Friday, April 27, 2007

A Comparison of Laws (by Fatima)

Yesterday, after my team’s presentation, I pondered over the many laws of my country. I wondered whether the laws would have been different had we not been partitioned from India in 1947. This invoked my interest and hence I researched specifically over sexual harassment laws in India to find out how different we were. Much to amazement I found out that it has only been six years since sexual harassment was recognized for the "first" time by the Indian Supreme Court as a human rights violation and gender based systemic discrimination.
I was very surprised to read about this because my perceptions were that sexual harassment laws would be much stricter and well defined in India, due to its economic growth, foreign investment and different religion. This was obviously not the case. Even in India it appears to be that sexual harassment laws and policies are ‘weak’ and cultural implications are intertwined. Also, I was very surprised that six years ago was the first time that this was brought up because India has been economically successful over the past fifteen years with huge multinationals and foreign companies located there. However, it appears to be that South Asian countries give huge importance to culture and hence formulate their laws around that very aspect even if it means differentiating themselves from the rest of the world’s definition of what is the "right" thing to do.


Blogger mel said...

I also think that's surprising! I think since we live in America it is easy to forget that the rights of women are far behind what they are in the U.S. in many countries. (I only say this in regards to women because typically sexual harassment cases involve women.) When I did a little research of my own, I found that some sources say that the Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan (1997) is the first case in India where sexual harassment was considered "illegal". Apparently, China added sexual harassment into law protections even later than did India - in 2005. It's amazing that something we take for granted as being protected for in our laws has so recently popped up as a legal issue in other countries.

11:49 AM  

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