The term „empowerment“ was first used in the context of political mobilisation in the1960s by activists of the Black Panther Movement in the US. Since then it has entered many fields of theory and practice
Empowerment is a process whereby women become able to organize themselves to increase their own self- reliance, to assert their independent right to make choices and to control resources which will assist in challenging their own subordination.”
Empowerment . Development must be by people, not only for them. People must participate fully in the decisions and processes that shape their lives. Investing in women's capabilities and empowering them to exercise their choices is not only valuable in itself but is also the surest way to contribute to economic growth and overall development
Empowerment involves challenging the forms of oppression which compel millions of people to play a part in their society on terms which are inequitable, or in ways which deny their human rights (Oxfam, 1995).
Feminist activists stress that women.s empowerment is not about replacing one form of empowerment with another Women's empowerment should lead to the liberation of men from false value systems and ideologies of oppression.
It should lead to a situation where each one can become a whole being regardless of gender, and use their fullest potential to construct a more humane society for all
Equal access to women to health care, quality education at all levels, career and vocational guidance, employment, equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, social security and public office etc.
Strengthening legal systems aimed at elimination of all forms of discrimination against women
Changing societal attitudes and community practices by active participation and involvement of both men and women
Social Empowerment - to create an enabling environment through various affirmative developmental policies and programmes for development of women besides providing them easy and equal access to all the basic minimum services so as to enable them to realize their full potentials.
Economic Empowerment - to ensure provision of training, employment and income-generation activities with both ‘forward’ and ‘backward’ linkages with the ultimate objective of making all potential women economically independent and self-reliant;
Gender Justice - to eliminate all forms of gender discrimination and thus, allow women to enjoy not only the de-jure but also the de-facto rights and fundamental freedom on par with men in all spheres, viz. political, economic, social, civil, cultural etc
Initiating/accelerating the process of societal reorientation towards creating a Gender-Just Society children 0-6 years from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 illustrate the most disturbing survival scene of women and the girl child in India.
Ensuring that the value added by women in the Informal Sector as workers and producers is recognised through redefinition/ re-interpretation of conventional concepts of work and preparation of National Accounts
Defining the Women’s Component Plan (WCP) clearly and identifying the schemes/programmes/projects under each Ministry/Department which should be covered under WCP and ensuring the adoption of women-related mechanisms through which funds/benefits flow to women from these sectors
Initiating action for enacting new women-specific legislations; amending the existing women-related legislation, if necessary, based on the review made and recommendations already available to ensure gender justice, besides, reviewing all the subordinate legislations to eliminate all gender discriminatory references
Expediting action to legislate reservation of not less than 1/3 seats for women in the Parliament and in the State Legislative Assemblies and thus ensure women in proportion to their numbers reach decision-making bodies so that their voices are heard
Arresting the ever-increasing violence against women and the Girl Child including the Adolescent girls on top priority with the strength and support of a well-planned Programme of Action prepared in consultation with all the concerned, especially the enforcement authorities
Expediting standardisation of a Gender Development Index based on which the gender segregated data will be collected at national, state and district levels; compiled/collated and analysed to assess the progress made in improving the status of women at regular intervals with an ultimate objective of achieving equality on par with men