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  3. 3. INTRODUCTION The empowerment of women refers to providing the necessary rights and responsibilities to women in order to make them self-reliant. Traditionally, Indian women have been brought to become workers or servants to serve the man – dominating world. Even in mythology, there is no gender equity and women were deprived of their legal rights, to get property, education privacy, social status and they were never treated as participants in any developmental works. Empowerment is the process of building capacities of women, creating an atmosphere which will enable people to fully utilize their creative potentials. Empowerment gives women, the capacity to influence decision making process, planning, implementation and evaluation. The status of women empowerment in India using various indicators like women’s household decision making power, financial autonomy, freedom of movement, political participation, acceptance of unequal gender role, exposure to media, access to education, experience of domestic violence etc based on data from different sources. Gender gap exists regarding access to education and employment. Household decision-making power and freedom of movement of women vary considerably with their age, education and employment status.
  4. 4. EMPOWERMENT Empowerment strategies are varied and refer to those strategies which enable women to realize their full potentials. They consist of greater access to knowledge and resources, greater autonomy in decision making, greater ability to plan their lives, greater control over the circumstances that influence their lives and finally factors which would free them from the shackles of custom beliefs and practices. Unless they themselves become conscious of the oppression meted out to them and show initiative to push forward it would not be possible to change their status much.
  5. 5. Women’s Empowerment Principles in Brief 1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality. 2. Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination. 3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers. 4. Promote education, training and professional development for women. 5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women. 6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy. 7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality
  6. 6. WOMEN'S EDUCATION IN INDIA Although in the Vedic period women had access to education in India, they had gradually lost this right. However, in the British period there was revival of interest in women's education in India. However women's education got a fillup after the country got independence and the government has taken various measures to provide education to all Indian women. As a result women's literacy rate has grown over the 3 decades and the growth of female literacy has in fact been higher than that of male literacy rate. While in 1971 only 22% of Indian women were literate, by the end of 2001 54.16% female were literate. The growth of female literacy rate is 14.87% as compared to 11.72 % of that of male literacy rate. Gender discrimination still persists in India and lot more needs to be done in the field of women's education in India. The gap in the male-female literacy rate is just a simple indicator. While the male literary rate is more than 75% according to the 2001 census, the female literacy rate is just 54.16%.
  7. 7. Action Plans  All Central and State Ministries will draw up time bound Action Plans for translating the Policy into a set of concrete actions, through a participatory process of consultation with Centre/State Departments of Women and Child Development and National /State Commissions for Women. The Plans will specifically including the following: - i) Measurable goals to be achieved by 2020. ii) Identification and commitment of resources. iii) Responsibilities for implementation of action points. iv) Structures and mechanisms to ensure efficient monitoring, review and gender impact assessment of action points and policies. v) Introduction of a gender perspective in the budgeting process.
  8. 8. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN 1. Growing economic participation 2. Improvements in social development indicators 3. Access to technology, including information technology
  9. 9. Growing economic participation  Economic empowerment constitutes one of the fundamental building blocks in efforts towards the overall empowerment of women. Participation in formal economic activities on terms and conditions which reflect the productive capacity of women, and their control over their own incomes, are some of the important dimensions of economic empowerment.  Although the increasing work participation of women has been viewed as part of the general employment boom created by the export-led economic expansion, female labour-force participation rates have tended to increase more than those for men in the Asian and Pacific region, suggesting that women's economic participation has been a critical feature of the region's quest for the economic empowerment of women
  10. 10. Social development Fertility rates have declined in the region, even though the total fertility rate and the average number of children per woman remain high (over four) in several countries in the region. The fertility rates on average remain high in those countries of Asia where female literacy is low and opportunities for outside work participation are limited. It is therefore increasingly accepted that, in addition to reflecting general conditions of economic growth and the availability of both health care and birth control facilities, fertility rates also serve as a proxy for women's general empowerment. This is because these rates are closely linked to the literacy and educational status of women, age at marriage, and other important features of women's status.
  11. 11. Access to technology Promoting access to productive resources and social support systems constitutes one of the fundamental building blocks in efforts to empower women in the region. Access to productive resources such as credit, technology, infrastructure, marketing links and networking facilities can significantly enlarge opportunities for women to engage in formal economic activities and improve their social status. In that regard, promoting access to new and emerging technologies, including information and communication technology, has become a powerful tool for women's empowerment.
  12. 12. CARE and Women’s Empowerment  CARE has always worked with women and girls alongside men and boys in our poverty- fighting programs. But over time, we have shifted from understanding poverty as a phenomenon of unclaimed rights as well as of unmet needs, and now have a greater appreciation of the humanmade, structural elements that underlie the poverty of entire groups of people.  Individuals change: Poor women become actors for change, able to analyze their own lives, make their own decisions and take their own actions. Women (and men) gain ability to act by building awareness, skills, knowledge, confidence and experience. and  Structures change: Women and men, individually and collectively, challenge the routines, conventions, laws, family forms, kinship structures and taken-for-granted behaviors that shape their lives – the accepted forms of power and how these are perpetuated. and  Relations change: Women and men form new relations with other social actors, form coalitions and develop mutual support in order to negotiate,be agents of change, alter structures and so realize rights, dignity and livelihood security.
  13. 13. Violence against women All forms of violence against women, physical and mental, whether at domestic or societal levels, including those arising from customs, traditions or accepted practices shall be dealt with effectively with a view to eliminate its incidence. Institutions and mechanisms/schemes for assistance will be created and strengthened for prevention of such violence , including sexual harassment at work place and customs like dowry; for the rehabilitation of the victims of violence and for taking effective action against the perpetrators of such violence. A special emphasis will also be laid on programmes and measures to deal with trafficking in women and girls.
  14. 14. “ ” If we’re going to talk about women’s empowerment, we have to talk about the problem of sexual violence. It’s great if the head of the community development committee is a woman. But if she’s going home and getting raped every night by her brother-inlaw, is she empowered? No.” Kassie McIlvaine, CARE’s Director in Burundi Exemplery punishment to juveniles(those below 18 years of age)involved in heinuos crimes,such as rape and murder,by amending the juvenile justice(care and protection of children)act 2000.The JJ act should not be understood as a piece of legislaton that protect men alone.It applies equally to women also.Before 2000,boys aged under 16 years were provided protection under the act.The age for boys was raised to 18 after deep deliberation.Therefore,in my view,there is no need to thinker with the enactment
  15. 15. Conclusion “When women move forward the family moves, the village moves and the nation moves”. It is essential as their thought & their value systems lead the development of a good family, good society & ultimately a good nation”. Indian government has taken several steps towards empowering women. Empowerment of women also requires participation and co-operation of men as they benefit by having educated mothers, wives, daughters and sisters. The economic empowerment will allow raising women's self awareness, skill development, creative decision making and it may also lead to produce better citizens and a new and modern India.
  16. 16. Adopted from  IFAD/OE. 2000. The Republic of India: Tamil Nadu Women's Development Project: Completion Evaluation, Report 340-IN. Rome, April.