Every year, on International Women’s Day (Mar 8), we keep flooding our social media timelines with various quotes and photos celebrating womanhood.
But only when every woman across the world will be safe, independent and respected throughout the year, the virtue of the celebration will be realized.
Here are 10 laws every Indian woman must know:
1. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act that came to effect on Nov 1, 2007 prohibits solemnization of child marriage. This law says marriage of any girl below 18 years of age and any boy under 21 years is illegal.
2. Special Marriage Act, 1954
Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides a special form of marriage between people of different faiths/castes.
3. Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 helped consolidate the anti-dowry laws passed on certain states. Under this legislation, any person who gives, takes or supports giving or taking of dowry is punishable to minimum 5 years imprisonment and a fine more than Rs.15,000 or the value of the dowry received, whichever is higher.
4. Indian Divorce Act, 1969
The Indian Divorce Act, 1969, allows a couple to dissolve their marriage, including mutual consent, nullity of marriage, judicial separation and restitution of conjugal rights.
5. Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017
Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017, an amendment to Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her pregnancy and child birth. It also entitles her of maternity leave, that is, full paid absence from work for a specific time period to take care of herself and her newborn.
6. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,1971
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,1971 came into effect to reduce incidents of illegal abortion and consequent maternal mortality. This act allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy by a registered medical practitioner.
The official website of Tripura Woman Commission says the act allows legal abortion “if the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury physical or mental health ; or there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.”
7. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
This act, as the name suggests, came into force to ensure safety of woman at their respective work places.
The introductory text of the act reads: “An Act to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
8. Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act, 1986
The act safeguards public representation of women. The National Commission for Women (NCW) defines it as “an act to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings, figures or in any other manner and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
9. National Commission for Women Act, 1990
The National Commission for Women (NCW) was set up under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990. The NCW is a statutory body of the Government of India to review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women; recommend remedial legislative measures; facilitate redressal of grievances and advise the government on all policy matters affecting women.
10. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
The act aims at providing equal remuneration to both men and women workers. It aims to prevent discrimination, especially against women, on the ground of gender.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.