Women’s Empowerment, in the real sense, is just about making women efficient enough to take the decisions of their life on their own. Women’s empowerment also means to increase women’s access to have full control of their choices which they want to make in every sphere of their lives, like career, marriage, important life decisions and many more.
The Real Definition Of Women’s Empowerment.
Women in many societies are not able to make crucial decisions in their life. Every desire of a woman is suppressed sometimes by her parents, sometimes by her in-laws. Women are forced to do things per the will of their male counter-part. You must have heard of women who are forced to leave their jobs after their marriages. This happens because people think that the prime responsibility of a woman is to take care of her family and her kids.
People often forget that she is also a human with feelings, emotions and desires, her choices in her life must not be influenced forcefully by others. Women’s empowerment focusses on maintaining equilibrium between the status of a man and a woman in the family and society. The prime concern of women’s empowerment is to make every woman empowered from within in every sphere of her life.
Meaning of gender equality.
Meaning of Gender Equality.
Gender equality plays a very crucial role in Women’s empowerment. The real meaning of gender equality is to impart even distribution of man and woman in every sphere of life. Gender equality is not just an important human right, but it is also the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous nation.
In the last few decades, we have seen a significant change in the lives of women like- more girls going to school, fewer child marriages, increase in women strength in parliament, more laws for empowering women.
Despite all these changes, we have to many more things into consideration for achieving proper gender balance and after that Women’s empowerment. Women are still facing situations like- unequal pay, mental, physical and sexual abuses. Women leading at top sectors are quite less when we compare them to men at senior positions.
We need to do proper encounter of the prevailing inequalities in our society, we also need to make women empowered enough to save their dignity and live with sexual equality.
Importance of women’s empowerment.
“To awaken the people, it is the women who must be awakened.”Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Empowering women not only means to give them rights, but it also needs to awaken them from inside to know about the true existence of womanhood. Empowerment means to make a woman realize about her true potentials, her capabilities and her importance.
Women’s empowerment can change our society in many ways, it can reduce the rate of domestic violence, poverty, unemployment and also help to encourage women to do everything that they want. Let us see some of the important benefits of making the women empowered.
The Overall development of society.
We can not expect a society to get overall development where the value of women is not equal in comparison to men. Women consist of nearly 50 per cent of our total population, and if this huge portion is left backwards, then can we call ourselves truly modern?
In most of the developed countries, we have seen that women are equal in all spheres of life, whether it is politics, technology, medical science, education or space research. You must have come across many female bureaucrats who are handling top positions in multinational companies. Women are also considered as the backbone of their family, this is one of the most important reasons why women’s empowerment is crucial to our society. It is very meaningful to say-
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
“If you educate a man you educate an individual, however, if you educate a woman you educate a whole family. Women’s empowerment means mother India empowered.”
Hidden talents will get exposure.
Women are filled with immense capabilities and talents, the only need is to carve their inner traits out. The women are sometimes thought to be weaker and inefficient in comparison to men, but it is not so in reality.
Most often women are mentally stronger and sharper than men when it comes to deal with unexpected situations. Think about your own family, compare between your mother and father, you must have seen your father depressed and frustrated at some point of his life, and your mother gracefully dealing with the odds.
Women’s empowerment will give women a chance to compete on the same level as men. From ages, women are suppressed to show their talents, but the time is changing now. Modern women are capable to showcase their talents when they get a chance to do so.
Financial burden will get distributed evenly.
We often see in many families, that a husband is only earning member and has to fulfil all demands of his family members. Sometimes when expenses surpass earnings, then a situation arises where the male member has to deal with loads of mental pressure.
If he is not able to manage the needed money and assets for his family, he may go into depression. Women’s empowerment can make a woman of the family efficient enough to earn bread for her family. There are endless gains from this, the distribution of financial burden will be even on both partners, and the way to a happy life will open.
Families in which females get education and true empowerment of women exists are often more cheerful and stressfree in contrast to the families in which man is the only bread-earner.
Makes women economically independent.
Every individual wants to live a life which is independent of the control of others, economic independence plays a vital role in overall autonomy for a person. When women are equally capable and efficient why they should depend on their family members for their every small need?
