Women Empowerment in India

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A Paper Presentation
On
Women Empowerment in India

Abstract:
Women Empowerment has been addressed in Various national and international communities and took various efforts to empower them so as to enhance their social and health status and involve them in development activities. In India national family health survey 1998-1999, provides an opportunity to study women’s empowerment. Women empowerment in political, economic, social, cultural and business activities plays a significant role in today’s life. There are significant divergences in the women’s empowerment across different states and socio economic and cultural settings with in India. Women’s educational levels emerged as an important predictor for all the dimensions of women empowerment. Additionally government self employment training schemes and media exposure have emerged as the important tools for women’s empowerment.

Introduction:
The couple of word “Women-Empowerment” may be defined as a multidimensional social process that helps women in gaining control over their own lives. It fosters capacity in them, for use in their own lives, their community, and in their society by acting on issues that they define as important. It is multidimensional in the sense that it occurs within sociological, psychological, economic and other dimensions. It also occurs at various levels such as individual, group, and community. It is a social process in the sense that it occurs in relationships to others. In many societies of underdeveloped or undeveloped countries women have direct links with the local environment. They work in fields and run household affairs. They can be seen collecting firewood and forest- food products etc. and carrying drinking water from far off places. Since women depend on natural resources for their survival, they gain through experience, sufficient knowledge about the protection and management of those resources. In spite of all the work and sacrifice they do for the sake of their families and the local environment, women are most neglected and unprivileged in many societies of the world. They have not been given right to speak or take a decision in important matter pertaining to families, societies and environment.

Types of Empowerment:
Economic empowerment:
Economic empowerment is thought to allow women to think beyond immediate daily survival and to exercise greater control over both their resources and life choices. For example, it enables households to make their own decisions around making investments in health and education, and taking risks in order to increase their income. There is also some evidence that economic empowerment can strengthen vulnerable groups’ participation in the decision-making. For example, microfinance programs have been shown to bolster women’s influence within the household and marketplace. The evidence also suggests that economic power is often easily ‘converted’ into increased social status or decision-making power.

The literature on economic empowerment is vast, and a large part of this focuses on the economic empowerment of women - a key strategy in addressing gender inequality. More generally, the discourse on economic empowerment centers around four broad areas: a) the promotion of the assets of poor people; b) transformative forms of social protection; c) microfinance; and d) skills training. Social Empowerment:

Social empowerment is understood as the process of developing a sense of autonomy and self-confidence, and acting individually and collectively to change social relationships and the institutions and discourses that exclude poor people and keep them in poverty. Poor people’s empowerment, and their ability to hold others to account, is strongly influenced by their individual assets such as land, housing, livestock, savings and capabilities of all types: human (such as good health and education), social (such as social belonging, a sense of identity, leadership...
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