WOMEN EMPOWERMENTMrs. Sahbanthul Missiriya, M.A., M.Sc (N), M.A. Child care & Edu., Ph.DAssociate Professor,Community Health Nursing Department,Saveetha College of Nursing,Saveetha University, Chennai -77
Jawaharlal Nehru“You can tell thecondition of theNATION by lookingat the status ofWOMEN.”
INTRODUCTIONA clear vision is needed to remove the obstacles to thepath of womens emancipation both from thegovernment and women themselves.Inthe past, women were treated as mere house-makers.They were expected to be bound to the house, whilemen went out and worked. This is still in a few parts ofthe country one of the major reason because of whichcertain evils took birth in our society child marriage,female infanticide, women trafficking.
DEFINITION Empowerment is increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities and often involves developing confidence in one’s own capacities. WOMEN EMPOWERMENT is the ability of women to exercise full control over one’s actions.
DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILEIndias Population: 1.07 billion Sex Ratio of Population: 930 women per 1000 men Literacy rate : Males : 75.96 % Females : 54.28 %
Often the lame excuse is women are the ‘weaker sex’! But biological evidence proves, due to the presence of two X hormones women are more resistant to diseases compared to men. Life expectancy is a proof of this. (In our country life expectancy of women is 65 whereas for men it’s only 60 years).
OBSTACLES & STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME Built a constant rapport sharing the notable developments at the organization Systematic reinforcement and perpetuation of traditional, male- dominated Attitudes by most of the subsystems of society : education, law, judiciary, media Working at curative & preventive levels with varied target groups
LEVELS OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT Welfare Access Conscientization Mobilization Control
WELFARE Welfare means an improvement in socio- economic status, such as improved nutritional status, shelter or income. Here it is the zero level of empowerment, where women are the passive recipients of benefits that are given from on high.
ACCESS Access to resources and services stands forthe first level of empowerment, since womenimprove their own status, relative to men, by theirown work and organization arising fromincreased access to resources and services.
CONSCIENTIZATION Conscientizationis defined as the process, by which women collectively urge to act to remove one or more of the discriminatory practices that impede their access to resources. Here, women form groups to understand the underlying causes of their problems and to identify strategies for action for gender equity.
MOBILIZATION Mobilisation is the action level of empowermentby forging links with the larger womensmovement, to learn from the successes ofwomens similar strategic action elsewhere and toconnect with the wider struggle.
CONTROL Control is the level of empowerment when women have taken action so that there is gender equality in decisions making over access to resources, so that women achieve direct control over their access to resources.
STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT The government has passed many laws so as to empower the women. These rules have empowered them socially, economically, legally and politically. Not only the government but various non- governmental organizations have done a lot so as to improve the status of woman in our society.
EDUCATION Mahatma Gandhi:- “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family.” Our predominant patriarchal system doesn’t provide enough chances for women to have higher education even if they wish. Girls should be motivated to take up higher education. Universal education for all below 14 years should be strictly implemented.
EVIL PRACTICES Child marriages have also been stopped. Dowry system still remains the major reason for all the discrimination and injustice shown to women. Dowry has always been an important part of Hindu marriages. Not only among Hindus, its evil tentacles are now spreading to other religions also. Although dowry was legally prohibited in 1961(Dowry Prohibition Act), it continues to be highly institutionalized.
The Jogini system in Andhra Pradesh is another social evil that requires to be eliminated. In this system, women are forced to leave their houses and follow the temple concubine system. Then there are also other problems like domestic violence to be eliminated. .
“Bride Burning”, the burning of women whose dowries were not considered sufficient by their husband or in-laws. Most of these incidents are reported as accidental burns in the kitchen or are disguised as suicide. It is evident that there exist deep-rooted prejudices against women in India. It is to be eradicated completely.
OCCUPATION Women should be allowed to work and should be provided enough safety and support to work. Legislatures such as Equal Remuneration Act, Factories Act: Constitutional safeguards such as maternity relief, and other provisions should be strictly followed. Poverty eradication policies need to be implemented. Macro economic policies would help in this drive. Through economic empowerment women’s emancipation could be realized.
POLITICAL SYSTEM Increased the participation of women in the political system In Panchayat Raj System where women have been given representation as a sign of political empowerment There are many elected women representatives at the village council level. However their power is restricted, as the men wield all authority. Their decisions are often over-ruled by the government machinery.
TAMIL NADU GOVERNMENTMahalir Thittam: Mahalir Thittam is a socio-economic empowerment programme for women implemented by Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women Ltd. Mahalir Thittam is based on Self Help Group (SHG) approach and is implemented in partnership with Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community based organizations. The SHG approach was started in a small way in Dharmapuri district in the year 1989.
FOCUS AREAS:1. Social and Economic Development2. Capacity Building3. Income Generating Activities4. Micro-Finance5. Micro-Enterprises6. Entrepreneur Development7. Vocational Training Programme8. Skill Development Programme9. News Letter:–Mutram10. E-Governance Activities
•Empowerment would become more relevant whenwomen are actually treated as equal to men.• Men are the only one who can earn a living for thefamily, has to be removed.•Further, women should be better educated , betterinformed – only then can take rational decisions.• Meanwhile, a woman needs to be physically healthy inorder to work equally. This is sadly lacking in a majorityof women especially in the rural areas.• They have unequal access to basic health resources andlack adequate counseling.
• There is no doubt that the status of women has improved a lot.•Thus,a clear vision is needed to remove the obstaclesto the path of womens emancipation both from thegovernment and women themselves.•Efforts should be directed towards all round developmentof each and every section of Indian women by givingthem their due share.•But despite all these measures there should be a strongdetermination among every man that every woman in this countryshould be honored.•Only then empowerment in its true meaning will be realized.
CONCLUSION Allthis shows that the process of gender equality and womens empowerment still has a long way to go and may even have become more difficult in the recent years.
Swami Vivekananda had said “That country and that nation which doesn’t respect women will never become great now and nor will ever in future” and in pursuit of making India a great nation, let us work towards giving women their much deserved status.