Playing multiple roles in families, women have already proven their worth, but still their condition on social and economical fronts has not been up to the mark and in many parts of the world they are forced to lead a miserable life. In such a scenario, it calls for immediate attention to empower them and create conducive environment for their social and economic upliftment.
Women Empowerment is Urgent for Integrated Development
Women empowerment is a must for the betterment of any country’s future as they play dual responsibilities of managing their families while simultaneously juggling to earn to contribute in fulfilling the material needs of their families. No one can ever ignore the importance of the role of a mother, sister, or a daughter in their families. At the same time, women have also established themselves as equal contributors in managing the financial requirements of their homes. On international level as well, women have successfully created their unbeatable position, but they are just a handful in comparison to their not so fortunate counterparts.
Remarkable Performance in sports: On various international platforms, women have successfully proved that if given a chance they can perform no less than their male counterparts and the recently concluded RIO Olympics bears a testimony to this fact. No one can ever forget the names of RIO stars – Sakshi Malik, PV Sindhu and Dipa Karmakar – who became successful in breaking the barriers of gender to raise India’s national flag high in front of the whole world. There is no denial to the fact that in a male dominated country like India, it would have been really hard for them to emerge out of the various prevalent taboos to achieve such positions of eminence.
Victims of Discrimination: Due to long prevailing gender discrimination and dominance of men in the Indian society, women have been suppressed in their families and society at large. Even they have been prone to violence and various discriminations by the male members, even in their own families. The situation is no different in many other countries of the world. Except some European nations most of the other countries in the world are prone to serious gender discrimination, akin to India.
A Long Way to go: In rural areas, the condition of women is far from satisfactory and their contribution to the economy is also negligible. Though they make for almost 50% of the population of the country, they have not been empowered enough to get equal opportunities in realizing their fullest potential. In such condition, we can say that our country cannot become a developed nation unless we empower women in the true sense of the term. It is very necessary to pay proper attention to their development by providing them equal opportunities in all areas of human activity.
Winds of Change: Though Women have been given a special place in every religion, many ill practices have been going on against women as a norm since ages. But positive changes are now visible and the patriarchal system of society has been gradually eroding. Women are now claiming the socio-political rights (right to work, right to education, right to decide, etc) for themselves.
The successive governments have implemented various constitutional and legal rights to help women lead purposeful and meaningful lives. There is an increasing awareness about women’s rights which is evident in the emergence of several NGOs and self-help groups. At the individual level too, women are now breaking the shackles of suppression and making their voices heard for their rights.
The Parliament of India too has passed various legislations to save women from various forms of injustice and discrimination. Following are some of these laws to empower women: Equal Remuneration Act-1976; Dowry Prohibition Act-1961; Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act-1956, Medical termination of Pregnancy Act-1971; Maternity Benefit Act-1961; Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act-1987; Prohibition of Child Marriage Act-2006; Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act-1994; and Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Protection and) Act-2013.
More recently, in the wake of Nirbhaya case involving the rape and brutal murder of paramedical student in Delhi, the government has passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015. This Act makes a significant departure from the earlier Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, as the juvenile age inviting punishment for offence now stands reduced from 18 to 16 years.
Conclusion: If we want to bring about women empowerment in the true sense, there is a crying need for the elimination of the male superiority and patriarchal mindset. Also, women need to be given equal opportunities for education and employment without any sense of discrimination. Unless there is attitudinal change in society towards women, merely arming them with legal and constitutional rights will be simply inadequate.