Women’s Empowerment makes a woman independent in every sense, in her economic part too. The women who are totally dependent on their husbands for bread and butter and often treated in a wrong manner. Also, they are treated as a liability, so every woman must make herself empowered enough to earn for her livelihood.
It is always better to have both partners as earning, this not only boosts the confidence of the woman but also makes the environment of the family-pleasant. It is fair to give a chance to every woman to perform and show her capabilities to add economic support to her family. Empowerment of women changes her into an asset from a liability.
Will help in reducing crime against women.
Lack of empowerment leads to make a woman prey for all kind of violence against her. Domestic violence plays a lead role in contributing to all types of crime against women. The primary cause of domestic violence is the dependency of a woman to her husband for her every need.
A dependent woman has to always ask her husband for any requirement of her day to day life. When there is a family get together or functions, a woman has to ask for money from his husband. Sometimes the income is so less, that it is not even sufficient to fulfil the family’s needs, and when there is a demand for extra expenses, a tension arises in the family. This tension most often takes the significant form of physical abuse of the woman.
Think of the situation when the woman is also earning and contributing to a family’s need then will the case of a fight for extra expenses arise?
Here empowerment plays a significant role, an empowered woman is also able to part her ways if she is mentally or physically tortured.
Morale booster for women.
When women get an education and are earning, their confidence level goes high automatically. They can make important decisions in their life and willing to achieve the success which they want. They can protest against sexual and physical abuse, if any, occurring in their life.
Women’s empowerment makes a woman confident, and she can trust herself. An independent woman is not forced to live as per the will of others. Education can change the mind of anyone.
Equal treatment helps her realize that she is equally intelligent and capable of working in an environment where a man can work. Today we see women at many top-level positions, this is not exactly equal to the percentage of men at top positions, but still, there is an improvement in the conditions.
Secures future of girl and her parents.
We have seen that people fear to have a baby girl because they see girls as a liability who demands a heavy amount of money for her marriage. A girl is seen as a burden because she is looked upon as a dependent member of the family.
Because of these mindsets people often practice female foeticide to get rid of the unwanted girl child, which is totally illegal and a heinous crime. If girls are empowered and are well educated, they will be able to earn for their parents. The parents who think boys as their last hope for old age will see their daughters be equally efficient to take care of them.
Even after their marriages, they don’t have to ask money from their husbands to take care of their parents. An earning woman can take care of her needs and also able to take care of her parents. Women’s empowerment can help in equalising the value of a female child to a male child.
Women’s empowerment in india.
In western culture, women are given equal value as compared to men, but in our country, Indian women are not treated equally to men in many places on the basis of gender. Women constitute nearly 50% of the world’s population, but in India, we have disproportionate sex ratio. As far as we talk about the empowerment of women in India, we have to divide the time of India into three parts- ancient, medieval, and modern.
Women’s empowerment in Ancient India.
- During the early Vedic period, women enjoyed dignified position and respect in the society.
- In ancient India, women were empowered in the affairs of the home and family. The role of women was not limited as the mistress of the house, but there are proofs of participation of women in war, education, horse riding, decision making etc.
- You must have read the story of Ramayana, there is a detailed mention of SWAYAMBAR of Devi Sita. Swayambar at that time meant selecting a partner for marriage by a princess. Women in ancient India were free to choose their partners.
- Moreover, the tradition of the worship of goddesses has started in ancient India. A woman was considered as Janani- who gives birth to a life.
- Sculptures of ancient India show that women were enjoying higher status in society. Women were given the title of ardhangini (the better half) and sahadharmini (equal partner).
- After completion of their education, girls got the allowance to choose their life partners.
- Women were given full right to participate in rituals and ceremonies on a regular basis.
- They were given the right to read and learn sacred literature, and they were also allowed to take part in debates.
- But according to Vedas, daughters were restricted to inherit their father’s property.
Women’s empowerment in medieval India.
In the medieval period, India has seen a lot of foreign conquests, which resulted in the decline of women’s status in medieval times. During the rule of Mughals, women were in deprivation of their fundamental rights. They were forced to live within the four walls of the house.
