Updated: Aug 25
“NO COUNTRY CAN EVER TRULY FLOURISH IF IT STIFLES THE POTENTIAL OF ITS WOMEN AND DEPRIVES ITSELF OF THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF HALF OF ITS CITIZENS” MICHELLE OBAMA EMPOWERMENT is best described as a situation where an individual is given a free choice to realise one’s inner strength and manifest it to the world. Women Empowerment can be defined as belief and practice that give women equal opportunity in every aspect of life in comparison with men. It believes in the principle that both men and women are created equally by nature to fulfill their respective roles in human society. And that natural equality which had been endowed has been distorted by human civilization which gives importance to muscle and might for centuries, which in turns led to subjugation of women in human society. Today, women empowerment stood for two things that the world must recognise and accept--‘who they are’ and ‘open all the platforms’ available to men. Having discussed the principle of women empowerment, let us look into the grave reality of women in different platforms. In RELIGION- Mostly all the established religions have negative views on women thereby women could not hold any respectable positions in Temple, Church, Mosque etc. In POLITICS- women representation in politics is below 30%, and even in that mere numbers, their independent voice is meagre because the male members of the family have a say in what they say and do. In ECONOMY-women are earning 1/5 of their counterpart in the same institution or job markets in the world average. In CARE ECONOMY- it includes women household chores, child raising and kitchen works are not included while accounting the GDP of a nation, therefore women domestic works are not valued. In EDUCATION- in terms of quality and quantity that both sexes get, male sex is much above the women sex. In order to realise the unrealised worth of women, all these platforms need to be given equal affordability, accessibility and opportunity to them. One wonders what could be the reasons behind such deprivation of women in different aspects of human society. Reasons for such conditions are varied and multiplicities of factors are responsible for this. Some of the reasons are discussed as follow: a) CULTURE: many societies of the world are patriarchal and patrilineal therefore they have inferiority position given to them. They see women as ‘Child Breeder’ only and see birth of a girl child as a ‘Curse’ upon the family. The property and legacy of a Father could only be carried on by a Son and started the practice of Meta Son Preference, which in present context is pre-birth sex selection or a girl child being thrown away. b) RELIGION: all the religions of the world are great and ideals of high esteem, but the followers construction of religion is very archaic and do not interpret religion with times therefore religion in another way becomes a sanction for imposition of male chauvinism. Moreover, most of the religious founders are males which also have a negative consequence for the women sex .c) SOCIAL CONSTRUCT: almost every society sees women as representation of one’s society ‘PURITY and POLLUTION’. It means that women sexuality is being controlled and men decide WHEN, WHERE, WHOM, HOW a woman can marry which badly impacted women autonomy. In these cases, the dignity of women as an individual is suppressed. d) POVERTY: Poverty contributes immensely to women disempowerment and this in turn contributes to poverty. Poverty affected education of women, this illiteracy leads to uninformed and misinformed women, and could not question nor give alternative paths to traditional beliefs and norms, and this further affects the health of women morbidity and mortality of women sex. Moreover, illiteracy doesn’t help them in the job market. And that is how the cycle of disempowerment-poverty-job-disempowerment continues. e) INFRASTRUCTURE: Means of communication help liberate women while exposing to the wider world. However, non-connection with others apart from our own shrink our world view. Moreover, the job markets are not available locally which makes financially dependent on the family and perpetuation of traditional family norms. f) AUTHORITY: In almost every society starting from family to community levels, women are devoid of decision making. It means that every decision which are crucial for human development are male centric and that is how women agency are deprived. If the above mentioned causes are tackled, innumerable benefits can be showered upon human society. Benefits are both direct and indirect and some are highlighted as follow: DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDEND-as human resources can be utilised to optimum level; ECONOMY- would be boost as both Shands work; CULTURAL SOFT POWER would be spread as the care, loving and patience of women would spill to this authoritarian world; HARMONY AND PEACE in the family and society would foster world peace; RELIGION would be truly a place of inclusiveness and compassionate platform; CRIMES AND INJUSTICES in the forms of harassment, rape, sex slavery, dowry etc would reduce to a minimum scale; GLOBAL WARMING would be reduced as women are empathetic towards the climate as they are the first and last victims of such changes; WARS AND VIOLENCE of today’s world would be reduced because they are the victims since time immemorial; POLITICS of today’s world would be edifice of integration and inclusion amidst exclusivist politics and HUMAN CIVILIZATION would truly restore what the creator wanted human beings to be. In order to realise these unfathomable benefits that women empowerment give to the world, numerous efforts are being introduced and doing it .The U.N, since its foundation has been the key player to make the world realise by taking up several initiatives such as CAMPAIGNS, SLOGANS, PROJECTS ETC. The foremost ones are MILLINIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS are two of the projects worth mention to make this world an inclusive space. In the case of India, since the freedom movement onwards, our freedom fighters especially Mahatma Gandhi used every effort to make women out of domestication. Due to their ideals and influences, Indian Constitution Promises EQUALITY as Fundamental Rights and Positive Discrimination are specially placed for women in the constitution. Moreover, different schemes by Governments have been introduced in India. Some of the notable ones are-Beti Bachao,Beti Padhao, Swadhar Greh, Nari Shakti Purushkar etc. Moreover, the works of International Organisations and Governments are not going to work unless everyone sits down and take a step each day. To complement these efforts, every individual has a role to play. IN FAMILY-treat every child equally and equal opportunity for them; CELEBRITIES- should use their influences to spread positive messages; RELIGION- should be a place of spirituality and humanness; EDUCATION- should be equally invested; SPORT-should be platform to shine talents ; MASS MOVEMENT- should be mobilised to create awareness and sensitivity and ART be the place of creativity for everyone. I would like to end with the quote of Swami Vivekananda,” There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of woman is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing”. And to make both the wings to fly it begins with acceptance of WHO THEY ARE and OPENING OFALL THE PLATFORMS for them.