What is Women’s Empowerment?
Dictionary meaning of ” empowerment” is to be confident and get the right to make life-determining decisions on its own.” Women empowerment “ means allowing women into every sphere of life like political, social, educational, psychological, economic. It grants the opportunity to women to live with freedom and dignity. It also ensures equal opportunities for men & women.
Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said “Empowering women is a prerequisite for creating a good Nation, when women are empowered, society with stability is assured. Empowerment of women is essential as their value systems lead to the development of a good family, society and ultimately a good nation”.
Why women empowerment is important?
Women are still facing discrimination in every sphere. They are not getting equal opportunities for higher studies and work like men. They paid less even working in the same position. Women are expected to cook and do household works. They are restricted by their family members. Indian women are also facing the problem of child marriage ( 18 years which is the legal age), many girls are forced to get married by their parents. Unfortunately, every year countless women become the victims of domestic violence. They also suffer from health issues like anemia, nutritional deficiency, less BMI, etc.
Women are the wealth of our nation. Empowering them is indispensable for our society’s development. To build a healthy, prosperous nation, women’s empowerment is the most essential tool. Unless fifty percent of a nation’s population doesn’t participate in social, political, activities and the decision-making process, the nation’s democracy becomes paralyzed. Swami Vivekananda quoted that, “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved.”
The condition of women in India is more disappointing. As per the study of 2020 women’s literacy rate works out to be 53.7% & the male literacy rate is 75.3%, showing a gap of 21.6% which is quite disheartening. According to a study, there is a chance of increasing the 2025 GDP of India estimated $4.83 trillion by 16 -60%, simply by involving women to take part in the economy.
There are some organizations and NGOs that are consistently fighting for women’s rights. They focused to put up an end to gender discrimination around India. They are SEWA, Snehalaya, NEN, Azad Foundation, MAKAAM.
Indian government started some schemes for the welfare for women, some of them are listed below –
“Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme”(2015)
“One-Stop Centre Scheme”(2015)
“Women Helpline Scheme”(2016)
Those schemes are implemented to fulfill their agenda. Each scheme has an individual purpose. Some of them are listed below
- 1.To stop gender-biased sex selective elimination
- 2. To ensure survival & protection of the girl child
- 3. To ensure education and participation of the girl child
- 4 To support women affected by violence
- 5. To give free counseling
- 6. To provide 24 hours toll-free telecom services to assure their security.
- 7. To provide rehabilitation service to the victims, arranging clothes, foods, shelter vocational training, medical treatment, counseling, guidance, etc.
Women empowerment can be categorized into five types as social, educational, economic, political, and psychological.
Social – The term empowerment is defined as the “multi-dimensional social process that helps people to gain control over their own lives.”Social empowerment enables the social relations of women & builds the social structure. Society started recognizing Women’s & their contribution gets valued. It also ensures to raise their voice against social discriminations like different disabilities, races, ethnicities, religions, or genders.
Educational – Education is an essential part of growing. It opens the door of knowledge, it makes one self-confident, self-esteemed, self-sufficient. Education brings the light of hope. It increases one’s social, political, intellectual, cultural, and religious points of view. It increases the broadens of mind, creates awareness to all the spheres of life.
With education, they know their rights and can protest for themselves. According to Gandhi, only education can empower a woman & give them the ability, so that she can uphold her natural right. Political leaders also realize that if a male child got the chance of education he is only educated, but when a girl child is educated the whole family benefited.
Economical- Economic empowerment helps the deprived, poor, landless, oppressed people can change their life. They can easily take part in the resources like other financially strong people do. Only economic empowerment can prevent poverty. SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) emphasizes women’s economic empowerment.
When a woman is economically empowered she feels secure, autonomous, independent. Economic empowerment of women allows access to the resources of all kinds material, intellectual, education, information, ideas, money &power. And to make her the decision-maker for the home as well as for the society and the nation. It gains through equal work opportunities, equal education, and a working environment.
Political – To bring the change of policies women should participate in the field of politics. We have to raise our voices on our own. Alida Brill (2000) holds that “Without our own voices being heard inside the government areas and halls of public policy and debate, we are without the right to accountability – a basic establishment of those who are governed.” The oppression of women, which they are facing from birth, must come to the front of government bodies. They are suffering from bondage, ill-treatment at their family too. To change the previous structure and ideology women must be politically empowered.
Psychological – Women are facing various psychological obstacles due to lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness, insecurity, etc.— It transgresses the “traditional and patriarchal taboos and social obligations”. Psychological empowerment gives women the chance to recognize their self-worth and to control over their income & body. To see and to know the world better women must get the chance to join any kind of organization or institution like an NGO. It can help them to build their personal growth, could get her the chance of exploration.
Conclusion – Women empowerment is the most relevant and important topic of this time. It aims for positive change and its goal is transferring the unequal society to an equal one. Indeed, the majority of women are still backward and the scenario is the same for developed and underdeveloped countries. Whether it is Africa or Europe or America the challenges, oppression is horrible. It is a hope that India can fulfill its vision and achieve the goal.