Women empowerment Essay

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  • University/College:
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  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 795

  • Pages: 3

Women empowerment

Today we have noticed different Acts and Schemes of the central government as well as state government to empower the women of India. But in India women are discriminated and marginalized at every level of the society whether it is social participation, political participation, economic participation, access to education, and also reproductive healthcare. Women are found to be economically very poor all over the India. A few women are engaged in services and other activities. So, they need economic power to stand on their own legs on per with men. Other hand, it has been observed that women are found to be less literate than men. According to 2001 census, rate of literacy among men in India is found to be 76% whereas it is only 54% among women. Thus, increasing education among women is of very important in empowering them. It has also noticed that some of women are too weak to work. They consume less food but work more.

Therefore, from the health point of view, women folk who are to be weaker are to be made stronger. Another problems is that workplace harassment of women. There are so many cases of rape, kidnapping of girl, dowry harassment, and so on. For these reasons, they require empowerment of all kinds in order to protect themselves and to secure their dignity Women safety is a primary concern. As we know women are victimized in all walks of life – Discrimination as girls, Abuse As Adolescents, Harassment and Molestation at Work & Public Places, Domestic Abuse at Home and more

In this contemporary world, women need to gain the same amount of power that men have. Now, it is time to forget that men are the only holders of power. In India, women are still facing different obstacles in male-dominated cultures. The things are related to women’s status and their future. I believe that Indian women are slowly getting empowerment in the sectors like education, politics, the work force and even more power within their own households. The worth of civilization can be arbitrated by the place given to women in the society. we have come across a more image of gender differences. Each year, we notice that the headline as “Girls outshine boys” in CBSE, ICSE and State Board results as well. It arrests us showing that girls are now more confident of getting better-paid professional jobs than their drooping male counterparts. This achievement of girls is an absolute reversal of what would have been expected a generation ago. This is likely to guide to higher-income jobs.

When a woman can plan her family, she can plan the rest of her life. When she is healthy, she can be more productive. And when her reproductive rights — including the right to decide the number, timing and spacing of her children, and to make decisions regarding reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence — are promoted and protected, she has freedom to participate more fully and equally in society. Gender equality implies a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, outcomes, rights and duties in all spheres of life But, an upsetting place still remains for Indian women is the negative sexual attention that women often receive. Indian societies have received notoriety (ill fame) for being unsafe for women. Nearly 10 million baby girls have been killed in the last twenty years alone. Clearly, safety is an obsolete word in today’s India. It is the duty of law enforcement agencies to prevent crimes against women but they fail to solve this scourge alone. People must come forward to help in rooting out such social evils. Law enforcing agencies cannot work alone.

When the people are dynamic in their drive against crimes, the police cannot remain a mute spectator though they are supposed to be the protectors of citizens. Youth should be motivated to be socially responsible and protect women. This is the need of the hour. Everyone must think of changing society. If we all stay by the rules, women in our cities will assuredly be safer. I do think that women should also be in place of man in today’s society. As they are now highly qualified, make remarkable contributions to the economy through their paid work. These days, women have established themselves that they are equal to men. They are working in different fields with man by doing hard work. Empowering Women through Education: “Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process

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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1042

  • Pages: 4

Women Empowerment

Women empowerment

“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, 1944

Women empowerment refers broadly to the expansion of freedom of choice and action to shape one’s life. It implies control over resources and decisions. An empowered woman will be one who is self confident, who critically analyses her environment and who exercises control over decisions that affect her life. The idea of empowerment manifests itself at all levels of societal interaction. It is found in giving a voice to the weak and marginalized. It requires having an access to the needed tools and materials for the expansion of capacities. Women empowerment has five components: women sense of self worth; their right to have and determine choices; their right to have access to opportunities and resources; their right to have the power to control their own lives, both within and outside the home; and their ability to influence the direction of social change to create a more just social and economic order nationally and internationally.

In general, few people have misconception that women empowerment and gender is a foreign agenda but its only misconception women all over the world have been facing challenges and gender inequalities since the beginnings of history. If we seek help from our Glorious Quran and the Hadith then it would be clear they both also emphasise on the protection of the rights of women, including the rights of education, worship, freedom of opinion, choice of spouse, economic freedom and social role.

National development must be balanced with the equal distribution of resources to both males and females as in Pakistan females are approximately 51 percent of the total population and without the active participation of females Pakistan cannot achieve the required level of growth rate. Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947 it inherited the menace of poverty and the burden of this poverty was put heavily on female population because of the reason that the majority of females are involved in agriculture work, performing tasks to maintain household , carrying water and collecting fuel wood but their work in productive activities is unrecognised and, therefore, the female participation represented in economic activities seems to be low.

In a globalising world gender equality and empowerment of women are vital tools to achieve the sustainable development therefore It’s very important to bring women into mainstream so that they can play its due role in the development of country.

For promoting gender equality and women empowerment, the government of Pakistan has signed many international and national commitments like Convention On Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), National Plan Of Action (NPA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) despite all these international and national commitments, women are still much more than man to be poor, malnourished, illiterate and have less access to decision making, property ownership, credit, training and employment.

It is worth recalling that enhancing the participation of women in mainstream development would mean providing greater opportunities and accessibility for them to make decisions, to mange their own resources and to be self reliant. Therefore, considering the plight of women and to uplift the status of women in society, the government of Punjab has started many initiatives. One of them is the implementation of Gender Reform Action Plan (GRAP), Punjab.

The main goal of the GRAP is to bring about such changes in the structures and process of the government that it brings equity among men and women. GRAP is implementing its agenda of gender mainstreaming and women empowerment through its four key reforms ie, women employment in public sector, political participation, policy and fiscal reform and institutional restructuring. Main purpose of the GRAP is to initiate proposals for bringing about institutional reforms to include gender perspective at provincial and at district level.

To promote the gender equality and women empowerment; to highlight the importance of women representation and participation in decision making; and to motivate the women towards public and private sector employment, GRAP is organising awareness raising programmes like celebration of events, seminars, workshops and trainings at district and at provincial level that are being organised on regular basis through its three main units ie, Gender Mainstreaming Units(GMUs) at provincial level, Career Development Centers at University level and Gender Support Units(GSUs) at district level.

Moreover, for the promotion and protection of women rights, to restore the personal security and dignity of women and to give them protection at workplace, the Pakistan government has taken deliberate and conscious steps like reservation of 10 percent quota for females, on the political side, reservation of thirty three percent seats for women in all local bodies (more than 36000 women councilors), seventeen percent seats have been reserved for women in the constituent assembly, senate, provincial assembly and in national assembly, to tackle the issues of harassment and to eliminate the gender based violence.

No doubt Pakistan government has taken many measures to enhance the participation of women in economic sphere but instead of all this, there is dire need to upgrade the status of women in society and it is only possible through giving them protection legally and mentally. She should be given access and control over resources. An effective mechanism should be institutionalised to enable the women in decision making at all levels. Subject of gender studies should be introduced from secondary level in the course curriculum, provision of women friendly infrastructure and environment at workplace, research and documentation on the achievements of women and launching of awareness raising campaigns among citizens on gender and development.

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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 691

  • Pages: 3

Women Empowerment

India, which is a conglomerate of diverse ethnic, linguistic and geographical features, today is at the cusp of a paradigm change in its growth and its position in the world. However, India is even known for its sobriquet ‘male-chauvinistic nation’. Indian myths describe our country as ‘Mother India’ who is a woman that serves as the mother of every Indian. Famous American novelist of 19th century, Louisa May Alcott correctly opines- “When women are the advisor, the Lords of creation don’t take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do; then they act upon it and if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it; if fails, they generously give herself the whole”. The need for Women Empowerment was felt in India long back. Raja Rammohan Roy, the religious, social, and educational reformer and ‘the maker of Modern India’, demanded inheritance property rights for Women, gave tremendous effort to abolish the defunct custom ‘Sati’, the Hindu funeral practice.

