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Part VII Rights—Substance and Content, Ch.41 Gender Equality

Ratna Kapur

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution

Edited By: Sujit Choudhry, Madhav Khosla, Pratap Bhanu Mehta

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 03 December 2023

This chapter examines gender equality in post-colonial India, particularly some of the structural and normative factors that make it difficult for women to bring constitutional challenges in their fight for greater equality. It considers efforts at using law, especially constitutional equality rights, to challenge laws promoting sex discrimination in India, along with the use of fundamental rights to equality as guaranteed by Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Indian Constitution to challenge legal rules and provisions believed to discriminate against women. The chapter describes two different approaches to equality and gender difference through which the constitutional guarantees can be understood: a formal approach and a substantive approach. It then explores how familial ideology has influenced the judiciary’s approach to gender difference and provides examples to illustrate the impact of fundamental rights challenges on the very familial and legal discourses that have constituted women as different and subordinate.

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