Post Mortem

From gender equality to gender justice: a long road ahead

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/11/2018 12:12:21 PM IST

 “I measure the progress of community by the degree of progress which women had achieved. Let every girl who marries stand by her husband, claim to be her husband’s friend and equal, and refuse to be his slave. I am sure if you follow this advice, you will bring honour and glory to yourselves.”


Gender Equality has been a talk of the town in every corner of the world. People often argue that most societies have achieved gender equality -women have all the same legal rights as men, and workplace discrimination based on gender is illegal. Despite this, ‘thinkers’ continue to argue that the battle for gender equality is not yet won. Guaranteeing the rights of women and giving them opportunities to reach their full potential is critical not only for attaining gender equality, but also for meeting a wide range of international development goals. Empowered women and girls contribute to the health and productivity of their families, communities, and countries, creating a ripple effect that benefits everyone. Discrimination against women and girls is a pervasive and long-running phenomenon that characterises Indian society at every level which is a sad reality of the moment. India’s progress towards gender equality, measured by its position on rankings such as the Gender Development Index has been disappointing, despite fairly rapid rates of economic growth.  In the past decade, while Indian GDP has grown by around 6.6%, there has been a large decline in female labour force participation from 34% to 27%. The male-female wage gap has been stagnant at 50% (a recent survey finds a 27% gender pay gap in white-collar jobs). Crimes against women show an upward trend, in particular brutal crimes such as rapes which not only stigma, but a gross failure on account of society. 

Man and woman are both equal and both plays a vital role in the creation and development of their families in a particular and the society in general. Indeed, the struggle for legal and political equality has been one of the major concerns of the women’s movement all over the world. In India, since long back, women were considered as an oppressed section of the society and they were neglected for centuries. Male dominated societies have always justified gender inequality by invoking the religious scriptures as evidence.Every religious scripture barring none have given social, political, cultural, religious leverage to man over woman. There has been a narrative that has been traditionally floating to justify innate nature of inequality which emphasise on the fact that man and a woman are born different hence inequality is a gift of creator and mankind has no right to interfere in supreme dictum. However, at this juncture it may be necessary to enlighten the supporters of this narrative. There is no dispute whatsoever regarding the innate biological differences which may also be termed as inequality, however, here the question is of GENDER not SEX. Woman may biologically, by nature be a weaker sex, but not as a Gender. There is a serious difference between Sex and a Gender. Sex is what one is biologically born with and Gender is a set of socially constructed roles and responsibilities imposed on biological sex by the society which it considers appropriate. In this context, simply being born as a Man or a Woman is not sufficient, but one must embrace the visible and invisible rules, regulations, norms, roles, identities assigned to them by the society.Here the term society which is in question is aggregate of all the societies produced by human civilization which over the period of thousands of years turned into ‘sexist’ and ‘male chauvinists’ that started redefining the social status of women from gender-superior to gender-inferior. This is how the great tragedy of Gender Inequality was born and therefore in this very context the Battle for Gender Justice must be understood. 

(To be concluded)

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