Key figure of Bengali Renaissance, Iswarchandra Vidyasagar , championed the uplift of the status of women in India. Jyotirao Phule, Pearicharan Sarkar etc. also fought for uplift of women. Later, Mahatma Gandhi had announced at the Second round table conference that his aim was to establish a political society in India, in which women would enjoy the same rights as men and the teeming millions of India would be ensures dignity and justice-social, economic and political. I would like to peep into the past when the stature of women as destroyed. They were treated as chattel in the early Roman society. In France, they were termed as half-soul creatures responsible for the destruction of society. The Chinese considered them as devil’s soul. Japanese men preferred to live unmarried lives. Before the advent of Islam, Arabs buried their daughters alive considering them as a sign of disgrace. In this way, they deprived women of their due place.

Most men view themselves as being the superior life-form in society. They justify this belief by saying that they are stronger and more capable; thus, making them more qualified for the more important roles in society. They place themselves on pedestals and force women to believe in their own inferiority to men and their incapability to excel educationally, politically, economically and domestically. Women are more perfectionists in the power to create, nurture and transform.’ Today, women are emerging as leaders in growing range of fields. be it aeronautics, medicine, space, engineering, law, politics, education, business…you just name the profession and they are there, all that needed in today’s world in their empowerment “Study after study has shown us that when women are fully empowered and engaged, all of society benefits.

“Only in this way can we successfully take on the enormous challenges confronting our world – from conflict resolution and peace building and reaching all the other Millennium Development Goals. Women empowerment is very important for the progress and development of any nation. ADVANTAGES OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT ARE:-

-NEXT GENERATION WILL BE EMPOWERED BECAUSE OF HER
-IF WOMAN WILL BE EMPOWERED SHE WILL NOT BE A BURDEN ON ANYONE
-FINANCIAL BURDEN OF MAN CAN BE SHARED WITH HER SUPPORT
-FAMILY CAN BE MORE STRONG BECAUSE OF BOTH WORKING HANDS

Women empowerment can help in the progress and development of society but the thing is that for this woman need support of the family and her upcoming relations. If the women will be supported in fulfilling her goals so in this way she can be proved more useful member of the society. All things are not in favors of women but still we have to admit it that the typical trends for women are changing and now they are allowed to work. Alas an empowered man makes a generation but, an empowered woman make a nation.

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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1375

  • Pages: 6

Women empowerment

Since the older times, women have been treated as second rate citizens of all across the globe. The situation is almost the same everywhere-irrespective of the developed country or the developing country-caste, community, colour or creed a position which is comparable in many ways, with that of racial minorities. Women have been relegated to secondary position despite the fact that they numerically constitute about half the world population today. This situation has caused immense loss to their self-dignity as human beings and also their independent entities, associated with men, apart from other matter, in context with intellectual and professional capability. In the very beginning of civilization, women enjoyed a respectable position in society-at par with men. They actively participated in social, religious affairs as well as in warfare. The social, religious ceremonies were considered incomplete unless women participated in them. However, it was their physical constitution which acted as hurdles on the way to doing their various different difficult tasks. Gradually, they became dependent on men for food, protection for their other necessities.

It was due to the strong built-up of men they risked their lives in course of hunting and food collection. It is really ironical that superiority is not accorded to the fair sex who are responsible for carrying forward lives on this planet but to men who have muscle power with the help of which they can subjugate others. Later, woman became the epitome of procreation, and was very often associated and identified with Earth, which supported lives with all her resources. This thought inspired in men a feeling of respect and regard which was reflected in their worship of women as goddesses. Despite this elevated position that she enjoyed, and are still enjoying in the form of being worshipped as goddesses Durga, Kali, Lakshami, Saraswati, etc. However, a woman is fated to be subjected, owned, and exploited like the very nature, whose magical fertility she embodies. During the course of social development, the position of women also changed. When society was formed, patriarchy was established. Gradually, males became dominant in society. They were to write the codes for all times and obviously women were given a subordinate position. A prominent feature of hegemonic ideologies is the projection of the dominant viewpoint as universally true. Patriarchy, as an ideological assumption, works on the same principle. And, yet, even in ages of strict dominance by males, society has thrown up women of calibre, who could match, even surpass, the skills of men.

They made great progress in various fields of life and gained significant achievements as teachers, doctors, engineers, scientists, explorers, soldiers and pilots. This achievement is really plausible because they have been achieved in a highly adverse situation and at the cost of severe social criticism, indeed even ostracism. The need for women’s empowerment arises from the subordinate position they have been accorded for a long time. The empowerment has been felt as a tool to bring about changes in their socio-economic condition. It has been felt on the part of nation as well as individual that no society can progress till women, a major constituent of society, lag behind. Empowerment of women needs to begin with her participation in different spheres of life. Education is a great determinant in this regard. To achieve empowerment women have to be educated to be aware of their rights and privileges in a modern society. It is education which can bring about awareness in them related to their social status, injustice and differentiation meted out to them. Besides, economic independence is a major factor which can contribute in empowering women. India in the very beginning realised this need.

The architect of Indian Constitution was of the opinion that unless and until women are empowered, nothing was going to bring about any change in their destiny. At that time, the women, in the name of sansakaras were tied up with the bondage of superstitions, which they had to carry till the last breath of their lives. They were considered just a matter of joy and a source of amusement. She was, according the Hindu Shashtra, the bonded slave of her father when she was young, to her husband when she was middle-aged and to her son when a mother. Of course, all the epigrams, aphorisms, proverbs, platitudes and truism have been naked truth about the stature of women in India. It does not mean that efforts have not been made to bring dignity in the life of women.

There has been a long tradition of social reforms by our saints and social reformers which include: Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Mahadev Govind Ranade, and Jyotiba Phule, to name a few, who tried their best to bring changes in the life of women. Their efforts, however, bore fruit to some extent, but did not make too much difference to the lots of the masses. In this direction, Dr. Ambedkar tried to break down the barriers in the way of advancement of women in India. He laid down the foundation of concrete and sincere efforts by codifying the Common Civil Code for the Hindus and the principle is capable of extension to other sections of the Indian society.

Besides, he also made provision in the Constitution to ensure a dignified social status to women. He, by codifying Hindu Law in respect of marriage, divorce and succession rationalised and restored the dignity of women. In addition to this, the Sharda Act is also worth mentioning. It has set the seal of authority upon the piece of social reforms, which the heads of orthodoxy were imposing and impending. The Hindu Code Bill, which covers issues such as right to property, order of succession to property, maintenance, marriage, divorce, adoption, minority and guardianship, constitutes part of social engineering via law. Needless to say, it was a revolutionary measure. It was really a first step towards the recognition and empowerment of women in India. This gives a woman right to property, which undoubtedly strengthens her social position. Despite all these political measures, women’s empowerment remains a distant dream in India. In fact, political empowerment is a key to development in this society. It is a must for an all- around development of women. It is the need of the hour to ensure her participation in the decision-making at home, in community and at the national level. It is for the fulfillment of this need that the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Parliament by the BJP Government. But since then, ruling parties changed in power but the Bill could not see the light of the day.

The political parties do not seem to be honest in their perspectives. But before political empowerment, we must concentrate on imparting social education because without academic and social education, the political empowerment has failed to bring desired result as we have seen in case of 33 per cent reservation in local bodies ensured by the historic 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments. The uneducated women are quite unaware of their rights and privileges and are therefore subject to exploitation at the hands of government machinery, as well by family members. Therefore, our efforts should be directed towards the all- around development of each and every section of Indian women, not confining the benefit to a particular section of women in society, by giving them their due share.

It is a must to protect their chastity, modesty and dignity and ensure their dignified position in society. Without removing social stigma, enduring progress and development could not be achieved. For this, the
governmental and non-governmental organisations including media should come forward and play an active role in creating awareness in society. The task is not too difficult to achieve. The honesty and sincerity on the part of those involved is a must. If the lots of women change, definitely it will have a positive impact on society. Hence, the women’s empowerment is the need of the hour.

