Women Empowerment

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WOMEN AND MEDIA
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Justice G.N. Ray
“There is no chance of the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing.”
- Swami Vivekananda
The most significant and longest social movement continuing is movement for emancipation of women. Though the primary goal for women empowerment is to improve the quality of life of women but it has also deep ramifications in social, economic and political scenario of body polity. The media through its reach to people at large has been instrumental though not to the extent desired in supporting the movement for women emancipation by focusing neglect and marginalization of the position of the women in society.

It sounds intriguing how from a highly dignified position in India’s mythic history, the woman in India has been relegated to a secondary position. The vested interests of the ruling elite and the male lobby influenced by alien cultures legitimised woman as an individual of little consequence. It would be a sad commentary on the subordinate role of women in India when woman is ideally viewed as Shakti (Power), the origin of power itself but in reality found as helpless, hapless woman without any identity except that of a wife, or the mother who has very little voice in decision making and has very little by way of her own basic choice. Although discrimination against and exploitation of women are global phenomena, their consequences are more tragic in the some parts of the globe particularly in under developed countries where, ignorance, deprivation of the basic
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Address by Mr. Justice G.N. Ray, Chairman, Press Council of India at the inauguration session of National Press Day on November 16, 2008 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. 2 necessities of life, and the ever-growing pressure of transition from tradition to modernity- all combine to aggravate the inequalities that women suffer to a point at which their existence is reduced to a continuous battle for survival. Improving the status of women is regarded as the key to narrowing the gender gap and achieving a better quality of life.

Women are under great social control and scrutiny which has
restricted what they can say and where and to whom. Cultural moves in almost every social set-up determine women’s socialization in no uncertain terms. This has an important bearing on their ability to communicate and express their thoughts.

To discuss women empowerment it is necessary to deal with the present situation of women in India. I would like to briefly discuss certain key aspects related to the women which media should adequately cover and facilitate the process of empowerment of women.

Gender Inequality
A vast majority of Indian women work through out their lives but the fact is that it is not officially recognized. Statistics on work force shows low figure of women workers. There is a serious underestimation of women’s contribution as workers even though when given a chance they have convincingly proved their ability. Women’s workforce participation - the percentage of adult women who are actually working is accepted indicator of women’s status and component of the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) used in GNDP Human Development Reports. According to a survey conducted by NCW covering over 1200 women in both organized and unorganized sector it has been found that 50% experienced gender discrimination by way of physical and mental harassment of women at work. The survey reported discrimination not only in salary but also in promotions, work distribution and working hours. Promoting gender equality was identified by the Government as priority strategic goal for the UN System in3 India under UN Development Assistance Framework. We should not forget that Gender Equality is not just a women’s issue. It is an issue for the...
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