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Legal Status of Women In India

According to the Indian constitution, Women’s are legal citizens of our country. And have equal rights comparing to men’s. Various aspects related with women can be identified in India, Women are responsible for baring children, yet they are malnourished and in poor health. Most Indian women are uneducated. Although the country’s constitution says women have equal status to men. The women of the household are required to take care of household works and handle the daily activities restricted to home.

This creates a major problem with malnutrition, especially at the time of pregnancy or nursing women. Very few women seek medical care while pregnant because it is thought of as a temporary condition.

This is one main reason why India’s maternal and infant mortality rates are so high. Starting from birth, girls do not receive as much care and commitment from their parents and society as a boy is getting. Even rights of education are provided by constitution of India only about 39 percent of all women in India actually attend primary schools. So even though education does not financially burden the family, it costs them the time she spends at school when she could be doing household work.

Constitutional and Legal Provisions for Women in India
The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, Plans and programmed have aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres.

India has also ratified various international conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights of women. Key among them is the ratification of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1993.

Constitutional Provisions

The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women for neutralizing the cumulative social economic, education and political disadvantages faced by them. Fundamental Rights, among others, ensure equality before the law and equal protection of law; prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and guarantee equality of opportunity to all citizens in matters relating to employment. Articles 14, 15, 15(3), 16, 39(a), 39(b), 39(c) and 42 of the Constitution are of specific importance in this regard.

Constitutional Privileges

  1. Equality before law for women (Article 14)
  2. The State not to discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them (Article 15 (i))
  3. The State to make any special provision in favour of women and children (Article 15 (3)
  4. Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State (Article 16)
  5. The State to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood (Article 39(a)); and equal pay for equal work for both men and women (Article 39(d))
  6. To promote justice, on a basis of equal opportunity and to provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or scheme or in any other way to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities (Article 39 A)
  7. The State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief (Article 42)
  8. The State to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46)
  9. The State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people (Article 47)
  10. To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e)
  11. Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat (Article 243 D(3)
  12. Not less than one- third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayat at each level to be reserved for women (Article 243 D (4).
  13. Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Municipality to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality (Article 243 T (3)
  14. Reservation of offices of Chairpersons in Municipalities for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the legislature of a State may by law provide (Article 243).

Though the constitution has provided equality in major aspects for the man and women, effect of globalization and industrialization affected women’s status adversely demand extra protection for them. This research work motivates writer for writing this sequel of articles related with legal status of women in India.


  • Indian penal code 1860
  • Constitution of India
  • Malik’s administration law
  • Protection of women’s from domestic violence act 2005

Written By: By- Adv.Yashavant S.Patil. LLM Sem. III (CSMU, Navi Mumbai)

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