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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 414

  • Pages: 2

Women empowerment

India is a male-dominated country and here women have always been a part of harassment and domination. But still after all the hurdles in their way they have come up with lighting and bright powers in today’s scenario. Women are the powerful entities and they are always being a brave fighter in the battle of life. Women have proved that they are no longer at loss in any of the fields and they are versatile. Indian women are playing active part in strengthening the country’s democratic institutions.

“Increasing representation for women in Parliament and other legislative bodies and their active participation in election is an example of women empowerment in the country. I think that special powers and stringent laws should be implemented to save women from increasing day by day crimes.. No doubt women enjoy equal status with men but still there is a question of women safety. Till this day parents don`t prefer that their girls should work at night but still a lot of women work which is a good thing but still are apprehending.. Hope that one day this fear of safety will overcome.

India is a male-dominated country and here women have always been a part of harassment and domination. But still after all the hurdles in their way they have come up with lighting and bright powers in today’s scenario. Women are the powerful entities and they are always being a brave fighter in the battle of life.

Women have proved that they are no longer at loss in any of the fields and they are versatile. Indian women are playing active part in strengthening the country’s democratic institutions. “Increasing representation for women in Parliament and other legislative bodies and their active participation in election is an example of women empowerment in the country.

I think that special powers and stringent laws should be implemented to save women from increasing day by day crimes.. No doubt women enjoy equal status with men but still there is a question of women safety. Till this day parents don`t prefer that their girls should work at night but still a lot of women work which is a good thing but still are apprehending.. Hope that one day this fear of safety will overcome.

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Women Empowerment Essay

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Women Empowerment Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 979

  • Pages: 4

Women Empowerment

Empowerment consists of four dimensions, each equally important but none sufficient by itself to enable women to act on their own behalf. These are the cognitive or critical understanding of one’s reality, the psychological or feeling of self-esteem, the political or awareness of power inequalities and the ability to organize and mobilize and the economic or the capacity to generate independent income (Datta & Kornberg 2002). Educational settings have the potential to foster all four dimensions but require the educational program to be designed explicitly to achieve each of those ends. While the interlocking nature of these dimensions can contribute to making empowerment irreversible, the path to the development of an empowered woman is not easy.

It necessitates persistent interventions in order to break old patterns of low self-worth and dependence, and to foster the construction of new personalities with a realistic understanding of how gender functions in their society. Girls’ access to schooling in many developing countries is so low that the term empowerment has been used to mean mere participation in the formal system. This is problematic because it assumes that the experience and knowledge attained in schooling automatically prepare girls to assess their worth and envisage new possibilities.

To achieve empowerment through education, several concepts must be introduced at appropriate levels. When referring to primary and secondary schooling, empowerment should enable girls to develop the knowledge and skills to nullify and counter sexual stereotypes and conceptions of masculinity and femininity that limit the social potential of women (Parpart, Rai & Staudt 2002). This paper is a proposal to create a research study on education, women empowerment and contemporary challenges.

Aims and objectives

1. Understand the concept of women empowerment.
2. Determine the issues in women empowerment.
3. Know how education contributes to women empowerment.
4. Analyze education, women empowerment and its contemporary challenges.

Literature Review

Empowering girls should mean offering them courses with content that not only attacks current sexual stereotypes but also provides students with alternative visions of an education as a means for empowering women gender-free society. These courses should also provide them with education, not only on the anatomical and physiological aspects and consequences of sex, but also on the social aspects framing sexual relations. Schools engaged in efforts to foster the empowerment of girls should enable them to increase their participation in class, to learn not to be intimidated by boys and to speak their own minds. In that way, girls would be able to explore a more complete range of life options and develop fuller personalities (Cook 2003). An empowering education in the schools would reduce the creation of masculine norms among boys, thus decreasing their desire to be superior to girls, to avoid dealing with emotions, to set themselves as different in nature from girls and to engage in sexual conquests.

This empowering education would have to be sensitive to the age of the students, introducing knowledge and information that is progressively tailored to the increased age of the girls and boys. Students in formal schooling are capable of developing the cognitive and psychological dimensions of empowerment. The other two political and economic will most likely have to wait until they are adults. However, formal schooling can establish the basis for these dimensions. Gender and women’s studies programs have made it possible for students to gain a greater understanding of how gender forces operate in society. These programs have influenced the development and dissemination of new theoretical and methodological approaches dealing with the nature of gender, national development and social change. Further, many of the graduates of these programs have been able to embark on careers that have made a difference in the way gender functions in institutions (Staudt 1997).

Methodology

Qualitative method will be used in the study. Qualitative method thrives on understanding data through giving emphasis on determining people’s words and actions. Qualitative method has an orientation that it should gather data that can be acquired through quantitative methods. The tasks of understanding and presenting qualitative research can be very demanding and can be compared to the task of understanding statistics. In qualitative research, the researcher creates a natural setting which he/she can use to understand a phenomenon of interest. Even if the focus is on a smaller case, qualitative research usually unearths a very big amount of information from the respondent.

The research will make use of a descriptive research. Descriptive method of research attempts to describe a data that was gathered. Descriptive approach focuses on the questions regarding what things are like, not why they are that way. Descriptive research can be in the form of sociological studies which explains the social structure of a community, the changes that happened to society over the past years and an organization’s operation. A descriptive research deemed as competent creates a notion that the existence of problems would be more difficult to deny.

References

Cook, RJ (ed.) 2003, Human rights of women: National and
international perspectives, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Datta, R & Kornberg, J 2002, Women in developing countries: Assessing strategies for empowerment, Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO.

Parpart, JL, Rai, SM & Staudt, K 2002, Rethinking empowerment: Gender and development in a global/local world, Routledge,
London.

Staudt, K (eds.) 1997, Women, international development, and politics: The bureaucratic mire, Temple University Press,
Philadelphia.

Read more: http://ivythesis.typepad.com/term_paper_topics/2010/07/research-proposal-on–65.html#ixzz2IR0gAlB7

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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 5218

  • Pages: 21

Women Empowerment

“There is no chance of the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing.”
– Swami Vivekananda

The most significant and longest social movement continuing is movement for emancipation of women. Though the primary goal for women empowerment is to improve the quality of life of women but it has also deep ramifications in social, economic and political scenario of body polity. The media through its reach to people at large has been instrumental though not to the extent desired in supporting the movement for women emancipation by focusing neglect and marginalization of the position of the women in society.

It sounds intriguing how from a highly dignified position in India’s mythic history, the woman in India has been relegated to a secondary position. The vested interests of the ruling elite and the male lobby influenced by alien cultures legitimised woman as an individual of little consequence. It would be a sad commentary on the subordinate role of women in India when woman is ideally viewed as Shakti (Power), the origin of power itself but in reality found as helpless, hapless woman without any identity except that of a wife, or the mother who has very little voice in decision making and has very little by way of her own basic choice. Although discrimination against and exploitation of women are global phenomena, their consequences are more tragic in the some parts of the globe particularly in under developed countries where, ignorance, deprivation of the basic
*
Address by Mr. Justice G.N. Ray, Chairman, Press Council of India at the inauguration session of National Press Day on November 16, 2008 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. 2 necessities of life, and the ever-growing pressure of transition from tradition to modernity- all combine to aggravate the inequalities that women suffer to a point at which their existence is reduced to a continuous battle for survival. Improving the status of women is regarded as the key to narrowing the gender gap and achieving a better quality of life.

Women are under great social control and scrutiny which has restricted what they can say and where and to whom. Cultural moves in almost every social set-up determine women’s socialization in no uncertain terms. This has an important bearing on their ability to communicate and express their thoughts.

To discuss women empowerment it is necessary to deal with the present situation of women in India. I would like to briefly discuss certain key aspects related to the women which media should adequately cover and facilitate the process of empowerment of women.

