Dr Nitu Kumari – Rights of the Girl Child in India.

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Live Encounters Magazine Volume Two December 2020

Nitu Kumari is an Assistant Professor at Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Nagpur. She teaches legal history and international law. She is currently doing her doctoral research from Human Rights Studies Programme, SIS, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Excerpted with permission from Rights of the Girl Child in India: Struggle for Existence and Well-Being by Nitu Kumari— Assistant Professor at Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur. Published by SAGE –  https://stealadeal.sagepub.in/rights-of-the-girl-child-in-india-nitu-kumari-9789353882846.html

Rights of the girls child by Dr Nitu Kumar sThe Rights of the Girl Child

Girls and women are an integral part of society. However, various social and cultural phenomena undermine their vital contribution to society and marginalize them from mainstream sociocultural existence. This marginalization makes them vulnerable in a male-dominated society. Patriarchal inheritance creates a male-dominated society and an atmosphere where women and girls are least acknowledged. Least participation in the formulation of sociocultural norms, and discriminatory religious and social beliefs create very challenging conditions for girls and women. It is very difficult for them to raise their voices against this exploitative nature of society. The girl child faces many difficulties and this needs more attention as women empowerment is not possible without the empowerment of the girl child. This book is an attempt to trace the root cause of the problems associated with the most vulnerable section of the society, that is, women as a whole and the girl child in particular. The main idea is to bring forward regional variations of this problem, how problems of the girl child became an international issue and called for efforts of the international community to find a universal solution. Since this book is primarily intended to address the issues of women, the issues of the girl child become more evident.

An in-depth inquiry into the marginalization of women in society leads to the reason behind the vulnerability of the girl child at the initial stages of life. This book views itself as an integral part of the global and regional discourse on the issues of the girl child, child rights and human rights, along with the national and international initiatives for the welfare and development of the girl child. It underlines the international ongoing debates and current reflections on the issues of the girl child and women. Necessity and desirability of the deliberation on girls and women’s issues and programmes and policies that address the challenges of these sections are also important subject matters of this book.

To begin with, this book traces the historical roots of women and girls’ position in society. It starts with the difficulties of children and how children become more vulnerable at the time of war and conflict as they are unable to defend themselves. The debate and deliberations over the age of the child are discussed and it also explains the need for children’s identification as independent rights holders.

After the discussion of challenges related to children, it explains the girl child’s peculiar problems, which make them so vulnerable. Then it discusses how the issues of the girl child are not merely regional or national; the marginalized position of women and girls is present in almost all societies across the world. As this is a global issue, it needs the attention of the international community and a collective approach with which this matter can be countered at the grassroots level.

Many national and international books raise the issues of vulnerable sections such as issues and challenges of tribal women, black women and refugee women. This book’s aim and objective is to trace the issues and challenges of the girl child and women in various sectors as they are vulnerable in every section of society. In this context, this book traces the history of international approaches to raise the issues of the girl child at an international level. It highlights the international conventions, treaties, declarations and norms set for children’s welfare and development. It also emphasizes the implementation of these norms and challenges.

This book can be used to understand and trace the world community’s role in women and child welfare and development. The role of the League of Nations and that of the United Nations (UN), two of the world’s most important international organizations, in the inclusion of all sections together and promotion of equal rights and opportunity for all is worth mentioning.

Collective security, that is international peace and security, is the basic tenet of the UN Charter; in this context, this book upholds the fact that without the upliftment of girls and women, the world cannot be secure and peaceful. Readers who are interested in gathering information about the peculiar challenges of girls, about international norms and standards, as well as international conventions to protect and promote the rights of girls and women, can be benefited from this book.

The role of states towards women and girls’ welfare is extensively analyzed in this book. It also covers the regional approaches to address the issues of girls and women. For instance, regional organizations, South Asian and African countries’ approach on the girl child protection.

India is famous for its diversity; however, this diversity cannot be seen in the condition of women in the country. Almost in all states of India, the position of women is lower than that of men. Inferior position in a male-dominated society deprives women in various sectors; women and girls are marginalized from the main section of society.

The socio-legal and judicial approach to address the issues of girls and women is extensively discussed in this book. In this context, this book is also very relevant for the readers who are interested in states and non-state policies and programme on the gender inequality issue. It has also discussed the dimension of human rights regarding harmful traditions against girls and women; international human rights seek to address the challenges faced by women and girls. In these aspects, this book is significant for those who have an interest in studying the human rights’ approach towards vulnerable segments of society.

© Nitu Kumari