Women have long been oppressed under the guise of weaker gender. Gone are the days when women were thought to be delicate and puny. The coming age of women is not just strong willed but also physically strong. They are headstrong and are bringing a change in the society. The new age woman is not just brilliant at jobs & entrepreneurship but also equally good at being the perfect home-maker. It is not just the urban women but rural counterparts have equally contributed to the new light in which people see a lady. However, growth is a continuous process and a lot needs to be done to empower them.
Securing Rights of Women & Girls in India
Basic human rights should be provided to everyone, irrespective of the gender. Gender biasness has long kept women from discovering their true potential. Women empowerment does not just mean providing females the basic rights but it also comprises of all the activities and initiatives undertaken to help them reach the heights they deserve. They should be kept away from child marriage, domestic violence, sexual harassment and many such practices.
Women empowerment does not begin at the workplace, it starts at home. One should make sure the women in their home are free to choose what to wear, to be a home-maker or not, what career to pursue etc. They should be encouraged to follow their passion and not just kept at homes considering them to be a weaker gender. They should be educated and made aware of the social evils so that they do not fall into the spiral of child marriage, teen pregnancy, malnutrition, dependency, domestic abuse, trafficking etc. It is rightly said, if you educate a women, you educate a whole family. Various NGOs such as ActionAid India have initiated projects to secure the rights of women & girls in India.
Women Introducing Herself to India
Women foeticide has been an age old problem in India. Although it has been criminalized by the court of law decades ago, still, a lot needs to be done. Pre-natal sex determination has been prohibited so as to stop female foeticide. Many governmental programs have been launched for this initiative – save the girl child, beti bachao, beti padhao and many more.
ActionAid India runs a program, beti zindabad for the same cause. People are made aware that females do not belong to a weaker gender and should not be considered as burden. With the ever increasing number of successful women in the society, the age old norm of ‘lady = home maker’ is slowly dying. Indra Nooyi, Geeta Menon, Mira Nair, Saina Nehwal, Chitra Ramakrishna, P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Arundhati Bhattacharya and Dipa Karmakar are a few names breaking the barriers of society, for better. ActionAid India is battling to defeat the demons of patriarchy which propogate that men are superior to women. Everyone has to join hands to empower women and help them attain gender equality, wage parity, social justice and fight dowry deaths, forced pregnancies, early marriage and domestic violence etc.
Fight against Rights Denial and Injustices
Women have been long deprived of their rights. They have been kept away from voting, being a part of father’s estate, decision making, owning property, equal wages, sign a contract and what not. Women rights are part of basic human rights and should not be denied because of gender discrimination.
In developing countries like India, gender discrimination has led to wider reaching injustices. Government and NGOs work to bring transformative change in the lives of females, which comprise of 48% of country’s population. Women rights have been granted by the constitution of India to raise the oppressed gender. Many social injustices like Sati Pratha, purdah system, honor killing, marital rape, bride burning, acid throwing, domestic violence, eve teasing, forced marriage, rape and many more have been criminalized. To empower the country’s women, we need to make drastic changes in our thinking; constitutional women rights signify a battle just half won.
Livelihood Rights of Women
Major problems associated with livelihood rights of women arise due to lack of awareness among women. Rights specifically provided to females in India like Right to privacy, right to untimely registration, right to zero FIR, right to virtual complaints, right to no arrest, right to not being called to the police station, right to confidentiality etc. should be widely publicized so that the possessors can exercise them in need of hour. So to empower the women of the coming age, we must first make her aware of her rights so that she does not become a victim to injustices and circumstances.
Providing livelihood rights to women in the constitution is not the end of the war against inequality. To bring women at par with the men of the society, a lot needs to be done. It is not just the duty of the government but, the mindset of the society needs to change radically. India is still a country where we look down upon the victim of rape, so the question of women’s rights is far-fetched. The imperative change needs to be made in our minds rather than in the constitution.
It has been rightly said, ‘Women have been called queens for a long time, but the kingdom given them isn’t worth ruling.’ So, empowering women is not a small process but a movement towards development for which everyone should join hands. ActionAid India has been working for decades to achieve this higher objective and bring women at par with the men of the society. It is not just the society which hampers their growth but also they themselves restrict themselves to adjust according to the narrow minded beliefs. Women should break the shackles and should not adjust with the freedom allowed to them. It is only with the combined efforts of all the citizens that the war against gender discrimination will be won. Only then can the economic empowerment of women be signed on the world map. More power to you!