Gender Inequality

A vast majority of Indian women work through out their lives but the fact is that it is not officially recognized. Statistics on work force shows low figure of women workers. There is a serious underestimation of women’s contribution as workers even though when given a chance they have convincingly proved their ability. Women’s workforce participation – the percentage of adult women who are actually working is accepted indicator of women’s status and component of the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) used in GNDP Human Development Reports. According to a survey conducted by NCW covering over 1200 women in both organized and unorganized sector it has been found that 50% experienced gender discrimination by way of physical and mental harassment of women at work.

The survey reported discrimination not only in salary but also in promotions, work distribution and working hours. Promoting gender equality was identified by the Government as priority strategic goal for the UN System in3 India under UN Development Assistance Framework. We should not forget that Gender Equality is not just a women’s issue. It is an issue for the nation.

Wage discrimination

Women generally earn a far lower wage than men doing the same work. In no state in India women and men earn equal wage in agriculture. This is equally applicable to other areas of works such as mining, trade, transport services etc. In the various work sectors average wages earned by male is more than the wages earned by female.

I would emphasize on the findings of UNDP which were published as Human Development Report concerning gender equality. It says: “Women’s work is greatly undervalued in economic term. The value of household and community work transcends market value.”

The media can certainly bring some of these biases in to light. Specially, women journalists must take up this cause. The Indian constitution makes it mandatory to give equal protection to every citizen. Thus sympathetic media, judiciary and executive should stand for this together. Reform movement too is necessary in this regard.

Crime against women

The soaring crime rates and violence against women in the country reflects women as weaker sex who are being dominated and exploited. They face violence inside and outside the family throughout their lives. The Crime Record Bureau of India’s website shows that in the year 2006 (latest data available on website) total crime reported against women was 1, 91731. Police record shows that a woman is molested in the country every 20 minutes; a rape occurs every 34 minutes and every 43 minutes an incident of sexual harassment takes place. Every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped and every 93 minutes, a woman is killed.4

Before empowerment of women can be achieved it is necessary to enable women to give voice to their experience, their sufferings, and for society to understand them as human being and respond to them with sensitivity.

Under Representation in important position

Women are under represented in governance and decision making positions. At present women represent approximately 8-9% of Parliamentary seats and less than 6% of cabinet positions. Less than 4% seats in High Courts and Supreme Courts are occupied by women. Less than 3% of administrators are women.

Health

Millions of Indian women simply lack the freedom to go out of the house in search of health services they need. According to National Health Survey – 2 only 52% women in India are not even consulted on decision about their own health. The antenatal and postnatal care are beyond the reach of many Indian women. The National Health Survey – 2 estimate mentions that some 1,00,000 to 1,20,000 women die every year due to pregnancy related causes. In some States death rate is quite high and alarming. The rate in India is quite higher than the maternal mortality rate surveyed in Cuba, China, Srilanka and Vietnam.

The majority of women go through life in state of nutritional stress. They are anemic and malnourished. Girls and women face discrimination within the family; eating last and least.
Gap on Male-Female Ratio

Men out number women in India, unlike in many countries where the case is otherwise. The main cause of the gap in the male female ratio is prevailing practice of female fetus killing specially high in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. In these states, the ratio is shockingly low as compared to other Indian states. Female infant mortality rates are higher than male infant 5 mortality rates. Sample Registration System (2000) reveals that female infant mortality rate is 74 per 1000 live birth.

The mass media needs to focus on this health issue of women. The various scheme incorporated by the govt. requires wider coverage so that women especially from economically weaker section can be benefitted from them.

Women Education

Education of women enables them to set their own priorities, seek knowledge and information to make their informed choices. The literacy rate among women continues to be lower than those for men. As per data of 2004-2005 available with the National Sample Survey, literacy rate per 1000 amongst rural women is approximately 450 and amongst urban female is almost 700. If we view overall position, there has been a positive development and female literacy rate has gone up 50% as per the National Sample Survey 1997 report. Despite this progress more than 245 million Indian women can not read and write.

Only 50% of Indian women are literate as compared to 65.5% of men. Far fewer girls than boys go to school. Even if they are enrolled, many of the girl students drop out of the school. The female adult literacy rate in Malaysia, Srilanka, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia is more than 70% and higher than that in India.

Media’s Role in empowerment of women in India

Communication is extremely important for women’s development and mass media play significant role. It is to be noted that growth of women’s education and their entry into employment have contributed to the growth of media. In all spheres of life whether for controlling population growth, spread of literacy or improving quality of life for vast masses, women have crucial role to play. However, women can be expected to play this role when they become conscious of their strength and are not deliberately marginalised by male domination. In this context, media has an important role to play – to create awakening in women to achieve their potential as the prime movers of change in society. In today’s world, print and electronic media play a vital role in effectively conveying message that needs to be conveyed.

Portrayal of women by the Media

By and large the media scene in India is that media does not address serious issues about exploitation and inequal treatment to women in different spheres but is keen in reporting sex related incidents by way of sensationalizing news of atrocities on women. Thus instead of highlighting the exploitation of woman they end up becoming one of the reasons in increase of violence as their coverage more often than not tend to glorify the crime against women. It is true that media has brought to light, as never before, certain misdemeanours against women but in a very subtle manner it also perpetuated the stereotyped image of woman as a householder and an inconsequential entity in the traditional value system.

Generally, women’s problems never figure on the front page of a newspaper unless it is a gruesome murder or a case of rape. Newspapers even on women’s page does not usually address relevant issues for women empowerment but reporting is concerned with beauty tips recipes, fashion syndrome etc. 7 It is unfortunate that there is lack of sensitivity among the newspapers in general to women and their problems. I would like to refer to the Study conducted by the Media Advocacy Group viz. “Violence against Women: Media Coverage and Representation”. The Media Advocacy Group made the following recommendations on reporting violence against the women.

(i) Media needs to take an extended, broader view of crimes against women. It has to be instrumental in conducting a social audit on factors responsible for increasing crimes, particularly against women and children, including indifferent investigative procedures, miscarriage of justice, and growing social impunity of the perpetrators of crime. (ii) It also has to be instrumental in creating an awareness among civil society of the causes and nature of the crime itself, and of the preventive measures.

(iii) When treating these issues, media has to be extremely factual and empirical.

The study also stated that the only regulation that governs a sensitive reporting on this issue is that the rape victim’s name should not be disclosed. Barring this, the study found that everything else is graphically reported. Often the victim’s family name and address is cited, making a mockery in the letter and spirit of the regulation. Though much of this violation and malpractice are committed by a small group of publications, others are spurred on to imitate and keep pace with the sensational trend. Therefore, I urge the media to take a serious look on the issue and do self-regulation and self-monitoring with extreme care and caution.

Aarushi murder case is another prime example of irresponsible and sensational reporting by the Media. The gruesome murder of a teenage girl for days have been the sound basis of increased TRPs of the News Channels. The media both electronic and print are morally and legally bound to avoid sensationalisation of news relating to victims of crimes. The Press Council of 8 India had already drawn guidelines on the subject and appeals to media to follow them meticulously while reporting atrocities on women/child. It is important for me to refer at this point of time to, also an important issue that greatly and gravely impacts women in overt as well as covert manner, the HIV/AIDS reportage by the media. The Press Council had focused on the issue way back in 1993 when the AIDS was treated as an incurable ‘epidemic’ and anyone who contacted it was pariah. The prime sufferers of such ostracization were the women, being treated as an important cause and carrier of the so-called desease.

Much water has flown down the ganges, since then and with medical advances, it has become necessary for the media to focus on the issue with not just a proactive but positive approach. Therefore, the Press Council has in consultation with the UNDP and the activists of the field redrawn the guidelines for media reportage that find place in the souvenir that is to be shortly released. I hope that guidelines, in the form of easy to refer ‘Dos’ and Don’ts’ and detailed ones for indepth understanding of the issue, will find place on the desk of every media person and their coverage of the HIV/AIDS stories will help the world handle the issue with greater sensitivity.

