The year 2021 is coming to a wrap, and we look ahead to another year of perseverance and progress in achieving a gender equilibrium in our society. That calls for reflection on the year that was, and how did we fare. While we are far away from where we should be, 2021 had several inspiring moments, that made us happy and proud.So many inspiring Indian-origin women made a mark with their unmatched talent. Several rulings and decisions gave us a ray of hope. As we look back at the year that was, here are 10 moments in 2021 that were crucial to womens empowerment.Supreme Court recognised the ridiculousness of the tie-a-rakhi-to-your-rapist conditionOn March 18, the Supreme Court dismissed Madhya Pradesh High Courts order in which it asked a rape survivor to tie a rakhi to her rapist, which would then offer him bail. The bail condition in question amounts to further victimisation of the survivor in her own house. In the context of Raksha Bandhan being a festival of guardianship between brothers and sisters, the said bail condition amounts to the gross trivialisation of the trauma suffered by the complainant in the present case, said the plea, as per reports by TOI. While this ruling was for a particular case, and not for the entirety of womanhood, we must appreciate the fact that an SC bench recognised it as a problem to be highlighted and rectified.Women were finally allowed to appear for the National Defence Academy examinationsIn August this year, the Supreme Court ask the army to allow women to appear for the National Defence Academy exams. Not allowing women to do, the SC pointed out was discriminatory. In December, out of the first batch of 8,000 women who appeared for the NDA exams, more than 1,000 women passed with flying colours. Kamala Harris became the first female vice-president of the USAEarlier in 2021, Kamala Devi Harris made history by becoming the first female vice-president of the United States. She made headlines all over the world, as she shattered glass ceilings to become the second most powerful woman in America. Harris was born to Shyamala Gopalan (an Indian biologist) and Donald J Harris (a Stanford economics professor of African-Jamaican descent). In fact, Harris also became the first woman to exercise presidential powers, even though briefly. American president Joe Biden had transferred his presidential powers to Harrisright before he was heading for a medical check-upin case of any complications. Kerala High Court Ruled That Women Cant Be Denied Jobs Citing Late Work HoursThe Kerala High Court asserted that late working hours cannot be used as an excuse to deny employment to women. It is the bounden duty of respondents to take all appropriate steps to see that a woman worker is able to carry out duties assigned to her at all hours, safely and conveniently. Protective provisions cannot stand in the way of a woman not being considered for employment for which she is otherwise eligible, the single bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman observed.Avani Lekhara made India proud in Paralympic GamesShooter Avani Lekhara, who was debuting in Paralympic Games this year, made India proud right from the get-go. The 19-year-old shooter became the first Indian woman to win two medalsgold and a bronzeat the Paralympics held in Tokyo. Not just that, this win made her the first Indian to win gold at shooting in the Paralympic Games. Sirisha Bandla became the third Indian-origin woman to go into spaceOn July 11, 2021, Bandla became the third Indian-origin woman to go into spacethe first being Kalpana Chawla, and the second, Sunita Williams. She boarded the Virgin Galactics Richard Bransons VSS Unity, which launched into space for the 1.5-hour mission above New Mexico from the Spaceport America launch facility. 46 Per Cent Of Startups Under The Indian DPIIT Are Led By Women The Ministry of Commerce in India aims to promote women entrepreneurship. Out of around 58,000 startups recognised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), 46 per cent have at least one female director. Also, under the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS), around 55 women-led start-ups have been given financial assistance. Gujarat HC challenged the constitutional validity of the exception given to marital rapeThe Gujarat High Court issued notices to the Union and state governments on public interest litigation challenging the provision that doesnt recognise marital rape as a legal crime. It is high time that a writ court undertakes the exercise of considering, whether the exception-2 to Section 375 of the IPC could be termed as manifestly arbitrary and makes a womans fundamental right to sexual autonomy subject to the whims of her husband, observed a division bench of justices JB Pardiwala and Niral R Mehta.The abortion limit increased to 24 weeks of pregnancy in special casesThe Indian government passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, under which the gestational limit for abortion in India has been extended from 20 to 24 weeks, in special cases. Earlier in 2021, the Kerala HC had observed, The right of the mother to terminate the pregnancy medically even after the permissible period in terms of the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act has been recognised by the courts if there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.Indian Railway Introduces New Measures For Women Passengers SafetyUnion Minister of Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw, announced several measures to make train travelling safer for women. Six berths are to be reserved for female passengers in the sleeper class of long-distance trains. Six berths in third-tier air-conditioned coaches (3AC) of trains of fully AC trains will be reserved for women passengers (irrespective of age, travelling alone or in a group). There is also a provision for a combined reservation quota of around six to seven lower berths per coach in sleeper class, four to five lower berths per coach in 3AC, and three to four lower berths per coach in 2AC to be reserved for female passengers above the age of 45 and pregnant women.