by Aparajita Jaiswal
Women Empowerment A mere concept or a real Concern
16 July 2021
In India, this socially viable topic catches many eyeballs on discussion forums, political rallies and media galleries. We have often seen philanthropists, social entities or de crème de la crème of the society embellishing their views to fight for the profoundly rooted theories of Gender Equality, Equal participation, democratic decision making and most specifically Women Emancipation.
But the recorded statistics provoke us to unleash the peel of these heated discussions which might sound very promising but lack the realistic angle. For instance, in many parts of our country sex ratio has dropped to fewer than 850 females per 1000 males. India is ranked 132 out of 148 countries on Gender Inequality Index as per the 2013 Global Human Development Report.
The crimes against women fly directly against orchestrating women empowerment in India. A report on the crime against women by National Crime Records Bureau justifies the statement with some alarming facts and figures:
Crime Head – % Variation in 2012 over 2011
Rape (Sec.376 IPC) – 3%
Kidnapping & Abduction (Sec.363 to 373 IPC) – 7.6 %
Torture (Sec.498-A IPC) – 7.5 %
Dowry Death (Sec. 302/304 IPC) – 4.5 %
Molestation (Sec.354 IPC) – 5.5 %
Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC) – 7.0%
Importation of Girls (Sec 366 – B IPC) – 26.3%
This ironical phase of Women Empowerment is the central protagonist of our concern. We have a sense that holistic development cannot be imagined without the vigorous participation of women but like a silent admirer we are calmly supporting the fragmentary concept of Marginalization. No matter what our esteemed leaders said or done. But women have always been marginalized and ostracized as undesirable members of our society. No forum has been constructed to rationalize the Tag of “Second Citizen” which we bestow to this clique of women.
Societal prism gives a stereotypical account of Empowerment which defines-
“Empowerment” is the mere craftsmanship of an environment where women can make independent decisions on their personal development as well as shine as equals in society. But this definition does not channelize a concrete route which could actually lead women to this illusory environment.
In spite of having epic discussion on this topic, this marginalized group is deprived of the mainstay of Empowerment i.e. Pride of Self Accomplishment and Self Supporting. Often Empowerment is seen as a force from the outer world like NGOs, Social groups or Govt. who stretches their hands to this neglected clan, but this disquieting issue cannot be faded without encouraging and developing skills for, Self Sufficiency, with a spotlight on eliminating the future need of any superficial assistance.
For instance, instead of equipping them with peripheral aid, this band of victims must be encouraged to create their own non-profits organisation, using the rationale that only these marginalized people, themselves, can know their own people need most, that control of the organization must be centralized in their hands only.
If women were empowered to take dynamic partaking in the organized sectors of the society, the possibility for economic growth becomes perceptible. Empowering women in developing countries is critical to curtail global poverty since women represent most of the world’s poor population. Eliminating a significant part of the nation’s workforce on the sole basis of gender can have detrimental effects on the economy of that nation.
In addition, female participation in counsels, groups, and businesses is seen to aggrandize competence. For a general idea on how an empowered women can impact a framework monetarily, a study found that of Fortune 500 companies, “those with more women board directors had significantly higher financial returns, including 53% higher returns on equity, 24% higher return on sales and 67% higher returns on invested capital (OECD, 2008).This study shows the impression that women can have all round economic benefits of a Co. If implemented strategically on a global scale, the inclusion of women in the formal workforce can provide an edge to the economic productivity of a nation.
But as discussed in the initial episodes of this article, there are several challenges that are currently plaguing the issues of women’s rights in India. The native goal of empowerment can only be achieved by targeting these issues.
Studies of this paradigm say – Education is the core element that can either make or mar the authenticity of empowerment. While the country has grown from leaps and bounds since its independence where education is concerned, the gap between women and men is ruthless. While 82.14% of adult men are educated, only 65.46% of adult women are known to be literate in India. Not only is an illiterate woman damsels in distress but aloof from the errands of this cosmetic world. Additionally, the norms of culture that title the man as the alpha and omega of family decisions are gradually spoiling the society of the country.
Poverty is considered the greatest threat to peace in the world, and due to hopeless poverty, women are exploited as domestic helps and wives whose incomes are usurped by the man of the house. Even the horrifying reality of sex slaves are a direct outcome of poverty only.
The third pal of these two unpromising causes is Health & Safety. The health & safety concern of women are paramount for the wellbeing of a country, and most importantly a vital factor in gauging the empowerment of women in a country. However there are threatening statistics where maternal healthcare is concerned
In its 2009 report, UNICEF came up with shocking figures on the status of Indian mothers in India. The maternal mortality report of India stands at 301 per 1000, with as many as 78000 women in India dying of childbirth complications in that year.
We can’t deny that there are several series of programmes that have been set into motion by the Govt. and several NGOs in the country to bridge up the dead pan gap between these gender conflicts but these external bodies can only conceal the problem. If we really want to get liberated of this dual world in terms of Gender, then, the strapping pole of Marginalization must be shunned and men oriented fiefdom syndrome must be broken into unbreakable pieces.
In short, Empowerment is not an ostentatious or grandiloquence portrayal of outer self but an honest urge to get unshackled from the rotten dogmas of society and earn the power of “Self”.