Limited coverage in Media

Newspapers cover women’s problems drawing the attention of policymakers to issues requiring immediate attention such as the adverse sex ratio, infant and maternal mortality, crime against women and the effects of poverty on women and their families. But this coverage is very limited with the rest of the space occupied by cinema actresses, models, video jockeys (veejays) and the rich women and their hobbies. Many of the women’s magazines are devoted to fashion, glamour, beauty aids, weight reduction, cookery and how to sharpen ‘feminine instincts’ to keep men and their inlaws happy. There are comparatively fewer articles on career opportunities, health awareness, entrepreneurship, legal aid, counseling services, childcare9 services and financial management. A study in this regard was conducted in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Two regional newspapers and two English newspapers were selected for the study. Prominent newspapers only publish 5% of women related issues and 8% are published on main page and remaining are placed inside. Study showed no importance is given to development issues of women. In the television serials women are the central characters, but they are portrayed largely as tormentors or the victims while the men very often take sideline and just seem caught in a web of unfavourable circumstances. Television culture has portrayed a breed of weak, indecisive men ensnared by sexy women when in reality men also play an active role in oppressing women in various ways including subjecting them to physical assault, rape, pushing them into the sex trade and even abandoning them. It is only desirable that serials should be close to reality and give message to the viewers where and how the society is going wrong.

This portrayal of women in media has led the National Commission for Women to recommend amendment in the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition Act), 1986. The NCW wants to include new technologies like MMS and the electronic media and some which were left out side the ambit of the Act like posters and TV serials which perpetuate stereotypes of women. Explaining the reason for including soaps in proposed amendment in the Act, National Commission for Women has stated that “women are either being portrayed as Sita (Ramayana) or as Kaikayee (Ramayana) and there seems to be nothing in between the two extreme characters being shown in Soaps. Divorces, adultery are highlighted frequently in Soaps where characters break the law without repercussion.”

Negative images or just portraying reality is not enough. Infact, it can often be harmful. It has been observed that sheer duplication of the dark side of life can often lead to apathy and passivity. This can be avoided by10 depicting the positive images or success stories of women in whatever sphere they happen.

There is need to produce programmes that talk about income generating schemes for women. Unfortunately, in these kinds of ventures typical “womanly jobs” like papad-making, sewing, embroidery, pickles making etc. are propagated. Stress should be given on non-traditional skills which can break the myth that women are suited to certain kinds of jobs only. A systematic survey of the existing schemes (Government/nonGovernment) and presentation of the analysis and changes needed to upgrade the schemes which would make them more purposeful is essential. The distance between women and media not only deprives the women of their right to information and knowledge but also keeps the women in the dark regarding the blatant misuse of the female and the distortion of the truth.

Although the images of women as reflected by the different mass media in the country are not very different, it will be an interesting exercise to study how these images feed and reinforce the stereotypes. The distortion of realities by the media has increased the gap of understanding between the different sections of society. Effective informative communication is one of the most important channels for the growth and development of women in the informal or unorganized sector, as without information regarding services and benefits available through legislation, government schemes, banks and voluntary organizations, women can hardly take advantage of them. Thus the media should take into consideration the following points.

(i) The media must project the working women in the unorganized sector as worker and not merely as performing the duties of wife/daughter. They being major earners, they must be projected as producers and not merely consumers.11

(ii) The media should make deliberate attempts to not only project the problems of women in poverty, but should monitor in such a way that conflicting role models are not depicted, nor derogatory references to their work are made.

(iii) To improve content and coverage, coordinated efforts for increased interaction between NGO’s, women’s social action group, research organizations, institutes of mass communication, and the media personnel should be developed.

There are quite a few Reports findings on the complex issues relating to women empowerment. Very often the media come up with study on women related subjects which more often than not are driven by market forces. One study claims that women prefer men with hybrid cars while another says women are genetically devised to shop. Then there is a study which says women are more attracted to bad boy types. This reveals that women have become new research subject mostly in less significant areas. In fact, research is necessary to understand women in its potentiality to usher in a new era. It is difficult to distinguish between genuine research and studies that are gimmicks more so when news reports do not identify where these studies are coming from.

A large proportion of the research findings published in major news outlets today is sensationally packaged to draw attention. This is where the media must step in to help readers to know relevant facts concerning women empowerment. It will be only appropriate if in the interests of full disclosure, they should make clear in their reports who was funding the study and which scientific journal published it. This information can help readers to decide for themselves which pieces of research are closer to the truth and which are not.

Various studies were undertaken on the women and media to ascertain how the media portrays women and how the women related issues are presented, how much significance is given to them. Such study has revealed that issues pertaining12 to development of women are never emphasized adequately. Women are portrayed not for feminine beauty and artistic portrayal but for infusing sex appeal more often than not entering the arena of obscenity. It is necessary to have dispassionate in-depth study by social activists and media to ascertain why obscenity has risen so much in media. Unless there is any change in the social perception of women, it will be difficult to curtail obscenity in media.

Women Journalist in Media

In such a rapidly changing environment, women in media have a large responsibility in not only changing attitude towards women but also shaping public opinion. With women holding responsible position in newspapers or electronic media, their competency should extend to a wider area and a range of issues. More importantly, a woman journalist is expected to show more sensitivity to issues relating to women and to more meaningful insights and perspectives.

Like most professions, in the media too, women have struck out boldly, beating a path, which is both impressive and inspiring. The last five years have seen them pouring out into the mainstream, acquiring hitherto unattainable positions and proving their mettle, be it the print or the television media. In short, women have become indispensable in the field. Women’s organizations and media groups must play an active role in promoting this change. It is heartening that a wide variety of women’s media initiatives are making a positive impact.

Women have been latecomers in media profession owing to social, religious taboos which operated as social sanctions. The employment of women in media assumes crucial importance at this juncture of our economic development. Beside Independent Public Corporation of Media (DD&AIR),13 the private owners of TV channels with ownership of Terrestrial outlets and satellite up linking facilities in country itself have flourished. This has brought a boom in employment thereby increasing the percentage of women media professionals.

The rough estimates however show that although the number of women in both the media has increased in absolute terms, their ratio to men has more or less remained static. A deliberate policy for ensuring adequate representation of women both in the public and private sectors of the media is therefore a must, not only for giving women a source of livelihood but also to ensure their adequate and effective representation, and to make the media truly national and representative in character.

A significant number of women journalists are very successful in magazines dealing with various problems of women and child. With sensitivity and skill for analyzing events in depth, issues such as women abuse and exploitation, harassment of women at workplace and the trauma of HIV infected women, female infanticide in rural areas find a prominent place in such magazines. The magazines deal with the issues more in depth compared to newspapers and women are considered competent to handle such stories. As per a study in the NCR there are around 900 women journalists and even in cities like Chennai the number is impressive 200. Journalism is no more a male domain.

This new trend has also led to a change in the portrayal of women in the media in general and newspaper in particular. It will not be out of context to mention here the success of ‘Khabar Lahariya’. A group of eight women belonging to backward class bring out this paper from the Bundelkhand region. This paper which is being funded by an NGO was started with an aim to encourage women to fight for their own rights. such kind of initiative are required in every nook and corner of our country, so as to empower the women at grass root level.

The risks women in the media face, both in the urban and rural areas, have also to be seriously considered. As we move down, from the14 metropolitan towns and the state capitals, the risks increase. At the district and taluk levels, from where the bulk of the print media is published, and which are more news-worthy places for the local and regional news contents, there is more conservation, more rigid social outlook and greater resistance to social change and new trends. In these areas women join new professions like journalism sparingly. In remoter rural areas a woman journalist and particularly a reporter is a novelty not easily accepted and assimilated in the social milieu.

The result is media women have to work almost in isolation particularly at the ground levels, if they are at all employed. The cases of sexual assault and harassment of women reporters are very often reported. Women in such cases have to take a calculated risk in joining the profession. Odd hours of job make the women journalists vulnerable. Recent murder of Ms. Soumya Vishwanathan, Producer of News TV channel in Delhi shows women journalist workers are more exposed to the risk of physical assault, even their life.