The system of ‘Pardah’ started during the reign of Muslim leaders, before this, there was no pardah system in India. If you are unaware of what is pardah, I will introduce you to its meaning first. Pardah is a veil that covers the whole body of the woman along with her face. The freedom of Indian women, which they enjoyed in ancient times, totally seized during the medieval period. These ill practices gave rise to many more social evils like-
A tradition of marrying girls at a tender age of 7-10 years started in India. Now the girls were not able to complete their studies, which they did before in ancient times. Child marriages transformed the condition of women in India from humans to animals. Because of early age marriages, the health of girls started deteriorating. These, in turn, lead to the high death rate of women and children.
Sati was considered a ritual of sitting on the funeral pyre of the woman’s husband after his death. It was meant for burning to death of a woman with whole consciousness. People of medieval India started to follow the wrong belief that a woman who died as a sati, goes directly to heaven. Society saw Sati as a better option than living the life of a widow. This was a brutal killing of Women empowerment.
It was also an evil that started as a choice by Rajput women. In this custom, when a king with his army was going to fight the last decisive battle, the women organize a giant pyre and set themselves on fire. Indian history considers it a significant step to protect the sanctity of women. This all happened because of brutal and ruthless Muslim rulers who played with Indian queens and other women’s dignity. To preserve their dignity, this was the last choice for the courageous Indian ladies.
Education of women
The education of women declined during the medieval period. Girls of medieval India, especially Hindu girls, got restriction from getting a formal education; they got training for household chores and home management. In some societies, Muslim girls got allowance to study in a separate school, especially opened for them.
The pardah system started to protect women from the eyes of Muslim rulers. We can see the effect of that pardah to date in some parts of India, especially in villages.
Overall we can say that women’s empowerment got a full stop in medieval times in India.
Women’s empowerment in Modern India.
In modern India, there are lots of examples of women empowerment. India has got many famous female leaders of Indian history like Jhansi ki Rani, one of the most courageous leaders of the revolt of 1857. The condition of women in India recovered in modern times when compared to medieval India.
We can say Britishers somewhat uplifted the status of women in many spheres of their lives, like in education, politics, and many more. Many social reformers of Modern India like Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekanand, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, etc. played a significant role in the uplifting status of women in modern India.
Compared to the past, the condition of women has improved a lot, but still, there is a need for some real women empowerment in the lives of Indian women. Yet, Indian women face a lot of problems like-
- Poor health.
- Death while giving birth to a baby.
- Illiteracy in many parts of India.
- Overload of work.
- Female foeticide and infanticide.
- Less pay for equal work (in comparison to men).
How to make women empowered?
Women’s empowerment can actually happen only when-
- Women get education- Education can empower a woman from inside, an educated woman can decide between right and wrong.
- Involving women in decision making- If women get equal importance to make any decision related to family affairs, they will get the real empowerment.
- Encouraging women to choose their careers- Anyone can do better in the field in which he/she is interested. If women get a chance to choose their desired career, they can give their best in that area.
- Equal pay for equal work- pay scale of a man and a woman should be the same if they hold a similar work profile. This will help women to feel empowered.
- Sharing household chores- A man should get involved in house management if his wife is a working woman. This will help divide the load of work equally on both partners.
- Helping women to be financially independent- In the present scenario, a woman is helpless if her husband leaves her. She is not able to take care of herself and her parents. To avoid these circumstances to come in being, women must earn and make themselves financially strong and independent. This will be the real women’s empowerment.
A woman gets true empowerment if she is getting the love, support, and status which she deserves. Respect the women, make them feel that they are not worthless. They are capable of giving their dreams the desired shape, the sky is not the limit for them. They are the creators of this Universe. Let the Women’s empowerment to happen as it should be. See you all in my next post, till then stay happy and remain blessed.
I am a Principal at Play School in Patna, Bihar. I love to explore new ideas and help women to define their personalities in a more powerful and beautiful way. I believe that every woman is unique and is full of all capabilities to handle herself gracefully.