Women Empowerment 101: Breaking the Stigma of Divorce : These are a few questions that are posed to a woman when she plans on to take a divorce. Divorces are looked at with a lot of disgrace in India due to societal pressure and stigma attached to it. Even after years of fighting for women empowerment, divorces are treated as signs of failure where the blame is often put on the women.
But today women are breaking free from the leashes of an unhappy marriage and are trying to live a contended life. Through social media posts (Facebook and Instagram), peer/ support groups, poetry, women of today are fighting this old perception. These days, women are independently hiring a lawyer and walking out from the ordeals of a toxic marriage. For instance, if a woman in Indore is living with an abusive husband, she can independently file for a divorce on the grounds of cruelty with the help of a divorce lawyer in Indore.
Gone are the days when women were treated as the property of their husbands. Now, India is in a transitioning phase in which it is moving away from a patriarchal society to an equitable society where both men and women have an equal role to play. But the race is not yet over and there are still many miles to cover. As per a study conduct by OECD on divorce rates by country, India ranks the lowest with only 1%. This means that out of 1000 marriages only 13 ends up in a divorce. This can be attributed to the family values and Indian ethics which treat a divorce as a curse. Many marriages are arranged in India and the idea that it is the duty of the woman to keep her husband happy is still prevalent. The financial and societal pressure on the women acts as a barrier and makes her end up in a stressful relationship.
Changing Equations: A move towards Empowerment
A landmark change was made in the Indian laws by enacting the Hindu Code Bill in the mid-1950s. It gave women property rights, termed bigamy as unlawful and gave the women equal rights to file for a divorce. The law was further changed in 1976 to allow divorce by mutual consent. IPC (498(a) cruelty), Domestic Violence Act, Dowry Prohibition Act are a few provisions which protect the women from an abusive relationship and help them fight for their rights. Nowadays, more and more women o out for work or are setting up their businesses. Various organisations that help women in distress include- Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan, Care India, India Women Welfare Organisation, Lawyer’s Collective, Azad Foundation, Angala Aasra, etc. Even the government has launched various schemes to protect the women from abuses inside and outside of marriage and in order to empower them. A few of these schemes include- One Stop Centres, Saranya- Self Employed Scheme for Women, Mahila Haat, Swadhar Yojana, Maternity Benefit Scheme, Women Helpline Number 1091, Panic Buttons in Public Transport, etc.
The Supreme Court itself, in the case of Romesh Chander v Savitri has held that “where the marriage is dead and there is no chance of its being retrieved, it is better to bring it to an end.” [1995 AIR 851, 1995 SCC (2) 7]
Rights of a woman after a Divorce
A woman is entitled to various rights after a divorce. Some of these include-
- Right to Streedhan
A wife has an ownership rights to her streedhan i.e. the gifts and money received by her from her in-laws and family even though they are in the custody of her husband. It is different from dowry which is forceful in nature while streedhan is voluntary in nature.
- Right to Maintenance/ alimony
Maintenance is the amount which the husband has to pay to the wife after the divorce. It is either paid in lump sum or on an annual or monthly basis. It varies from cases to cases depending upon the income of the husband, income of the wife, living standards, etc.
- Interim Maintenance
A wife can demand interim maintenance at any time during the pendency of the suit. This maintenance is granted to her to fulfil her basic needs.
- Right to Residence
A wife has a right to reside in her matrimonial home in which she was brought after marriage.
- Right to have respect and live with dignity
Every woman either divorced or in a marriage has a right to live with respect and dignity.
- Right to ask for child maintenance
The custody of the child is decided on the basis of his welfare. Even the mother gets the custody of the child, and then she has all the right to ask for the maintenance of the child from her husband.
- Right to file a case against domestic violence and dowry demands
If a wife is facing domestic violence in her house by the husband or his relatives, then she can file a case against them.
It is important to understand that divorce is not evil and it is important to fight for one’s rights and live a happy life. It is not going to break the family values but help both the individuals to live a free and independent life. Women today are breaking free from a bad marriage. One such example is that of Malaika Arora Khan who opened up about her divorce on Kareen Kapoor Khan’s radio show Ishq 104.8 FM. She revealed that “We did think about a lot of things and weighed every single pro and con. And then we decided, it’s better off that we move our separate ways because we’d just be better people. Because we were two people in a situation making each other extremely unhappy this was impacting everybody else’s life around us.” So, it is advisable to the entire women who are in a bad marriage to break free from the clutches of it and hire a lawyer and fight for their rights.
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The 5 Stages of Divorce
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Female Motivational Speaker – Divorce Recovery
How to Deal With Grief During a Divorce Separation
Life Update | Divorce Emotions How I Deal with it, You’re Not Alone!
How I Got Over My DIVORCE to Find Love & Happiness
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Related Infographics about breaking the Stigma of Divorce :
Women Empowerment 101: Breaking the Stigma of Divorce
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