTICIDE
The rural population of India still believes in the patriarchal concept and strongly holds the opinion that it is the sole reason behind the merciless killing of innocent female infants. Individuals residing in those areas strongly assume that a girl child is a burden on the family and is solely capable of engaging in household chores. Due to these consistent myths, a girl child often becomes an easy target even before they are born. The above baseless beliefs still hold force in certain parts of the country but after 1994, the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, the practice of determining sex before the birth of the child became illegal. Declaring something as illegal doesn’t reflect that the practice has completely been eliminated meaning it still exists. Due to the lack of effective laws and checks in the hospital’s discriminations of similar nature persist. However, the list isn’t exhaustive and the presence of various crimes like sex slavery, women trafficking, etc. has increased during the pandemic.
WOMEN’S RIGHT TO EDUCATION
The right to education mentioned under Article 21 (A) between 6-14 years of age in our country recognises women’s education both as a fundamental and human right as per the global standards. Different institutes, government agencies as well as administrative bodies are constantly trying to eliminate illiteracy thereby ensuring equal access to education and successfully fill the gaps so that similar levels of education could be ensured to women and girls. However, the pandemic and lockdown had provided a new set of challenges that needs immediate attention. The nationwide lockdown had prevented rural schools to open and at the same time to pursue education for women. Most of these women and girls in rural India are restricted to pursue education due to their family restrictions and local authorities over there try to facilitate some arrangements for these women and girls so that they can at least pursue some basic education. But lockdown had resulted in the closure of these schools and colleges preventing them to learn. People with various electronic devices can attend online classes but here girls don’t have many such devices which makes it even more difficult for them. And in the case of girls, they would be forced to do household chores and in some cases can lead to child marriage which is more prominent in rural India. So, solutions to this can be that the government can provide smartphones for them through which they can attend classes. They also provide online classes on television on a specific channel so that there is no interruption to learn. This can a little cost-effective as there won’t be any expenditure to provide smartphones. As this is not an exhaustive list of the measures which could be taken but the government should be more prominent to create solutions so that the future of women and girls in India can be secured.
With the concept of human rights, the rights of a child have been frequently ratified. At the international level, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has defined the above term as minimum entitlement and freedom that ensures every citizen below 18 years of age regardless of their origin, race, gender, religion, disability, and other characteristics. The UNCRC frameworks some of the central humanoid rights that must be ensured to children thereby covering civil, political, economic, and cultural rights.
A landmark that was formulated by the international human rights legislation; the ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’ has been instrumentally on various subjects of global and national importance. Additionally, mobilized actions have called for worldwide realization in child rights and development.
THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
John Amos Comenius had projected, “all persons should be educated, so we could have peace in the world”. Futurists of the creation have guaranteed every person their rights being qualified for the right to education. The Parliament of India had represented the Right of every child to Free and Compulsory Education or the enactment of the Right to Education Act in August 2009 subsequently was enforced on 1st April 2010. The above cat ensures education that is recognized as the fundamental right of every child between the age group of 6-14 years. Smile Foundation has engaged in ensuring similar educational levels for children coming from marginalized areas in rural and urban communities operating in our country.
THE EXISTING SCENARIO OF CHILD TRAFFICKING
Children account for about 27% of human trafficking statistics in worldwide standards, and two out of all victims are recognized as girls. They are mostly trafficked for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation held in slave-like conditions without sufficient foods, shelter, and clothing as a result of which they are brutally mistreated and segregated from their interactions. These innocent beings are trafficked for sexual exploitation or for labor purposes that include domestic servants, services related to agriculture, factory works, and mining. The existence of child trafficking has been interlinked with worthwhile criminal practices and corruption which is hard to estimate as to the number of children already suffering, but trafficking and exploitation that has been increasing at a higher rate. As per global standards, 426 million children have been residing in conflict zones, in the current times with nearly one-fifth of the children.
South Bihar has been identified being the hotspot when it comes to child trafficking, with few organizations that have been working to fight for those children who have been sold as mere slaves or are compelled to work under adversative consequences up to 18 hours a day. Rescue Junction has been at the forefront when the demand comes to tacking of such problems that helps rescue 130 children at a time, from Bangle making factories. However, extra help is still the need to the hour to ensure the kids never return to child labor by addressing the right support and help with education.
Name of the Author and Co-Author: Priyadarshini Goenka and Bhagyashree Behera
Year of Study of the Author and Co-Author- 2nd year
College/University of the Author and Co-Author- National Law University, College (NLUO)