“You’re a girl” is probably a phrase a girl will spend listening to at each stage of their life if they are born in India. At times, they will be denied basic resources or sometimes presumed to settle for less. They could be stopped by societal barriers or forced to do something against their will.
On the bright side, the girl child has access to certain rights that can be used in any violation or even in general. However, due to low literacy rates and lack of awareness, many women aren’t aware of the rights that they can freely exercise. Some rights are applicable to use after 18, but they need to be known since childhood.
Before 200 BC, Manusmriti presented the Hindu Culture with ideas about a level-downed female’s position in society. In 350 BC, without any biological, physical or psychological aspect, Aristotle claimed that women are inferior to men. Poisonous statements like such made in the past still have great significance and are blindly followed.
The satirical remark “You’re a girl” can often make children question their role in modern-day society. It’s important to know that times are changing and the vulnerable feeling because of oppression in the bygone can be overcome.
Being constantly pinpointed for being a specific sex can truly condition one’s mind to feel how society wants one to feel. A girl will be under the expectations of others to stay within the realm or to stay restricted. To remedy this, rights binding by law are provided to the girl-child. These laws make sure that their expectations of a dignified life are matched.
The human rights laid down by the Convention on the Rights of the Child are universal. These are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.
India is undeniably the cradle of gruesome crimes against the girl child. Sometimes, on finding the sex of the unborn baby, parents go in for sex-selective abortion. Female infanticide is widely spread and statistics say that 4.6 crore women are “missing” in India due to the same.
Rape is one of the most common crimes in India. Females are bombarded with pains ranging from mental to physical. There are strains in married life as well. To guard women, the Indian Constitution enables them to proceed to court if facing any toil and trouble.
Girls brought up in stereotypical households/backward areas assume their fate to be whatever society throws at them. Certain struggles resemble a fly in the ointment but are punishable by law; hence, being consciously enlightened about your rights is crucial.
Every person has a tolerance level, but the prolonged tyranny has made females accept themselves as “shock-absorbing”. This isn’t right; accumulated distress leads to unstable well-being.
Girls must be acquainted with human rights since these belong to all, are protected by law and apply everywhere — exclusive rights aid in bringing justice.
The rights are to be used when violated, mistreated or turned down. In today’s time, girls are prone to forceful marriage before the legal age, domestic violence, sexual abuse, prostitution without consent, illiteracy, sanitation problems, income disparity, etc. In case of such circumstances, girls can stand up for themselves.
Sometimes you’re aware of the rights but don’t know where to go in case of a violation or breach. The Human Rights Commission is all ears to you when you witness any contradiction related to your human right. Apart from this, you can join various organisations, local groups or contact your politicians. To muster support, one can resort to the media. Nevertheless, a lawsuit can be filed.
On conducting an Instagram poll, I found that 390 womxn and men (74% of the total participants) believe that there is less information about rights. Parents and teachers need to know that to ensure an empowering lifestyle for the girl child; it is important to be aware of rights.
Instead of hushing your child when they speak up, you should support them. It’s the Indian mentality to zip the lips of a female victim to be spared from society’s judgemental eyes, but this only weakens the idea of equality. Since schools are knowledge imparting institutions, legal trends shouldn’t just be taught to the ones who opt for them; it must be mandatory in the curriculum.
Being a girl child isn’t something to feel unlucky about. If there are crimes, then there are crime-fighting mechanisms too.
By Manya Arora