In this patriarchal society, where sexual harassment and character assassination of a woman is normalised by masses, it is to be questioned whether a woman still has dignity and respect in this society. Women have been oppressed and met with severe social inequalities right from their birth till death. Be it female infanticide, education, harassment, freedom, dowry, jobs or being subdued.
Article 15 (3) provides special provision for women, which brought legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, Criminal Amendment Act. Yet, we lag in terms of ensuring their safety. Vishakha guidelines by the Supreme Court introduced in 1997 talk about woman’s safety at workplace, yet, many sectors disregard. A law doesn’t bring social change until and unless society acts on it.
The male dominating society has always reduced a woman to a mother, daughter, sister, wife, or any other secondary title that is supposed to serve man in some or the other form. Her character has always been overshadowed by her intellect, designation and presence on a public platform. It is to be understood that a concept of inferiority complex always revolves around male superiority.
Even literature showcases ‘he’ as a common pronoun, reflecting upon male superiority. The privacy and consent of women have always been taken for granted by male patriarchs. Women have been treated as property and an object just to fulfil the terms laid down by men. A woman’s sexuality, job, or freedom to express have always been considered a taboo in the society.
The birth of a girl child is treated differently as opposed to a boy child. The latter reflects privilege in every condition, while the former is met with unreasonable restrictions. Even after marriage, a woman has to sacrifice her home, title, job, comfort, and freedom; rather, the marriage institution celebrates and considers the purity of a woman.
Let her choose what role she wants to play in society. Patriarchy will not define what she is supposed to be. If we talk about equality and a libertarian approach, then let her come with her own idea of an egalitarian concept — a society free from biases, dowry, sexual harassment, representation in public spaces, and encourages questioning of anti-women customary practices, and freedom to express her body, choice and sexuality.
As in the words of Martha Albertson, “A man fears a woman’s liberation because he fears his superiority.”
About the author: Abhilash Sapre is Assistant Professor of Law at Kalinga University, Raipur.