Based on the assumptions that women differ from men in their social positions and that those differences consist of asymmetric, unequal power relations between the genders, “women’s empowerment” refers to the process of increasing women’s access to control over the strategic life choices that affect them and access to the opportunities that allow them fully to realize their capacities.
Women’s empowerment as an economic, political, and socio-cultural process challenges the system of sexual stratification that has resulted in women’s subordination and marginalization in order to improve women’s quality of life.
NGOs are doing various bits, as no single NGO can cover the whole gamut of activities required for comprehensive empowerment
1. Education on maternal health, and safe child birth
2. Nutrition and child care
3. Education of the girl child (nearly 20% of girl children drop out of school before puberty)
4. Toilets in schools and public places
5. Savings for college education for the girl child (sukanya samriddhi)
6. Training in livelihood skills
7. Microfinance for small businesses, through SHGs (Self Help Group)
8. Shelter for victims of domestic violence and abuse of any kind
9. Free legal aid and guidance for victims of abuse (sexual harassment, acid attack, child marriage, dowry harassment)
10. Lobbying for women’s rights
Women empowerment can be achieved through provision of adequate education facilities, political support, and effective legislation system and employment generation for women.
NGO’S and the self-help groups (SHG) play a very vital role towards women empowerment by providing basic education, vocational training, training for self-employment, legal aid, protection for women and self-awareness programs.
Women’s Empowerment in India
Indian culture emphasises respecting women, as a form of Devi.
We all talk of gender equality, woman empowerment and female education; but how far has it been achieved in reality? In many ways, the lot of women is very less changed in reality. Though the Indian woman is well educated, today, she still faces a lot of challenges and problems, whether she dwells in rural areas or urban.
Why does a woman go to work?
Today’s Indian woman works at home, as well as earns a livelihood. To mark her identity, to be independent, to earn a living, to run her family or to support her husband run the family…; there are numerous reasons today women step out of their home, to work and to earn. Due to economic pressures, as well as being more aware and educated, women today are taking up new roles and challenges of work and career.
Multiple roles of women
Very deftly, women play multiple roles (as a daughter, sister, wife, daughter-in-law, mother…) and are multi-taskers; one who cook food, does the domestic works, raises kids, and cares for everyone. Her tasks and challenges have increased , what with juggling between career, managing kids, husband, house, social and religious obligations.
Challenges Faced By Women
Discrimination at Work.
Discrimination starts at the very level of recruitment and interview, where recruiters/interviewers see women incompetent for challenging roles and ask questions like whether she would be able to continue after marriage ? these questions are not asked to male candidates.
Challenges to Safety, Life and Dignity
Sexual harassment, theft, molestation, eve-teasing, etc. are some of the daily challenges working women face .
Non-acceptance of working woman, despite the additional income
A working woman who is beautiful or well-groomed or presentable or is friendly with everyone and is progressing in her career is disrespected , instead of being complimented and made to feel disgusted and feel guilty for being smart and intelligent.
As already mentioned, women have to complete their household chores, even if she is working in the corporate world and has a challenging role as a professional. Though there are other members in the family, she is expected do the lion’s share of the work. The woman has to cook food, take care of kids and all other household duties and the male counterparts may volunteer at times but their assistance is given as a favour.
Juggling Between Work, Home, Relationships and Personal Life
Amid all the multiple roles, the so called “empowered woman” handles to big a workload, leading to a lot of stress. This work style deprives her of sufficient rest, sleep, leading to physical health issues, too.
Ego of Male Counterpart
Today’s males do support women to go out and work, but this is restricted and not wholehearted. If the lady of the house, becomes more successful than him, they find it hard to accept the progress and achievement of women.