The Future is Female: Why Do Women's Reproductive Rights Matter
The Article titled "The Future is Female: Why do Women's Reproductive Rights Matter" delves into the significance of women's reproductive rights and the challenges they face in achieving true gender equality.
The Article titled "The Future is Female: Why do Women's Reproductive Rights Matter" authored by Nitin and co-author Ms. Razi Sharma delves into the significance of women's reproductive rights and the challenges they face in achieving true gender equality. The article discusses historical prejudices and discriminatory practices that have perpetuated a male-dominant culture, leading to an unfavourable and unjust condition for females worldwide.
The authors highlight the misuse of the non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) for gender determination, resulting in alarming cases of female foeticide. They emphasise, the need for implementing effective restrictions to prevent the unethical use of medical technologies and safeguard the rights of unborn girls.
Another issue addressed is the archaic practice of virginity testing or the two-finger test, which has been declared illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of India. The article advocates against such practices, promoting a focus on supporting victims and ensuring their access to justice instead.
Furthermore, the article emphasizes the importance of maternity care for the well-being of both mother and child during pregnancy. Traditional practices like consuming Gond Laddu are discussed, along with legal measures like the Maternity Benefit Act, which aims to protect the rights of pregnant women in the workplace.
The conclusion emphasizes the need to challenge and transform entrenched attitudes and practices that perpetuate gender disparities. By promoting education, awareness, and progressive reforms, society can move towards true gender equality, recognizing women for their inherent worth and contributions. The article calls for an inclusive and respectful society that upholds the principles of dignity, freedom, and respect for all individuals, irrespective of gender.
Across the globe, everything originates either artificially or through natural means. Before reaching its final form, every entity undergoes a series of processes, starting from its inception and progressing through intermediate stages. One of life's most profound joys and blessings lies in receiving parental love and happiness. This happiness arises when the fusion between a father and mother results in the birth of a baby, seen as a divine blessing. Throughout ancient history, having a baby boy has been regarded as essential for promoting the continuation of the generation, and boys have been elevated in society compared to girls, perpetuating a male-dominant culture.
Despite the importance of treating both genders equally, males continue to be prioritized in this so-called male-dominant society. Women bear major responsibilities in various aspects, such as managing households and bearing offspring, yet they are often treated as mere "baby-producing machines" and relegated to the role of household workers. This discriminatory mindset, prevalent for centuries, denies women their rightful place as equal contributors to society.
The prejudice against women is deeply rooted, and historical practices have perpetuated it over time. Despite efforts to bring about changes and discontinue orthodox practices, remnants of these beliefs still exist in society. This has resulted in unfavourable and unjust conditions for females, leading to gender inequality, ignorance, and discomfort. Such traditional thinking continues to prevail without acknowledging the importance of treating all individuals equally.
Furthermore, the pain and challenges that mothers endure during childbirth are often dismissed and this pain has the power of breaking 20 bones together, and the birth of a baby girl is met with unwarranted concern and discrimination. Mother’s experiences and sacrifices are sometimes trivialized & overshadowed by societal biases and norms. Despite advances in science and understanding, these prejudices persist.
While some progress has been made in addressing these issues and breaking away from traditional beliefs, orthodox practices persist, sheltering minor and outdated thinking in society. This perpetuates negative consequences for females and hinders progress towards gender equality.
The global society must confront and overcome the remnants of traditional and discriminatory beliefs that undermine the status and rights of women. Embracing true gender equality requires acknowledging the valuable contributions of both men and women, treating them with equal respect, and rejecting any form of gender-based discrimination. Only by challenging and changing these long-standing mindsets, we can make a society that truly treats everyone equally and with the dignity they deserve.
The Misuse of Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT)
The non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT), which gained widespread recognition, was introduced in 2011 in Hong Kong. Initially, its purpose was to provide valuable information about the condition and health of foetuses during pregnancy. However, in a concerning turn of events, the test has been predominantly misused for determining the gender of the unborn child before birth. This misuse has led to alarming cases of female foeticide, where female foetuses are selectively aborted, depriving them of their right to life. Tragically, when the test reveals that the fetus is considered a baby girl, in many instances, the pregnancy is terminated, leading to the loss of innocent lives.
The misuse of NIPT has become a significant concern, especially in cases of unwanted pregnancies. Instead of offering support and solutions, the test's results have been manipulated to push for abortions, which perpetuates a disturbing trend of gender-based discrimination. The practice of gender-selective abortions, driven by a preference for male children, has serious consequences for gender balance and equality within society.
To address this grave issue, various legal judgments have imposed several restrictions and screenings on the use of NIPT for gender determination. These measures aim to prevent the abuse of the test and safeguard the rights of unborn girls. The implementation of effective restrictions is considered a necessary step to limit unethical practices and promote the ethical use of medical technologies.
The introduction of NIPT offered promising advancements in prenatal healthcare, its misuse for gender determination and subsequent female foeticide has brought forth serious ethical and social concerns. It is essential to strike a balance between medical advancements and societal values to ensure that technologies like NIPT are used responsibly and in ways that respect the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their gender. By upholding stringent restrictions and guidelines, we can mitigate the adverse effects of misusing NIPT and work towards a more equitable and inclusive society.
