A step towards gender equality

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A step towards gender equality

India has a history of gender inequality since ages and in fact, many Asian countries including Pakistan or Bangla Desh were copies of the Taliban which is ruling presently in Afganistan. Of Course, the mental and physical progress made these countries come out from the clutches of medieval thoughts and progressed barring Afganistan. India is known as most pragmatic country and gender equality has made quite inroads into public and private lives of people. Indian women and girls are now being mostly conferred equal rights like boys and they have more say in decision making than men. This is a good symptom for a country where today also, often the girl child is greeted with melancholy and disappointment. From that scene we have come forward and now girls are mostly greeted with rejoice and fervour. But, still there are some pockets where girl child is being treated like the girls Taliban treats, but everybody in India is making improvement as far as the treatment to the girls is concerned. But, of course, we have still a wider gender gap and we have to fill this. It is shocking to know that, gender inequality was a salient feature of our judicial system. But now it seems the supreme court has taken a drastic step to end this baneful attitude. The SC has selected nine judges for appointment in  Supreme Court and one of them is B V Nagratna who is the daughter of former Chief Justice of India, Venkatramaiyah. If selected and it is fixed already, Nagratna will be our first chief justice of India or CJI in 2027. Though she will get only one month to serve, it is symbolic and it is a big achievement in terms of gender equality. Women judges are in very less numbers in judiciary which is expected to be itself a symbol of all good principles. Fatima Biwi was the first judge in the supreme court got appointed only in 1980. In 71 years of history of Indian judiciary history, Fatima Biwi was the first SC woman judge. In British India, there was no question of appointments of women in judiciary as in Britain only, the women were denied all chances of jobs and even voting rights. But when India got independence, there were immense leaders who always used to talk about finishing gender inequality but it was only lip service. Even if India has made too much progress in achieving gender equality, very few women are today in judiciary. Only one woman judge Indira Banarjee is presently in SC among 27 judges who will also retire next year. Our judiciary has appointed 247 judges since independence and only 8 women were appointed as judge. This comes to 3.2 percent while only 11 judges are women in high courts while maximum women judges are in Madras High Court.  This shows how much we lag behind international countries in the terms of achieving gender equality. This gap should be filled and SC has taken a first step toward this direction. After the appointment of Nagratna as SC chief justice, there will be a new hope for many aspiring women who want to develop career in judiciary.  The appointment of Nagratna will be a starting step which will reach the pinnacle of gender equality in coming years. Why women were not appointed on such top posts is a question-answer to which lies in our traditional mindset. Also, women are to be blamed to  some extent for not coming forward. There exists an institutional discrimination against women judges and it should be finished. It will not be happened in a stroke of a pen but it will take some more years. But, the process has been started and for that SC should be congratulated.