It is noticed that more and more young graduates are joining the journalism degree and diploma courses, with an ambition to make a mark in the profession, and quite a good proportion of them are girls. With the rapid expansion, almost a proliferation of the electronic media through satellite channels, with the popularity of the FM on the radio and with the growth of the print media, notwithstanding the electronic media, now there is a good scope for absorption of both men and women qualified journalists in various media outlets. Women, young and old, are prepared to weather the risks. The society, therefore, must make arrangements to provide adequate security to the vulnerable section of women in the media to promote their participation at all levels.

I find extremely appropriate here to refer to the recommendations made by the Joshi Committee regarding positive portrayal of women on Doordarshan. But these recommendations are equally relevant to all form of media. These recommendations, if followed in letter and spirit would certainly 15 go in long way in enhancement of women’s empowerment and facilitate drastic reduction in cultural biases as well as gender biases. They are 1. The women’s issue one of the utmost significance to the country as a whole and there is need for a widespread understanding that the nation cannot progress, as long as women are left behind as the lesser half of society.

Therefore, the improvement of women’s conditions, status and image must be defined to be a major objective for media channels. 2. The Government must at the earliest formulate clear guidelines regarding the positive portrayal of women on television. This portrayal must take note of women in all facts of their lives: as workers and significant contributions to family survival and the national economy: it must further endeavour to integrate women on terms of equality in all sectors of national life and the development process. These guidelines must emphasis that the “women’s dimension” must from an integral part of all programmes and not be merely confined to Women’s Programmes, nor to isolated attempts to discuss women’s issues.

3. The number of commercial formula films screened must be drastically reduced, the cheap song-and-dance sequence totally eliminated and the content of such programmes carefully scrutinized in terms of their portrayal of women.

4. Women must not be portrayed in stereotyped images that emphasis passive, submissive qualities and encourage them to play a subordinate secondary role in the family and society. Both men and women should be portrayed in ways that encourage mutual respect and a spirit of give and take between the sexes.

5. The foreign exchange resource should be spent on importing worthwhile educative programmes, particularly those that show the roles, lives and struggles of women in neighbouring and other Third World countries so that a greater understanding and a shared perspective on problems is built. 16

6. It is necessary to ensure that a large number of rural women gain access to TV. Therefore, in the placement of community TV sets preference should be given to the meeting place of Mandals; Mahila Mandals should also be involved in the community viewing arrangement.”

Everywhere the media has the potential to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women. They can create self-regulatory mechanisms that can help to eliminate misleading and improper gender based programming.

Media, which wields immense power in a democracy – a power which is only expanding and not diminishing, needs carrying out a focused attention about women- related issues and the portrayal of women. It is, perhaps, necessary that the stabilizing force of women must be brought home to the Indian people. In every family and society, there is an ethical and spiritual space, which has been traditionally dominated by women. The principal character in Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion bemoans, ‘why can’t woman be like man!’ The media can play a salutary and a liberating role to give to the women the distinctive and the exclusive space, which must belong to them to enable them to generate the ethical and moralizing impulses for the entire society.

The subject Women and Media is quite relevant in the present day context. From this platform the discussion on the subject is being initiated. The debate on this issue is being proposed to be discussed at the State level and the Press Council is keen that seminars and workshops on this subject are organised at different States and at different levels. I sincerely hope that this initiative will be fruitful. Let this beginning be auspicious (Aiomaramba Subhaya Bhabatu).

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Women Empowerment Essay

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  • Words: 352

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Women Empowerment

Since the older times, women have been treated as second rate citizens of all across the globe. This situation is almost same evrywhere irrespective of the developed countries or the developing countries. Women have been relegated to secondary position despite the fact that they constitute about half the world’s population today. This situation has caused immense loss to their self-respect and dignity.

But now the perspective of the society has changed and a general thinking to work for the empowerment of women is being developed so that they colud also contribute in the enhancement and welfare to the society. The freedom of women is not without challenges. Breaking the age old barriers and storming into a predominantly male bastion are something they have to fight for. Even as they are becoming aware about their rights and demands, the voilence and crime againt women is increasing. History is the witness that the women had enjoyed a privileged position in the ancient India.

It is a matter of pride that there existed a culture. Women also struggled for India’s independence. They too have a great contribution in getting India independent like Rani Lakshmi Bai who sacrifised her life as to get India free from Britisher’s and slavery. When the constitution was formed,there the constitution makers introduced various measures in the constitution to held women’s rightful place in the society. They were given freedom to partivipate in the social,political, economic and cultural life of the nation.

However,in spite of the constitutional and legal guarantees aiming to eradicate the inequality and discrimination in any form, the plight of women still remained far from improved. Even today evils like child marriage, beating, female infanticide and gender discrimination are widely, prevalent in the society. The realisation is taking place in the various structures of the society and the women themselves try to raise their voice against the discrimination and the violence by the male dominated society.

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Women Empowerment

“When women are the advisor, the Lords of creation don’t take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do; then they act upon it and if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it; if fails, they generously give herself the whole”.- Louisa May Alcott Gender equality is, first and foremost, a human right. A woman is entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and from fear. Empowering women is also an indispensable tool foradvancing development and reducing poverty. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and to improved prospects for the next generation. Yet discrimination against women and girls – including gender-based violence, economic discrimination, reproductive health inequities, and harmful traditional practices – remains the most pervasive and persistent form of inequality and also decrease in child sex ratio.

Women and girls bear enormous hardship during and after humanitarian emergencies, especially armed conflicts. They usually have less access than men to medical care, property ownership, credit, training and employment. They are far less likely than men to be politically active and far more likely to be victims of domestic violence. The ability of women to control their own fertility is absolutely fundamental to women’s empowerment and equality. Gender equality implies a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, outcomes, rights and obligations in all spheres of life. Now let us come to our country, India today is at the cusp of a paradigm change in its growth and its position in the world. We (both men and women) must act decisively to capture this opportunity. We need to think big and scale up rapidly in each and every area, be it education, infrastructure, industry, financial services or equality of both genders.

For around two centuries, social reformers and missionaries in India have endeavored to bring women out of confines in which centuries of traditions had kept them. According to the 2001 Census, the percentage of female literacy in the country is 54% up from 9% 1951. But we should not forget that history in a witness to the women who have in the past demonstrated unique leadership capabilities. Razia Sultana, Rani of Jhansi, Sarojini Naidu and Indira Gandhi are motivation examples of women empowerment. Earlier, most women were able to demonstrate the leadership qualities only on their home fronts, as in Indian society man has always acted as the master of the scene and the decision regarding the issue of empowering women has always been taken by him. God has gifted women with compassion, tender-heartedness, caring nature, concern for others. These are very positive signs which imply that women can be leaders.

Though some women have shown their mettle yet a large number of them have to sharpen their leadership qualities in various ways. In order to help women to be in limelight, they need to be empowered. Therefore, empowerment of women is the prerequisite to transform a developing country into a developed country. empowerment has multiple, interrelated and interdependent dimensions economic, social, cultural and political. It can be understood in relation to resources, perceptions. relationship and power. Women empowerment generally has five components : firstly, women’s sense of self worth; secondly, their right to have the power of control their own lives, both within and outside home; and lastly, their ability to influence the direction of social change to create a just social and economic order nationally, internationally and universally. Educational attainment and economic participation are they key constituents in ensuring the empowerment of women.

Educational attainment is essential for empowering women in all spheres of society, for without education of comparable quality and content given to boys and men, updated with existing knowledge and relevant to current needs, women will be able to have access to well-paid formal sector jobs and advance with men. The economic empowerment of women is a vital element of strong economic growth in any country. Empowering women enhances their ability to influence changes and to create a better society. Other than educational and economic empowerment, changes in women’s mobility and social interaction and changes in intra-household decision-making are necessary. Slight improvement in women’s involvement in household decision-making in male-headed household, on such issues as credit, the disposal of household assets, children’s education and family healthcare can work wonders. Traditionally, gender based divisions persisted in intra-household decision-making.

