Women`s Rights in India

What is Women’s Right?

The rights and privileges claimed by women and girls around the world are known as women’s rights. These were the foundation for the 19th-century women’s rights movement as well as the feminist movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. These rights are institutionalized or reinforced by legislation, local custom, and conduct in certain countries, but they are ignored and suppressed in others. These diverge from broader concepts of human rights in which they allege an underlying historical and traditional prejudice against women and girls exercising their rights in favor of males and boys. 

The right to bodily integrity and autonomy, to be free from sexual violence, to vote, to hold public office, to enter into legal contracts, to have equal rights in family law, to work, to fair wages or equal pay, to have reproductive rights, to own property, and to education are all issues commonly associated with notions of women’s rights.

Women’s legal rights include being educated.

Many women, particularly in underdeveloped countries, lack legal knowledge, which is a major impediment to improving their condition. International organizations such as the United Nations have said that nations’ obligations include not just establishing necessary legislation, but also alerting women about the existence of such legislation so that they can seek justice and put their rights into practice. As a result, states must publicize the laws and clearly explain them to the public in order to prevent ignorance or misconceptions about the rules based on popular myths.

“Women must know their rights and be able to access legal systems,” according to the United Nations Development Program, and the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states in Art. 4 (d)  “States should also inform women of their rights in seeking redress through such mechanisms.”


Women’s rights movements aim to eliminate gender inequality. The definition of discrimination is crucial in this regard. According to the ECHR’s jurisprudence, the right to be free from discrimination encompasses not only the need of governments to treat people in similar situations in the same way, but also the obligation to treat people in different situations in different ways. [182] Equity, not just “equality,” is critical in this aspect. As a result, states must occasionally make distinctions between men and women, such as by providing maternity leave or other legal protections related to pregnancy and delivery (to account for the biological realities of reproduction), or by honoring a unique historical context, ie. acts of violence by men against women. By providing maternity leave or other legal safeguards during pregnancy and childbirth (to account for the biological facts of reproduction. Acts of violence perpetrated by men against women, for example, do not occur in a vacuum, but are part of a larger societal context: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) defined violence against women as a form of discrimination against women in Opus v Turkey; this is also the position of the Istanbul Convention, which states in Article 3 that “violence against women” is a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women.

There are various points of view on when it is appropriate to distinguish between men and women, and one view is that sexual intercourse is an act in which this distinction must be acknowledged, both because of the increased physical risks for women and because of the historical context of women being systematically subjected to forced sexual intercourse while in a socially subordinated position (particularly within marriage and during war).

It can also happen when services that are exclusively needed by specific groups, such as women, are denied.” Discrimination can occur when governments refuse to accept women’s unique needs, such as the need for a large state investment in lowering maternal mortality. In this case, treating men and women equally does not work since certain biological characteristics, such as menstruation, pregnancy, labor, childbirth, breastfeeding, and certain medical disorders, are only experienced by women. In its general recommendation on gender-based violence against women, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women updates General recommendation No. 19 by stating, “Examine gender neutral laws and policies to ensure that they do not create or perpetuate existing inequalities, and repeal or modify them if they do.”  [18 Another example of a gender-neutral policy that damages women is when medication that has only been tried on men in medical trials is likewise used on women, presuming that biological distinctions do not exist.

Health is a human right.

Maternal death rate per 100,000 live births in the world (2010) is defined by the World Health Organization as “a condition of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, rather than the absence of sickness or disability. In some regions of the world, women’s health is badly harmed by issues such as inequality, confinement of women to the home, medical workers’ indifference, women’s lack of autonomy, and women’s lack of financial resources. Discrimination against women can also take the form of denying women access to medical treatments.  Violations of a woman’s right to health can lead to maternal death, which accounts for over 300,000 deaths per year, the majority of which occur in underdeveloped nations.  Traditional practices like female genital mutilation have an impact on women’s health. Young women and adolescent girls are the population most afflicted by HIV/AIDS around the world.

Education is a basic human right

The right to education is a fundamental human right. Discrimination in education is prohibited under the Convention Against Discrimination in Education, which defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, limitation, or preference based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic condition, or birth, with the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing equality of treatment in education.”

“The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social, and cultural rights set forth in the present Covenant,” according to Article 3 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, while Article 13 recognizes “the right of everyone to education.” 

In some regions of the world, women’s access to education is still limited. Women account for over two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults. While women’s right to academic education is widely accepted, it is becoming increasingly clear that academic education must be combined with education on human rights, non-discrimination, ethics, and gender equality if societal growth is to be achieved.

Reproductive Right’s

Legal Right:

The right to legal or safe abortion, the right to control one’s reproductive functions, the right to access quality reproductive healthcare, and the right to education and access in order to make reproductive choices free of coercion, discrimination, and violence are all examples of reproductive rights. Education regarding contraception and sexually transmitted illnesses can also be considered reproductive rights.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), as well as forced abortion and sterilization, are frequently included in the definition of reproductive rights.  Article 38 – Female genital mutilation – and Article 39 – Forced abortion and forced sterilization – of the Istanbul Convention acknowledge these two rights. 

Reproductive rights apply to both men and women; however they are most commonly promoted as women’s rights. Reproductive rights campaigners pushed women’s right to bodily autonomy in the 1960s, and these social movements led to the legalization of contraception and abortion in many nations during the next few decades.

Birth control

Margaret Sanger’s 1919 Birth Control Review featured on the cover. In response to the question, “How do we modify the law?” “…women beg in vain for contraceptive education,” Sanger wrote. Physicians are eager to conduct abortions when they are deemed necessary, but they refuse to recommend the use of preventative measures that might eliminate the need for abortions… “I can’t do it because the law forbids it.”

Birth control was promoted in the early twentieth century as an alternative to the then-popular words “family limitation” and “voluntary motherhood.”


A pink pig is shown on the black background.

Women’s reproductive rights may be understood as including the right to easy access to a safe and legal abortion.

“Abortion is a highly sensitive subject that excites firmly held opinions,” Human Rights Watch said. Equal access to safe abortion services, on the other hand, is first and foremost a human right. No one is forced to undergo an abortion where it is safe and legal. Women are obliged to carry unwanted pregnancies to term in countries where abortion is illegal and dangerous, or face catastrophic health repercussions, including death.

Unsafe abortion is responsible for approximately 13% of maternal mortality worldwide—between 68,000 and 78,000 deaths each year. The denial of a pregnant woman’s right to make an independent decision about abortion breaches or threatens a wide range of human rights,” according to Human Rights.


In conclusion, women can be powerful actors for peace, security, and prosperity. When they participate in peace processes and other formal decision-making process, they can play an important role in initiating and inspiring progress on human rights, justice, national reconciliation and economic revitalization.

Sarojini Barik

Master in Social work with 1st division