An arduous struggle for gender harmony

The civil society movements have played a key role in uplifting the issues on women rights and hence, as a result, we are witnessing a change in the representation of women rights at the epicentre of the social and policies. This change has come after centuries of subjugation and oppression of womankind under the yoke of a male-dominated society. The equal rights movement for women is resonating across all spheres from domestics to politics to professional arenas. Though the battle is far from its finish line. Over the year the women leaders have been invigorating the ethos of movement time and time again.

India too has come a long way ahead and has a dedicated ministry for women development. While the universal adult franchise did give equal rights to women but multiple policies and legal frameworks came gradually to support equal rights for women. Every year there is a special focus given in the annual budget for women. In wake of equal rights development across the country, women are now motivated to move out of houses, study and lead into every sphere dominated once by the male.

Especially post LPG (Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization) reforms in India, the western influence on Indian society has grown and women's participation in education, Labour and other sectors have increased significantly. Educated women have become empowered to exercise legal rights for legal remedies. But like every good thing has a dark side, this empowerment is coming at a cost. The laws made to protect the rights of women are being leveraged for malicious intent to conspire against their male counterparts. Above all the media trials (a euphemism for judging accused before judiciary) are major promoters of propaganda's, creating the monster that threatens a male also casting doubts on genuine cases in the legal system.

False Rape Cases

Rape is a heinous crime. No argument on this. While society has become sensitive towards the female, it never recognizes the trauma of male and his family has to go through who are falsely implicated by females. According to a report published by the Delhi Commission for Women in 2014, 53% of cases filed for rape are false (BBC, 2017). Given that Section 376 in IPC is a non-bailable offence, it becomes even more dangerous weapons for females with malicious intent to blackmail or torture male counterparts. One such category, which constitutes a quarter of cases are about falsely obtaining consent on the pretext of marriage (a crime under law).

Male Misery: Will there be a case against a woman who ditched a man and married some other? Does the law provide any provision for a male to charge women for mental harassment and recover the amount spent on a relationship?

Rape with Men

False rape cases are something that is being taken up by a handful of activists but what about rapes with men. It includes both coercing the male into un-consensual intercourse by a female and sodomy by males. Delhi based centre for civil society found in their survey that approximately 18% of Indian men were forced into sex. Out of which 16 per cent perpetrators were women and 2% claimed male perpetrators (Stokes, 2014). While marital rape law for women (a woman-centric law) is being discussed, will it not further vilify the men?

Male Misery: Where does a male rape victim go for help? Neither law nor society takes cognizance albeit might further alleviate his pain by ridiculing him. Do men have consent?

No POSH for Men

POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Work Place) Act needs the hour to promote a diverse and safe organizational culture. But it addresses only the women lodged cases. The act has no provision for male employees to seek justice. Though the organization can frame a gender-neutral policy the central Law only dictates the terms for women to get justice (Khan, 2021). The organizational policy drafted according to the Act cannot be gender-neutral because the Act does not allow it (Sharma, 2020). The women-oriented law can be misused and can potentially jeopardize a person’s professional growth/career.

Male Misery: POSH for the male is a classic joke. How do men live with the trauma, stress of false allegations or being unable to report cases against a female colleague?

Classic Dowry Act

Ask any sane men if the dowry is legal? Most will promptly say illegal. But most of them will ask/take it, giving a lame excuse/rationale. The government protects females against any dowry coercion. Since the enactment of section 498-A (non-bailable) of IPC, many have received justice. Though the injustice at times has been falsely handed to victims. Dowry Prohibition Act could be considered as the mother of all acts that falsely implicate men. The Supreme court had once observed that “anti-dowry harassment laws were being used by disgruntled wives as weapons rather than as shields”(Kalra, 2017). The NCRB data show a low rate of conviction in such cases though this guilty until proven is still debatable (Nair, 2017). Still, it has been observed multiple times by higher courts that the misuse is also in practice.