India’s Constitution makers and our founding fathers were very determined to provide equal rights to both women and men. The Constitution of India is one of the finest equality documents in the world. It provides rights both to men and women. Our constitution provides provisions to secure equality in general and gender equality in particular. Various articles in the constitution safeguard women’s right and dignity by putting them at par with men socially, morally, politically, psychologically and economically. The Preamble, the Fundamental Rights, the DPSPs and the other constitutional provisions provide several general and special safeguards to secure a women’s human rights.


Preamble: The Preamble to the Constitution of India assures justice, social, economic and political; equality of status and opportunity and dignity to the individual. Thus, it treats both men and women equal.
As Preamble is the introduction to the Constitution and part of the Constitution[1] not being the Constitution itself; some features of the preamble comes under the basic structure doctrine[2] of the Constitution and those parts can not be changed or amended as amendment in those parts will result in violation of Basic Structure Doctrine.

Fundamental Rights: The policy of women empowerment is well entrenched in the Fundamental Rights enshrined in our Constitution. For instance:

Article-14 ensures equality before law and equal protection of law.

Article-15, the first provision of this article specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. Sex included in this article also includes the Sexual orientation[3]. The third provision of Article-15 empowers the State to take affirmative actions in favour of women.

Article-16 provides for equality of opportunities for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment.
These rights being fundamental rights are justiciable in court and the Government is obliged to follow the same.

Directive Principles of State Policy: DPSP also contains important provisions regarding women empowerment and it is the duty of the government to apply these principles while formulating any policy. Though these are not justiciable in the court these are essential for the governance nonetheless. Some of them are Article 39(a), Article 39(d), Article 42 which states equal work pay for both men and women and also talks about maternity leave, etc.

Thus, it can be seen that these Constitutional provisions are very empowering for women and there are other constitutional provisions[4] also, of which the state is duty-bound to apply those principles in taking policy decisions as well as enacting laws.


[1] Kesavananda Bharti v. State of Kerala (1973) 4 SCC 225

[2] Minerva Mills v. Union of India AIR (1980) SC 1789

[3] Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India (2018) 1 SCC 791

[4] Article-51(A) of Fundamental Duties and other amendments of the constitution like the 73rd & 74th amendment.


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