Women basically decide on food preparation and men make the financial decision. Women are one of the greatest assets in our society. They equal to men in all aspects. Women are more perfectionist in the power to create, nurture and transform.’ Today, women are emerging as leaders in growing range of fields. be it aeronautics, medicine, space, engineering, law, politics, education, business…you just name the profession and they are there, all that needed in today’s world in their empowerment. In India, the empowerment process has already begun. scholarship programmes aimed to bridge gender gap in education should take into consideration the context in which it is implemented, the actual needs of the people it wants to help, without overlooking external socio-economic, political, cultural and infrastructural factors with potential influence on the effective presence and success of girls in school.

We are now witnessing a steady improvement in the enrollment of women in schools, colleges and even in profession institutes. Their health is better as compared to earlier decades. In this decade, women are entering into the job market in increasing numbers. They are showing their skills even in non-traditional sectors like police, defence, administration, media and research fields. Twenty-six laws have been enacted so far to protect women from various crimes. The recent law on the ‘protection of women against domestic violence’ satisfies the long pending demand of the women activities. In the political field, the reservation for women is a significant step forward towards their political empowerment. When thirty-three percent reservation for women in Parliament becomes a reality, women’s voice will be heard in the highest forum of democracy.

The day, women of India will reach zenith in their empowerment. But a lot of work has to be done as there is a category of women (who consider themselves highly educated) that proudly accepts that they don’t have digital literacy even though they own a computer, they cannot even operate bank accounts or make travel arrangements for family or handle hospital admissions even during emergencies. Even for a simple task like social visits or shopping generally they need the company of their husbands. Some qualities to be acquired by women to become truly empowered are awareness about risk prevailing at home, in work place, in traveling and staying outside home. They should have political, legal, economic and health awareness. They should have knowledge about support groups and positive attitudes towards life.

They should get goals for future and strive to achieve them with courage. The best gift parents today can give to their daughters is education. If women choose to be ignorant then all the efforts taken by the Government and women activists will go in vain. Even in twenty-fifth century, they will remain backward and will be paying a heavy price for their dependence, So, it is a wake-up call for women to awake from their deep slumber and understand the true meaning of their empowerment. In the end I would like to conclude with the following words, “Women as the motherhood of the nation should be strong, aware and alert”.

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  • University/College:
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Women Empowerment

AMRITSAR: Women education and the resulting women empowerment was the major concern of the society at large. It was because educated women could play a significant role in the overall development and progress of the country , this was observed by Ritu Aggarwal, Chairperson, Hospital Welfare Section, District Red Cross Society while talking to media persons here on Wednesday.

District Red Cross Society provides free of cost sewing machines to help the widows to be self independent and training in beauty care, stitching and computer operations to girls from economically backward strata.

“Empowerment of women is the key device which enables them to resurrect their status multifariously in the society and reconcile to share virilities of the fast developing world” she said .

Detailing the activities of District . Red Cross Society during the year 2012-13, she informed that 76 widows were provided sewing machines for being self independent. Besides 30 girls have been imparted training in beauty courses.

She informed that the students undergoing training in beauty courses were provided professional tips from beauty experts of national repute. Similarly many girls had learnt stitching from the two stitching centers run by the society.

Pangoora Scheme, run by Society, which has proved to be a boon for the unwanted girl child and has earned national and international recognition has been successful in saving the lives of 64 infants. ” The society was also successfully running a shelter home for the homeless and has been successful in rehabilitating 780 inmates and sending 950 others back to their homes “said Ritu.

Women are increasingly seen as an important part of the international development agenda. Empowering women and promoting gender equality are enshrined as global development objectives within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed to in 2000. Despite the empowerment of women widely being viewed as a “good thing”, the question of how development interventions can contribute to making progress along the long and winding road of female empowerment, and so enable women to make more choices about their own lives, is a contentious and debated area. The road to empowerment: practical versus strategic needs

On the one hand, for some, poverty and disempowerment go hand-in-hand. As income poverty goes down, so do women become more empowered. Development interventions which focus on “practical gender needs”, including women’s income and material assets, will therefore lead both to reduced poverty and to increased female empowerment. Microcredit and women’s savings groups are examples of interventions which, through a focus on practical gender needs, aim both to reduce income poverty and contribute to women’s empowerment. Critics of this view, on the other hand, argue that such an approach fails to address the root causes of disempowerment, notably women’s unequal position in society relative to men. It burdens women with additional responsibilities; they are already responsible for running the household, and this increasingly has to be combined with income generating activities. Rather than development working for women, women are working for development.

Instead, it is advocated that development agencies focus on “strategic gender needs”, including removing institutional discrimination and claiming rights from the state. These are normally achieved through collective action and bottom-up struggles. Development activities facilitate the achievement of strategic gender needs through uniting women, raising their awareness, and encouraging their mobilization so they receive what they are entitled to and begin to overturn the unequal structures within society. This article examines the processes resulting from the implementation of a programme which is primarily based on the achievement of women’s practical needs, but aims to combine this with a strategic component by raising women’s awareness and group-based livelihoods training. Integrating economic opportunities with an awareness of rights The goal of the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) is to reduce extreme poverty.

The first phase of the programme, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and operating between 2004–10, targeted around 55,000 extremely poor households living on the chars (islands) of the Jamuna River, in northwest Bangladesh. The programme gave women within targeted households GB£100s worth of investment capital to spend on a range of productive investment options (the majority purchased cattle). In addition, these women also attended training sessions on how to manage their investment. These components of the programme aimed to open up economic opportunities for the women.

Another major component of the programme was a social development curriculum, with female beneficiaries meeting in groups over a period of 18 months to discuss and be taught about a range of topics, including the illegality of “social evils” such as dowry, child marriage and domestic violence, and also their entitlements from the state. Over the period of a year from September 2008, I undertook focus group discussions, informal conversations and semi-structured interviews with 143 female beneficiaries in four villages. This fieldwork commenced 17 to 21 months after these beneficiaries had received the investment capital, meaning that by the end of the fieldwork period, everyone interviewed had finished their direct involvement in the programme. Did the CLP approach contribute to female empowerment?

The short answer to the question “Did the CLP approach contribute to female empowerment?” is “yes”, though this needs to be qualified. In particular, it should be emphasized that empowerment is not guaranteed. Most women are becoming more empowered, with programme activities contributing to this, but this is not the case for everyone. The transfer of investment capital specifically to women has reduced their economic dependence on their husbands. Female beneficiaries, with very few exceptions, have maintained control over their cattle. Through rearing livestock on their homestead — an activity which conforms to the traditional role of women in rural Bangladesh — women are directly contributing to gaining income from them. Female beneficiaries have not felt overburdened by this additional responsibility. Rather, they enjoy having cash-in-hand which they can choose to spend on small purchases, such as school books and cooking pots.

Limited employment opportunities for women on the chars, combined with the social unacceptability of women undertaking paid work outside the home, means that this is a first for many women who previously always had to ask their husbands for money. Using an economic entry point has not just resulted in economic changes in the lives of these women, but has also had spillover effects into other areas. For instance, due to their contributions to household income, women now have a greater say in small household decisions, such as how much money their husband should spend at the market. There are, however, very few examples of women influencing decisions about strategic life choices, including having children or purchasing a large piece of agricultural machinery. These decisions still tend to be made by the husband. Perhaps the most important change is the decline in domestic violence.

Here, the empowerment of individual women is starting to translate into wider changes in the social acceptability of domestic violence. Psychological empowerment, manifest through improved self-esteem, is widespread, stemming from a more secure livelihood and a greater sense of hope for what the future holds. This change has contributed to the election of 17 female beneficiaries, across the approximately 700 villages where the CLP operated, as Union Parishad (local government) members during the 2011 elections. However, on the chars the process of individual empowerment is only just beginning and, in some instances, is constrained by existing social norms. For example, through the social development curriculum all the women know that dowry payments (given by parents on their daughter’s marriage) are illegal.

