Time & Location
Dec 21, 2021, 8:00 PM
About the Event
The world is becoming increasingly gender-neutral. Most of Europe and North America and even Asian countries such as South Korea, Bhutan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have enacted gender-neutral laws. Under gender-neutral laws, all genders are equal in the eyes of law. Is India ready to follow suit?
As the #Metoo movement gathered pace in India, it was not just female victims who rose to speak up against sexual violence. The Indian law assumes that only women can be victims of sexual crimes, and men can only be the perpetrators. When it comes to domestic violence, workplace harassment, stalking, voyeurism and rape, our laws do not see men as being at the receiving end. However, this is far from the reality. Thousands of men are subjected to gender-based violence each year, but in the absence of explicit laws to protect them, they are forced into a helpless silence.
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution grants equal protection under law, so shouldn’t all victims have access to justice irrespective of their gender? As many legal experts have pointed, crime has no gender, so shouldn’t the law of the land be applied equally to all genders?
Some worry that such changes would ignore the power differentials deeply entrenched in our society and would roll back decades of progress made by women’s rights groups. Yet others argue that it is impossible to frame laws that are gender-neutral in a country with such varied personal laws. Moreover, with a lack of social awareness around the matter, India might not be ready for such disruptive changes.
Would introducing gender neutral laws further tip the balance of power towards men? And does that risk justify depriving thousands of male victims of all recourse to justice? This is a complex subject, largely overlooked by the mainstream media.
We believe it is high time we bring it out from under the carpet and have an informed discussion on it.