Women Empowerment

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AMRITSAR: Women education and the resulting women empowerment was the major concern of the society at large. It was because educated women could play a significant role in the overall development and progress of the country , this was observed by Ritu Aggarwal, Chairperson, Hospital Welfare Section, District Red Cross Society while talking to media persons here on Wednesday.

District Red Cross Society provides free of cost sewing machines to help the widows to be self independent and training in beauty care, stitching and computer operations to girls from economically backward strata.

"Empowerment of women is the key device which enables them to resurrect their status multifariously in the society and reconcile to share virilities of the fast developing world" she said .

Detailing the activities of District . Red Cross Society during the year 2012-13, she informed that 76 widows were provided sewing machines for being self independent. Besides 30 girls have been imparted training in beauty courses.

She informed that the students undergoing training in beauty courses were provided professional tips from beauty experts of national repute. Similarly many girls had learnt stitching from the two stitching centers run by the society.

Pangoora Scheme, run by Society, which has proved to be a boon for the unwanted girl child and has earned national and international recognition has been successful in saving the lives of 64 infants. " The society was also successfully running a shelter home for the homeless and has been successful in rehabilitating 780 inmates and sending 950 others back to their homes "said Ritu.

Women are increasingly seen as an important part of the international development agenda. Empowering women and promoting gender equality are enshrined as global development objectives within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed to in 2000. Despite the empowerment of women widely being viewed as a “good thing”, the question of how development interventions can contribute to making progress along the long and winding road of female empowerment, and so enable women to make more choices about their own lives, is a contentious and debated area. The road to empowerment: practical versus strategic needs

On the one hand, for some, poverty and disempowerment go hand-in-hand. As income poverty goes down, so do women become more empowered. Development interventions which focus on “practical gender needs”, including women’s income and material assets, will therefore lead both to reduced poverty and to increased female empowerment. Microcredit and women’s savings groups are examples of interventions which, through a focus on practical gender needs, aim both to reduce income poverty and contribute to women’s empowerment. Critics of this view, on the other hand, argue that such an approach fails to address the root causes of disempowerment, notably women’s unequal position in society relative to men. It burdens women with additional responsibilities; they are already responsible for running the household, and this increasingly has to be combined with income generating activities. Rather than development working for women, women are working for development. Instead, it is advocated that development agencies focus on “strategic gender needs”, including removing institutional discrimination and claiming rights from the state. These are normally achieved through collective action and bottom-up struggles. Development activities facilitate the achievement of strategic gender needs through uniting women, raising their awareness, and encouraging their mobilization so they receive what they are entitled to and begin to overturn the unequal structures within society. This article examines the processes resulting from the implementation of a programme which is primarily based on the achievement of women’s practical needs, but aims to combine this with a strategic component by raising women’s awareness and group-based...
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