The costs of not following this practice though, are so great that most households continue to follow it. Not paying dowry may mean that your daughter cannot get married, or has to marry an “unsuitable” man (maybe becoming a second or third wife). Female beneficiaries do not even realize that, to an outsider, their limited ability to move in public spaces (particularly the market) maintains them in a subordinate position to men, limiting their choices. They are not aware that there is an alternative. Where empowerment is occurring, how are CLP activities contributing to this process? There are three mechanisms at work, a combination of the processes resulting from the transfer of investment capital and the social development curriculum: 1.Group meetings and training have given women more self-confidence and a greater feeling of solidarity, for instance, to stand-up for another woman if she is a victim of domestic violence. 2.Women’s control over cattle and their direct contribution to household income, through helping rear them, have improved their position to make decisions over the purchase of small household items.

3.Overall improved household material wealth and food security have greatly contributed to reducing domestic violence, with husbands being less hungry, having a greater sense of purpose and seeing more hope for the future. In addition, women in single-person households no longer have to work as maids, hugely increasing their self-respect. Moving beyond the ideological dichotomy of practical and strategic needs Analysis of CLP interventions shows that, when reducing extreme poverty, it is not a case of “either” meeting practical gender needs “or” achieving strategic needs. Rather, short-term material gains and reduced insecurity can provide a platform for changing intra-household relationships and empowering women beyond the economic realm. The approach of the CLP ensures that practical gender needs are met while also providing a material base which can contribute to achieving strategic needs.

The balance which interventions give to practical and strategic needs, and the sequencing of these interventions, depends very much upon the operating context. For women living in extreme poverty an initial focus on practical needs, which acknowledges the daily imperatives of survival, is likely to be most appropriate. However, it is clear that using an economic entry point is insufficient for ensuring strategic needs. In particular, women need to expand their understanding of the choices which are available. Raising awareness of rights through social development interventions is one way of doing this. Knowledge, however, is only a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition of changing behaviours and social norms, especially over the short time period. Awareness-raising should be accompanied by other interventions which reduce the economic and social risks associated with individuals making particular choices.

This may mean involving men in social development activities, aiming to reduce the potential for recriminations as their wives become more empowered. It is naïve to think that women living in extreme poverty will not have to struggle to progress along the road of empowerment. Whether this is through engagement in economic activities, or through mobilizing against the powerful to claim their rights, women will have to work hard. Clearly, empowerment for some is likely to mean loss of power for others. It is not easy for women to renegotiate existing relationships or to negotiate new ones. Development activities should both build the capacity of women to do this and also ensure that they have the material support and social networks, not just to overcome any recriminations, but to be able to enjoy an increased ability to make choices about their own futures. In recent years, the rate of new business formed by women has significantly outpaced the rate of new business formed by men across all ethnic groups in the United States. Similar trends are found across the developing world.

Why, then, do women still own and manage significantly fewer businesses than men? To what extent does the behaviour of female entrepreneurs in terms of traits, motivations and success rates, and their gender-related distinctiveness, provide an answer? Despite a growing literature, more research on female entrepreneurship is needed, particularly in developing countries, where we are seeing a growing number of initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and empowering women in the process. The latter tendency reflects a growing interest in female entrepreneurship in developing countries (which, in turn, is due to greater interest in the role played by entrepreneurship in economic development).

Women have been assigned a special role not only because they stand to benefit from entrepreneurship, being the gender that is poorer and suffers from more discrimination, but also because they are seen as a critical driver of entrepreneurship in light of their unique role in the household and the rise in female-headed households across the developing world. The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) project on Promoting Entrepreneurial Capacity turned its focus towards a fresh look at female entrepreneurs in developing countries. The resulting research was published as a special section of the European Journal of Development Research. This article provides a brief overview of some of the key findings and recommendations contained in the special section of that journal. Some stylized facts from three decades of research

What stylized facts have we learned from the past 30 years of research on female self-employment and new business creation? For one thing, we know that significantly fewer women than men own and manage businesses worldwide. This could be because women fail more often than men, or because fewer women than men start businesses to begin with, or both. However, evidence suggests that, after correcting factors such as the size of the business and sectoral distribution, women’s failure rates are not that significantly different from those of men. Thus, at least a portion of the difference between genders must be due to the fact that fewer women than men start businesses.

Evidence to date suggests that a variety of factors contribute to explaining observed differences in entrepreneurial behaviour across genders and that such differences have significant implications at the macroeconomic level. Perhaps women and men have different socioeconomic characteristics and, if we were to correct factors such as education, wealth, family and work status, those differences would disappear. Indeed, quite a bit of empirical evidence shows that such differences do exist.

Also, women tend to possess less experience then men and to concentrate in different sectors. In addition, the propensity of women to start a business may differ from that of men for cultural reasons, such as discrimination. The businesses owned and managed by men and women are also different. We now know that women’s businesses tend to be smaller and to grow less than those owned by men. Also, women’s businesses tend to be less profitable than those of men and to generate lower sales turnover (even in same-industry comparisons). Maria Minniti (2009) provides a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the literature on women entrepreneurs and their businesses.

Female entrepreneurs in developing countries

What do we know about female entrepreneurship in developing countries? Do the “stylized facts” briefly noted above also apply in the context of a developing economy? The general question is whether the characteristics and role of female entrepreneurship vary across countries at different stages of development. Recent evidence shows that prevalence rates of female entrepreneurship tend to be relatively higher in developing countries than in developed countries. This traditionally has been explained by the fact that women in developing economies face higher barriers to entry in the formal labour market and must resort to entrepreneurship as a way out of unemployment (and, often, out of poverty). Research on female entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, found very high rates of female entrepreneurship in the poorest countries of the region (up to 35 percent in Peru).

Only 13 percent of women entrepreneurs in the region, however, indicated that they expected their firm to grow over the following five years. In many cases opportunities and incentives are unfavourable to women who wish to begin businesses, even when they have the abilities and knowledge. Asking what variables are systematically associated with female entrepreneurship, and whether there are differences when countries at various levels of economic development are considered, is another way to look at the issue. It was found that the variables associated with entrepreneurial decisions tend to be the same for men and women and across countries, regardless of level of development, and that gender differences in entrepreneurial behaviour tend to be remarkably stable across countries. The intensity with which each of these variables influences individuals, however, does vary significantly across gender and across countries depending on their level of development. As a result, on average, participation rates for men tend to be 50 percent higher than those of women, thus creating a “gender gap” in entrepreneurship.

Gender gaps in start-up activity are larger in middle-income countries, whereas they tend to be narrower in lower-income countries. This is probably because many women start businesses out of necessity. Surprisingly, women in poorer countries tend to be more self-confident about their abilities (skills and knowledge) to become entrepreneurs and are less afraid of failure compared with women in middle- and high-income countries, notwithstanding subjective and possibly biased perceptions about self-confidence, fear of failure, and existence of opportunities or significant and systematically associated determinants of the gender gap across all countries.

Women in developing countries, like their counterparts in more developed ones, rely more than men on extended families which, in many rural settings are often their major (or only) social network. This is often constraining, since women’s marriage status, and the assets and incomes brought to their marriages, emerge as important determinants of their entrepreneurial decisions. Married women with young children are more likely to enter entrepreneurship than waged labour, and are more likely to be entrepreneurs than non-married women. On the other hand, they are also more likely to quit a business voluntarily.

As far as the performance of female entrepreneurs’ firms is concerned, the evidence from developing and developed countries is somewhat similar. Women tend to have lower growth expectations, and their firms tend to grow slower in both sales and employment than those of men even if one controls for sectors. Some evidence suggests that women in many developing countries are primarily concerned not with growth but rather with survival. This may be a reason for the finding that habitual female entrepreneurs in developing countries tend to be portfolio rather than serial entrepreneurs, as they attempt to diversify income sources and survival chances.

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