Gender Arsenal is all about the uncalled for Gender War which has been initiated and is being fuelled by reasons outside the purview of this article. Gender Arsenal pertains to the weapons available to both the genders in the war. Before going into the actual details about the arsenal, I will elucidate the positions of the two genders vis-à-vis each other.
National Commission for Women (NCW) came into effect in 1992 in India to work on women’s issues. NCW has been instrumental in making awareness about a lot of problems faced by women, and has recommended various legal and social options to redress them. It also looks into complaints received by women. Additionally women have around 3300 odd NGOs working for them, one union ministry and Rs. 1200 crores allocated for their cause annually from the union budget.
Men have none.
I will now proceed to list down some laws meant specifically for women,
- Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): This section is formulated for married women who face physical and mental harassment from husband and in-laws and the cruelty is made for any unreasonable ‘demand’ (mostly dowry) from the woman and the cruelty is of such nature that it drives the woman to commit suicide or can be a danger to the life and limb of the woman.
- Section 354 of the IPC: Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.
- Section 509 of the IPC: Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.
- Section 375 and 376 of the IPC: Rape of a woman.
- Section 498 of the IPC: Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman
- Section 98 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC): Power to compel restoration of abducted females.
- Section 125 of the CrPC: Meant to provide no-fault maintenance to wife from husband.
- Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA): Though gender neutral, is largely used by women to extract maintenance from their husbands in pendency of a divorce.
- Section 25 of the HMA: Meant to provide alimony to women from divorce.
10. Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act: Another provision for maintenance to wives.
11. Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: Though gender neutral in its definition, this Act is largely used to protect women and there are also some judgments for cases filed under this Act, which are gender biased towards women.
12. Immortal Trafficking Prevention Act: Deals with trafficking of women.
13. Indecent Representation of Women Act: Title is self-explanatory.
14. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act: Empowers women to abort their unborn children legally.
15. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act: Meant to tackle Domestic Violence faced by women.
These are some of the laws and Acts made to protect and empower women true to the best of my knowledge; I might have missed a few of them. However, these are only illustrative and not exhaustive of the fact that women are not only over-protected but pampered in this so called Male Dominated Society, whereas men do not have even a single NGO funded by the Govt. to be fighting for men’s cause let alone any law, section, Act or a commission or a ministry.
It should give a fairly clear idea as to how unequally men and women are placed in this gender war wherein actually men are dragged into uncalled for. On one hand, where women have weapons to the tune of Surface to air missiles to their kitty as their arsenal, men do not even have a Rampuri Chaku at their disposal.
And, as I said, the list is merely illustrative and not exhaustive; NCW has in its offing more laws to castrate men, some of them being,
- Proposal for compensation of Rs. 2 Lakhs to rape victims.
- Sexual Harassment Bill.
- Workplace Harassment Bill.
- Law to protect maids and so on and so forth.
Again the list of prospective laws is also true to the best of my knowledge and I might have missed many others in the offing.
Whilst there are neither any laws existing to protect men, nor in the offing, and the simple reason for this is, men do not fight for their right or stand up for other men who are fighting for men’s rights.
And if things continue this way, the day won’t be far when NCW will come up with a law like this one:
Inherent Protection of a Woman’s Dream Act: Any woman, who complains against a man that the man entered her dreams and molested her/outraged her modesty/raped her, shall be tried with a relevant section of the IPC. Any married woman who complains against her husband and in-laws that they entered her dreams and demanded dowry from her or harassed her and assaulted her for not bringing enough dowry shall be charged with IPC Section 498A/Dowry Prohibition Act/Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act etc.
Choice lies with men; they can allow more and more such laws to be passed by not supporting men’s rights or take a stand against all such laws and pressurize the Government to rethink about the laws.