The Constitution of India ensures gender equality in its preamble as a fundamental right but also empowers the state to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favor of women by ways of legislation and policies.
India has also ratified various international conventions and human rights forums to secure equal rights of women,” such as the ratification of Convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in 1993. Women have been finding place in local governance structures, overcoming gender biases.
Over one million women have been elected to local Panchayats as a result of 1993 amendment to the Indian Constitution, requiring that 1/3 rd of the elected seats to the local governing bodies be reserved for women. The passing of Pre-natal Diagnostic Tech Act in 1994 also is a step in removing gender discrimination.
This Act seeks to end sex- determination tests and female foeticide and prohibits doctors from conducting such procedures for the specific purpose of determining the sex of the fetus. The Government also announced the National policy for empowerment of women in 2001 to bring out advancement, development and empowerment of women.
The Government has also drawn up a draft National Policy for the empowerment of women which is a policy statement, outlining the state’s response to problems of gender discrimination. As persistent gender inequalities continue, we need to rethink concepts and strategies for promoting women’s dignity and rights. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated, “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself.