Given the number of crimes committed against women every second, it becomes extremely important for us women to know our rights and act against injustice. These laws, in turn, uphold a woman’s basic human rights and YOU should be aware of them whether you are a mother, wife, daughter, or friend so that you can help yourself or any other woman in times of need.

1.Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013.

This act protects women from workplace harassment and ensures redressal of complaint. Sexual harassment includes a hostile work environment, the use of language with sexual overtones, invasion of private space by hovering too close for comfort, subtle touches, and innuendoes by a male colleague or employer. Since sexual harassment is a criminal offense, the Indian Penal Code stipulates penalties from one to three years in prison or a fine.

2.Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

This act protects from domestic abuse with its definition being broad and including not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse. The aggrieved woman can get monetary relief, custody of the child (if any), right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household if she takes any legal recourse.

3.Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

This act protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a full paid absence from work to take care of her child. The act applies to all establishments employing 10 or more employees.

4. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976

This legislation not only provides women with a right to demand equal pay, but any inequality concerning recruitment processes, job training, promotions, and transfers within the organization can also be challenged under this Act.

5.Other basic rights

◾Right to seek help from a professional regarding any aspect of your life.

◾Right against humiliation, judgment, and dowry demands.

◾Right to leave the house whenever you please and not have to ask permission.

◾Right to autonomy over your job, education, earned income, and other possessions.

◾The right to have friendship with whomever you choose, be it a man or woman.

6.A woman’s right in a relationship

◾Right to leave the relationship or ask for a divorce.

◾The right to be equally involved with your partner in all decisions and responsibilities of your relationship, money, children, home, and future.

◾Right to have your emotional, physical, intellectual, and economic needs addressed in a relationship

◾Right to NOT be held responsible for your partner’s behavior. It’s not a woman’s responsibility to keep the relationship working.

◾Right to respect by your in-laws – physically, emotionally, and verbally.

If you feel any of your fundamental rights are being violated, know that these rights are for your safety and well-being. Make sure to speak up and take action. We are here for you.