Children should be taught to respect women the same way they respect men, the Supreme Court’s lone woman judge R Banumathi has said while stressing that gender equality should be made a part of school curriculum. Justice Banumathi, in her separate but concurring verdict running into 114 pages, upheld the death penalty of the four convicts in the brutal December 16, 2012 gangrape case and suggested several measures to curb violence against women. She also said that a change in the mindset of the society at large is needed. “Stringent legislation and punishment alone may not be sufficient for fighting increasing crime against women. In our tradition-bound society, certain attitudinal change and change in the mindset is needed to respect women and to ensure gender justice.
“Right from childhood years, children ought to be sensitised to respect women. A child should be taught to respect women in the society in the same way as he is taught to respect men. Gender equality should be made a part of the school curriculum,” the judge said. Justice Banumathi said school teachers and parents should be trained, not only to conduct regular personality-building and skill-enhancing exercise, but also to keep a watch on the actual behavioural pattern of children so as to make them gender-sensitised.
“The educational institutions, government institutions, the employers and all concerned must take steps to create awareness with regard to gender sensitisation and to respect women. Sensitisation of public on gender justice through TV, media and press should be welcomed,” she said. She suggested putting up banners and placards in public transport vehicles, illuminating bus stops and launching extra police patrol during odd hours.
“On the practical side, few suggestions are worthwhile to be considered. Banners and placards in the public transport vehicles like autos, taxis and buses etc. must be ensured. Use of street lights, illuminated bus stops and extra police patrol during odd hours must be ensured. “Police/security guards must be posted at dark and lonely places like parks, streets etc. Mobile apps for immediate assistance of women should be introduced and effectively maintained,” the judge said.
She said apart from effective implementation of various legislations protecting women, change in the mind set of the society at large and creating awareness in public on gender justice, would go a long way to combat violence against women. “There are a number of legislations and numerous penal provisions to punish the offenders of violence against women. However, it becomes important to ensure that gender justice does not remain only on paper,” the judge said.