Bridging legal gap need of the hour to ensure gender equality, say women policymakers

A group of women legislators and policymakers stressed the need to bridge the legal gap in ensuring gender equality and justice.

Published: 27th May 2022 04:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2022 04:16 PM   |  A+A-

West Bengal Women and Child Development Minister Shashi Panja

West Bengal Women and Child Development Minister Shashi Panja (Photo | ANI)


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A group of women legislators and policymakers on Friday stressed the need to bridge the legal gap in ensuring gender equality and justice, enshrined in the Constitution and said a government with strong political will can overcome the hurdles and correct the inequality gaps in framing pro-women policies.

Speaking at the two-day-long 'National Women Legislators' Conference-2022', hosted by the Kerala Assembly here, West Bengal Minister for Women and Child Development Shashi Panja said despite a large number of women specific and women-related legislations, legal gaps are existing in the country which is a cause of worry.

Though the constitutional laws are enacted by the successive union governments especially for the non-discrimination and equality status to women, the gaps remain the same either to improper or inadequate or absolutely non-implementation of these law, she noted.

Lack of awareness of women about the provision and benefits of these laws also may contribute to this, the minister said, adding that there were also instances of states not according priority to gender inclusive laws.

Panja, who is holding the Social Justice portfolio also in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, said even when the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence now, there is not much change in the issues faced by the women which range from uneven gender wage patterns, female foeticide and infanticide and assaults to marital rapes, bully by apps, online trolls and so on.

"The existing mindset which reinforces customs and traditions is perpetuating this gender inequality," she said.

The state governments, with a strong political will, can overcome these hurdles and correct the inequality gaps in framing such policies and prioritising social welfare and protection of women, Panja noted.

"This is one effective way to bridge these legal gaps...sensitisation is required for all stakeholders to fill up this gap...there has to be a social change and reconstitution," she added.

Kerala High Court Judge, Justice Anu Sivaraman, who was also a panalist in the session "Women Rights and Legal gaps", said the country is addressing twin aspects of the gap- inefficiency of legislation and insufficiencies in the existing legislations.

She said many of the legislations, including many of those which addressing the issues related to human rights, are enacted as a result of reactions of specific incidents and instances occurring in the society, which excites the collective conscious of the society.

The result is that the actual legislative exercise, which involves deep analysis and discussions, are given up in the interest of speed and other such factors, she said, adding that it would lead to lapses in the legislations.

The two-day conference, inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday, was conducted as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav marking the 75th anniversary of the country's independence.


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