by Geetika Tyagi December 30 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 58 secs

Throughout history, several pivotal events have spotlighted the persistent struggle for gender equality, unmasking the enduring challenges that impede the realization of true parity among genders, writes former journalist and actor Geetika Tyagi.

The seismic shift brought about by the #MeToo movement in 2017 shone a piercing light on the pervasive prevalence of sexual harassment and assault experienced by women. It reverberated globally, igniting conversations about power dynamics, consent, and the urgent need for cultural transformation. However, the movement also exposed the profound magnitude of the task at hand - eradicating entrenched misogyny and systemic abuse that permeate societies worldwide.

The unforeseen arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further exacerbated gender disparities, unmasking vulnerabilities that disproportionately affect women. Lockdown measures led to a surge in domestic violence cases, amplifying existing economic inequalities and placing immense burdens on women, especially those in marginalized communities. The pandemic starkly highlighted the indispensable role of women in essential services while underscoring their underrepresentation in decision-making processes.

These events, spanning continents, collectively echo a resounding truth: the battle for gender equality is far from over. Despite strides made, systemic obstacles persist, denying millions their rightful access to equality. They stand as testament to the urgent need for sustained activism, policy reforms, and cultural shifts to dismantle patriarchal structures and pave the way for a future where equal rights are not just a dream but an undeniable reality for all genders.

Despite the many advancements made, here are events of 2023 I’m highlighting, which remind us that the battle for equal rights is far from over in India as well. Over to my list then…


Demonstration and protest by female wrestling Olympians against the allegations of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan Charan Singh speaks of the persistent misogyny at the highest places of power. Police brutality at Jantar Mantar, horrific pictures of national and international level champions sleeping on the streets for 40 days pleading for justice continue to haunt us. Later, during the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections, the athletes demanded that a woman be made president as this would prevent female wrestlers from being harassed. But clearly justice was not provided and Sakshi Malik's announcement of retirement from wrestling after the election results shows that when this is the level of the respect for champions, then what will be the condition of the respect of common women.


Ask tough questions and get expelled! Moitra's expulsion was voted in Parliament, and the ruling party, the BJP, had an overwhelming majority. The committee's decision was taken in just a few minutes, without discussion. Character assassination, lewd comments, malicious gossip and the dismissive attitude were observed. The inquiry into the member of parliament’s mistake was neither waited for nor was she given a chance to present her side. The whole matter came across like a witch-hunt and a grotesque hideous picture of misogyny.


Tamil actor Mansoor Ali Khan in an interview shamelessly regretted not doing a "bedroom scene" with female actor Trisha in the film Leo, and proudly mentioned his participation in several "rape scenes" in the past. I was shocked and disappointed. This is not the first time such comments have been made in public against women. This is the attitude of misogynistic society and male driven industry which keeps coming to the fore from time to time.


A horrifying example of violent behavior towards women and their unsafety was seen in the beginning of the year 2023 when a car filled with five drunk people hit 20-year-old Anjali and then dragged her body for 13 kilometers. According to the police, they got down from the car and checked twice, found it stuck under the wheels but did not help. Music kept playing in the car! Early in the morning, Anjali's body was found naked on the roadside.

Whenever women become victims of violent crimes, they also become victims of character assassination. Apparently, Anjali was drunk. She was an event manager and often returned home late, her character was commented on news channels, questions were raised on the nature of the work.

However, this entire media exercise had nothing to do with the horrific crime that happened to Anjali. But still these shameful reports continued for several days. This incident not only raises questions on women's safety but also tears apart the definition of humanity. We need to talk about accountability and responsibility of the police and the government. Human rights and women's equality should be given priority at the global level.

It is also important for us to challenge societal attitudes and patriarchal belief systems that normalize violence against women. Those five criminals fearlessly running over Anjali on the streets of Delhi and then maligning Anjali's character during the investigation is an example of a male-dominated society.


The G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration 2023 focuses on ‘enhancing economic and social empowerment', 'bridging the gender digital divide', ‘advancing gender-inclusive climate action’, ‘securing women's food security’, ‘nutrition’ and ‘well-being’. Let’s hope that this commitment will prove to be a milestone in advancing gender equality and equity.

There are a few Government programs and policies, which have yielded successful results e.g. education, health, sanitation, economic development. Apart from this, increasing participation of women to some extent has also been observed in women-led enterprises, IT and finance in 2023.

In 2023, India also made significant progress according to the Global Gender Gap Report -2023, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF). It has moved from 135th to 127th out of 146 countries indicating an improvement of 1.4 percent in its ranking.

Although complete equality is still 50-60 years away and every woman will have to keep fighting her battle for it, it won't be easy, but I am an optimist and believe that every cloud has a silver lining!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.