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Constitutional Provision for Gender Equality: Must Know Facts

- Ananya Karnwal, National Law University, Odisha

What is the initial thought that hits us when we hear the word ‘gender parity’? A Parallel approach towards both women and men? It is acceptable. Gender parity implies that distinct aspirations, needs and behaviours of men and women are valued, favoured and considered justly. It does not mean that they both will become identical, but that their duties, opportunities and rights won\'t rely on if they were born female or male.All United Nations Member States adopted it as one of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 as a global effort towards ending poverty, ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity and protecting the planet by 2030.[1]

While the world has accomplished improvement heading forwomen’s empowerment and gender parity, girls and women persist to undergo injustice and cruelty throughout the world. India has some of the highest rates of birth discrimination with respect to sex.The startling ratio of 918 girls to 1,000 boys according to Census (2011) prompted the Central Government to deliver the \'BetiBachao, Beti Padhao\'[2] initiative to administer the girl child with security, health and education.[3]Throughout every point of their life, women face gender inequality. Hence, the Indian Constitution provides for provisions to combat Gender Inequality. 

The Indian Constitution enshrines the proposition of gender parity in its Directive Principles, Fundamental Duties, the Preamble, and Fundamental Rights.Not just does the Indian Constitution guarantee women equal rights, but it also authorizes the Centre to take effective inequity actions in support of women. Our laws, growth approach, schemes and initiatives have been aimed at benefitting women in various areas within the context of an egalitarian polity. The Central Government has also endorsed plentiful international treaties and agreements on human rights, dedicated to ensuring equal protection for women. But very few people are aware of these provisions. It is very necessary for everyone to know their rights and remedies in case of violation of the same, especially for those who are exploited.

In this article we will examine the provisions that the Indian Constitution provides to combat gender inequality. The constitutional provisions are the following:

Article 14- It mandates the State to not refuse to any individual,parity before the law or the impartial safeguard of the laws within the country of India. The "equality before the law" process discovers a spot in all penned documents that ensures universal rights that all people, regardless of birth, ethnicity, gender or race, are alike before the law.“Equal protection of laws” means impartial safeguard of laws for every individual within the region of India.

Article 15(1)-It mandates the State to not segregate towards any person on the sole basis of sex, ethnicity, race, nationality, caste, or any of them.

Article 15(3)-It mandates the State to prepare some special arrangement to benefit children and women.So, it declares that even though the state won’t segregate anybody, they can make exclusive provisions just for children and women for securing their stakes. At the other hand, Article 15(3) supports discussions at promoting women and children by laws such as Children\'s Sexual Harassment Act, the Domestic Violence Act, Workplace Harassment Law, Sexual Abuse Legislation (Nirbhaya Act), the Amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, and so on. This also tackles restrictions on wife\'s allowance, marital rape, Food Protection Bill restrictions, etc.

Article 16-It mandates equal opportunity for all in events concerned to education or allotment to any office within the State for all people. Article 16(1) and (2) lay down guidelines concerning equal opportunities for public-sector jobs.Nevertheless, it is specified in Article 16, Clause 3, that the said article shall nowhere preclude Parliament from passing any legislation establishing any provision of residency within that State or territory of the Union to people appointed to any office within that State, prior to recruitment or allotment to any office within that State. Article 16(4) of the Indian Constitution requires that facilities be reserved for the benefit of the deprived class of people within the State.

Article 39(a)- It mandates the State to aim its approach against equally reserving the right to a decent medium of living for men and women.

Article 39(d)- It mandates the State to ensure equal wages for men and women for equal work. Our Constitution does not expressly recognize the \'fair pay for fair work\' principle a civil right, but definitely, it is a constitutional goal. According to it, the provision of the Directive declaring "fair pay for equal work" implies same wages for both genders for equal work for each and as between the sexes.

Article 39A- Promoting justice, on an equal opportunity basis and offering free legal assistance by effective law or scheme or in some other way to assure that favourable circumstances for accessing justice are not denied to any person due to monetary or other limitations.

Article 42- It mandates the State to provide for the arrangement of fair and reasonable working conditions and maternity assistance.

Article 46- It mandates the State to publicize the academic and monetary concerns of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes.It also guides the State to publicize with great effort, the academic and monetary concerns of the backward classes of the population, and in great of the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes, and must preserve them against societal maltreatment and all aspects of oppression.

Article 47- The State will improve the people\'s degree of living conditions and nutrition. It defines the Government\'s primary responsibilities, which is the most critical item for social change purposes. It applies to health care, the aged, enhancing job standards, safeguarding justice raises the duties of the Government.

Article 51(A)(e)- Promoting solidarity and the nature of mutual friendship among all the country\'s people, and disavowing acts defamatory to women\'s dignity.

Article 243 D(3)- More than or equal to one-third (including those of the number of seats reserved for women who belong to the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes) of the maximum number of seats to be held by open voting in each Panchayat to be reserved for women and to be allocation such seats to be done by succession to separate constituencies within a Panchayat.

Article 243 D(4)- More than or equivalent to one-third of the total number of jobs to be reserved for women for Administrators for each tier in the Panchayats.

Article 243 T(3)-  More than or equal to one-third (inclusive of the proportion of seats reserved for women who belong to the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes) of the maximum number of seats to be held by open voting in each municipality to be reserved for women and allocated by succession to separate constituencies in a municipality for these seats.

Article 243 T(4)- The allocation of administrator posts for Scheduled Tribes, Women and Scheduled Castes in Municipalities in a way that a house of a State can provide by statute.[4]

Gender equality these days seems like a distant sight. While progress has been made, there is a worrying story in numbers from groups like UN Women. More than 2 billion women lack the same work opportunities as men. It would take approximately a century to close the global pay gap at the current rate. Although sex trafficking affects men and women, women and girls make up over 70 per cent of the victims of trafficking of human beings worldwide.[5] Gender equality needs to be a priority in the face of that data. Women, if given equal opportunity, can play a major role in enhancing a country’s overall development.


[1] ‘Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ <>accessed 8 April 2020.
[2] ‘BetiBachao, BetiPadhao: Caring for the Girl Child’ <> accessed 12 April 2020.
[3] ‘Sex Ratio in India’ <> accessed 8 April 2020.
[4] The Constitution of India, 1950.
[5] ’10 Facts about Human Trafficking’ <> accessed 14 April 2020.