Women’s Empowerment

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Mar 2018 11:23:14


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It takes a lot for an ordinary woman to fight the odds and make a mark. There are societal bindings of culture and tradition that stifles many possibilities. Every woman, who she reaches somewhere in life, has a long story of struggle behind her.


The number of women CEOs, bankers, managers, leaders, players, scientists is on the rise, even if slowly. The picture is still much better than what it was a couple of decades back. Women’s voices are more heard today in various forums and platforms.


NOTING that women have achieved great heights in all spheres of life Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has voted for more women in the Armed Forces. Speaking at an event organised by women officers of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) in New Delhi, Sitharaman called upon them to grab every opportunity coming their way saying “blanket rejection” of males or females should be completely avoided.


She rued that women had achieved great heights in their area of specialisation but such examples were not sustained. It is true that the success stories of Indian women have been phenomenal on the one hand but have been few and far between on the other hand. The successes have not been sustained through and women have not come up the way they should have been.


Despite marked progress, their numbers in the professional sector are still limited, especially when compared to the West, where the proportion of women in various professional sectors is much higher. Life in India is difficult.
It takes a lot for an ordinary woman to fight the odds and make a mark. There are societal bindings of culture and tradition that stifles many possibilities. Every woman, who reaches somewhere in life, has a long story of struggle behind her. Life itself is a struggle; for women, the impediments are many more compared to their male counterparts. It is a global reality.


The commitments of motherhood and familial life are many, which every woman has to honour and balance with her hectic professional life. A mother or a wife naturally and inherently has twenty four hour commitment towards her home, which makes it a tough call for them to excel professionally. But it is their acumen and tenacity that they manage both beautifully.


A male member mostly is unable to balance the two when the situation calls for it. Women are the epitomes of patience, perseverance and sincerity and they bring these things into the professional sphere that improves the work culture of an office and lends it a new perspective and balance.


More and more offices are today hiring women but unfortunately, the cases of sexual harassment and subtle discriminations at workplace are also rising. Since the mindset is still patriarchal and feudal, women still don’t get their fair share and people tend to downplay their successes or even stall their progress by various manipulations.


The potentialities of many women are scuttled even inside the family by the father and/or the husband. For many people, women are still meant for household work and rearing children. Even their education is compromised and they are not given sufficient financial authority and freedom at home.


Their thoughts are guided and conditioned and their ideas are laughed at. These may be extreme instances but they are realties of the Indian society. It is forgotten that the mother is the child’s first teacher and beacon light. If the mother’s stature in home is compromised, the child’s character formation is compromised. Mindset is difficult to change, especially when formed by religion and history.


It takes eons to bring about a positive change and there is no medicine for that except a combination of facts like spread of education, exposure to modern trends and awareness, and these things take time to have an effect.
This is why India is waking up, but slowly and in small measures. In a country where about 50 per cent of the population is comprised of women, we don’t have the same percentage in our workforce; not even close.


Women parliamentarians and leaders are dismally low in India compared to other countries. Social security is a big factor that decides the progress of women in any country. It is a sorry fact that in India even that is in poor shape.
Rape and abuse, kidnapping, exploitation and harassment are widely prevalent that make it doubly difficult for women to go out of the home and do something in life. Unless there is adequate police and legal support, it will always be difficult for women in India to make it big in a big way.


We will continue to have stray success stories but our women deserve much more than that. Indian women are among the strongest, mentally and physically, despite the fact that more than half of them are anemic and don’t get proper food or rest. Illiteracy and female infanticide are still the banes the country has not been able to come out of.
We have several unsavoury and regressive factors in society that pull down the progresses we make. But the good thing is, despite the odds stacked against them, women are progressing. More of them are getting out of their confines and making their presence felt in productive pursuits.


The number of women CEOs, bankers, managers, leaders, players, scientists is on the rise, even if slowly. The picture is still much better than what it was a couple of decades back. Women’s voices are more heard today in various forums and platforms. One big section of the middle and upper middle class population is certainly looking progressively outwards and other marginal and deprived sections are also imbibing that section.


The societal perception is gradually giving more space to women today because it has been compelled to. Women have fought their way in and that truth cannot be reversed. Everywhere the story of women’s resurgence is the same. Even in the most advanced of nations, women had to give a tough fight to men and their mindset to make the smallest of headways.


Even voting rights were not granted to them till very recently. Relatively, India has a glorious history of women’s empowerment. Women took part in all major social decisions in India even 5,000 years ago. It is only in the last few centuries that under the Mughal and British influences, women took a back seat. But in the modern era, we just cannot do without them.


They are an important cornerstone of development and no country can ever become great if her mothers and daughters are not free, secure and educated, with ample opportunities to prosper. Nirmala Sitharaman is herself a success story and an inspiration for millions. So are many others. By the way, they are the icons and pride of India. India deserves many more such brave daughters to take her to new heights. If the Government is committed and determined to make things conducive for them, women can certainly make it still bigger. It has launched hundreds of schemes for women’s empowerment in the last 3-4 years and if they are rightly utilised by the stakeholders, we can certainly have a better India to live in and be proud of.