The area of theory and practice about how the law affects women is called Feminist Legal Theory. It basically studies how the laws and order affect Women. The theory includes both theoretical and social implications. It also deals with the legal reforms to smash the patriarchy.
To understand the legal theories, we first need to understand what feminism actually is.
Feminism is basically creating awareness of the political and social implications of discrimination within the society. It is basically fighting for the equal rights of women. Equality has always been an issue in India. Women have been fighting their own fights every day to make themselves stand in society. The government and the society have failed in all these years to provide women with the basic rights and equality they deserve.
The need for feminism arose from such situations. And feminists are the people who fight for the equal rights and determination of women. Anyone who fights against sexism, discrimination, inequality are all feminists. In the present day, women have been fighting against all odds to come on top and stand in society and for their dignity.
Patriarchal System runs in most of the families. In this system, the main ideology that works is that males are superior to that of women. And here again comes the need for feminism. Women even have to fight a battle at their homes. In some places and even families, it is considered that if a woman will go out and work and earn, then what will society think. Thus, there is a need for feminism as such ideologies need to be changed.
There are several ways to approach the law. There is no such only one way that can accurately explain the complexity of the procedures. The theories that deal with the oppression of women are:
- Theory in Broad Spectrum: According to this theory, there is no difference between women and men. But, the only difference is of equality. In almost all countries, the issue is the same. Women and men are not treated equally. Men dominate the life of women. The reaction to male dominance comes from the different values the women hold. And there is nothing feminine about it. This theory also mentions that women and men are allowed to have different opinions, values, and ways of reacting to things.
- Theory regarding Nature of three State/View: This theory has three different views in understanding the nature of women’s oppression. Firstly, Radical View, which says that law in itself is male. It says that patriarchal control is given more importance. Secondly, the Traditional Liberal View identifies both the state and the laws of the state. It also mentions the law and male. Ans says that both males and the state drive society. Thirdly, the Socialistic View says that women were kept in patriarchal control in the name of Capitalism’s interest.
How does law contribute to the oppression of women?: Indian Scenario
Feminism and Feminist legal theories is an emerging concept in India as of now. An analysis of laws and social practices points out to the discriminatory practices. The main issue is with the judiciary and police officials who have sexist assumptions, which leads women to more trouble than doing any good to them. Various legal codes have biased approaches in favor of men.
The implication of laws made for the protection of women lacks behind. They have, as of now, remained completely toothless. Thus,
- Marital Rape is still not illegal in India.
- Adultery for man has been made legal.
- Discriminatory service rules still oppress women.
Read More: Human Rights: UN Charter and UDHR