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Efforts to stamp out patriarchy aimed to produce equity rather

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The current efforts of and society in stamping out patriarchy are best aimed to produce equity rather than equality, Vice President today said.

Referring to literature like 'National Policy for Women: Articulating a Vision for Empowerment' and other reports related to the issue of women empowerment, Ansari said it advocates "quantitative" changes than "qualitative".

He was delivering the 22nd Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial lecture here on 'Dismantling Patriarchy'.

Referring to a High Level Committee Report on Status of Women by Prof Pam Rajput, which was submitted in June 2015, Ansari said the document states that progressive legislative initiatives to empower women "are not accompanied by commensurate changes in the culture of institutions" charged with the responsibility of implementing them.

He further said "processes of empowerment must permeate institutions that hold the key to massive transformation including religion as practiced, family, marriage, education, law and order, judiciary and media."

He, however, points out that the report alludes to but does not specifically address the root causes of the state of affairs.

Referring to the draft of 'National Policy for Women: Articulating a Vision for Empowerment', Ansari said, the term patriarchy does not find any mention in the document. He said that the Pam Rajput report also has no reference in the draft.

"The changes advocated are quantitative rather than qualitative and do not touch meaningfully upon the societal backdrop and practices that sustain patriarchal prejudices. The emphasis on empowerment is indicative of the incremental approach, of equity rather than equality.

"The conclusion then is unavoidable that the process of dismantling patriarchy may have been initiated but is yet to deliver a finished product.

"...Patriarchy does not stand dismantled and that the current efforts by and society are at best aimed to produce equity of varying intensity rather than substantive equality," Ansari said.

He said in India, patriarchy has been a living reality since the earliest times for which written texts are available.

Citing instances, he said in Kautaliya's Arthashastra, the woman's status in certain legal matters is equated to that of slaves or bonded labour.

"It is possible that gradual deterioration, over centuries, in the legal protection guaranteed to women in the Arthashastra led to their being given a lower status in later codifications like the Manusmriti," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 30 2016. 22:13 IST