EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN INDIA
“Authentic empowerment is the knowing that you are on purpose, doing God's work, peacefully and harmoniously.”-Wayne Dyer, American motivational speaker.
According to McLeod, the concept ‘Empowerment’ derives from Latin word 'potere' which means "to be able”. From the view of sociological aspect, empowerment is a multi-dimensional, multi-tiered and multifaceted concept. The term empowerment has different meanings in different socio-cultural and political contexts. World Bank Report 2000/2001 describes empowerment as a process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. According to country report of Government of India, “Empowerment means moving from a position of enforced powerlessness to one of power” 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. While such a woman looks after every Indian child, women in general are simply being disregarded at the dominant men's best. 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 Laxmibai, Sarojini Naidu and Indira Gandhi are the 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 of women had come out of the consensus arrived at the 40th Session of the UN commission on status of women in New York on March 11, 1996. In this session ‘Empowerment of Women’ has been depicted as conferment of power by means of law in all matters affecting gender interests, related to family well-being and socioeconomic national affairs, providing for participation in decision making in all such matters.
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.
Empowerment of women needs to begin with her participation in different spheres of life. Education is a great determinant in this...
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