Per Vaginum Test – Two Finger Test
Virginity testing, commonly known as the two-finger test, is conducted by recognized medical practitioners under the jurisdiction of either the state or central government. Its purpose is to determine whether a woman has engaged in sexual intercourse or experienced penetration, often with the malicious intention of investigating rape cases. During the test, the medical practitioner inserts their fingers into the woman's private parts to check for signs of sexual activity. The origin of this practice lies in the Indian culture's tradition of assuring a bride's virginity before marriage.
The main criteria for this virginity test are the presence of an intact hymen, which is considered to be the "certificate of virginity," or the presence of proof of blood resulting from the testing of the hymen. However, the Indian legal system has taken steps to discourage and halt this practice due to its inhumanity and illegality, particularly in cases like the famous Mukesh & Anr v. State For NCT of Delhi & Ors., (2017) 6 SCC 1 and Lillu v. State of Haryana, (Criminal Appeal No. 1226 of 2011). The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India recognized the test's unethical nature, as it was originally intended for medical assurance in investigating cases of rape.
In a recent landmark judgment, the Supreme Court officially declared the two-finger test to be illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional. Any individual found practising this test would be held guilty and subject to prescribed punishment. In the case of Jharkhand v. Shailendra Kumar Rai @ Pandav Rai, (Criminal Appeal No. 1441 of 2022), the court firmly stated that this practice would be considered misconduct against a woman's integrity and reputation, starting from the day of the judgment.
The author strongly advocates against the use of the two-finger test, highlighting its unconstitutionality. Furthermore, the author emphasizes that a victim's prior sexual experience should not be taken into account when determining consent or the quality of consent given by the victim. The practice of virginity testing through the two-finger test has been widely criticized and deemed unethical and unconstitutional by the Indian legal system. Its use as a means of investigating rape cases is not only inhumane but also a violation of a woman's dignity and rights. The recent Supreme Court judgment sends a clear message that such practices have no place in a just and equal society. The focus should be on supporting victims and ensuring their access to justice, rather than subjecting them to degrading and outdated examinations.
Maternity Care: To Mother & Child
The journey of becoming a parent is considered a blessing, but it also requires utmost care and protection during the crucial nine months of pregnancy. Both the mother and the fetus need to be cared for during this period, as the well-being of the mother directly impacts the health of the child. This care has been practised since ancient times and continues to be of paramount importance.
One traditional practice to provide care to pregnant mothers is the consumption of Gond laddu, a delicacy made from herbs considered to have beneficial properties. These laddus help the mother cope with the pains and discomforts of pregnancy. Additionally, they contribute to the mother's overall health, which is crucial for successful breastfeeding and ensuring the child's proper development. The due care and attention given to expectant mothers play a vital role in nurturing healthy pregnancies and promoting the well-being of both mother and child.
Recognizing the significance of supporting women during pregnancy, the Indian government introduced the Maternity Benefit Act in 1961. This legislation aims to protect the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. It guarantees specific benefits and allowances during their maternity period, ensuring that they can take a leave known as maternity leave. This leave is granted to every expectant mother and spans around 26 weeks. It is considered a compulsory leave to safeguard the well-being of both mother and child.
The period of pregnancy requires special care and attention to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and the fetus. Traditional practices like consuming Gond laddu have been followed to support expectant mothers, while legal measures, such as the Maternity Benefit Act, safeguard the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. Providing adequate care during pregnancy is essential for nurturing healthy pregnancies and fostering the growth of a happy and thriving family.
Throughout history, females have been subjected to unfair treatment, being reduced to mere "baby-producing machines," even in the face of numerous efforts and provisions aimed at promoting gender equality. This enduring situation is largely attributable to the deeply ingrained orthodox mindset that prevails in our society, upholding a male-dominant narrative. On one hand, the Indian Constitution's Article 14, Article 15, and Article 21 stand as pillars of assurance, guaranteeing equal protection to every individual, irrespective of gender, and emphasizing the need to eradicate discrimination. These constitutional provisions also encompass specific measures to empower women, recognizing their invaluable role in society.
The underlying principle highlighted by these constitutional safeguards is that no one should experience discrimination based on factors such as sex, caste, race, or religion. Furthermore, these provisions strive to safeguard women's right to make choices concerning reproduction, recognizing it as an essential aspect of personal liberty. Despite the existence of these constitutional guarantees, societal norms and deep-seated biases persist, impeding genuine gender equality and hindering the empowerment of women.
To create a truly inclusive and respectful society, it is imperative to address and transform these entrenched attitudes and practices. This involves challenging traditional beliefs that perpetuate gender disparities and working towards the collective goal of treating all individuals with equality and respect. Emphasizing education, awareness, and progressive reforms, society can move towards dismantling the foundations of male-dominant thinking and fostering an environment where women are recognized for their inherent worth and contributions. By promoting gender equality, encouraging dialogue, and promoting the rights of women, we can lay the groundwork for a more equitable and just society that upholds the principles of dignity, freedom, and respect for all.
 No, giving birth can’t be measured in ‘del’ or said to be ‘equal to breaking 20 bones’, Available Here
 Two Finger Test: An Infringement To individual's Privacy, Available Here