Daughters of India
Concept: Women Empowerment in India
What is empowerment?
- Empowerment is the ability to make choices and transform all those choices into proper outcomes and desired actions.
- An educated, self-dependent, self-motivated, and decision-making woman is an empowered woman.
Why is women’s empowerment important for society?
- Empowering women and making them independent needs to be done for humankind to progress.
- Women should have equal rights and opportunities to participate in education, economics, and politics.
- Women must understand the value of self-worth.
- They should influence each other and boost the economic growth of the country.
Few facts regarding the status of women in India:
- Only 29 % of women serve in the national workforce.
- Crimes against women are not always reported to the police station.
- In the villages, many girls suffer from malnutrition.
- Women also suffer from domestic violence.
- In many situations, a girl child is not allowed to complete her education.
Factors that prohibit women empowerment in India:
1. Lack of education:
- Lack of education among women is more prominent in rural areas than urban areas.
- In low-income families, parents do not encourage girl children to complete education and be self-dependent.
- Completing education and getting a good job is a long process, and the parents do not have the patience and time for that.
- Parents even think investing money for a girl child’s education is a waste; instead, they would spend that money on the girl’s marriage.
- If a girl child is discouraged from pursuing education, she does not feel interested and loses motivation.
- Sometimes parents encourage them to go for vocational courses before completing education.
- These courses may help them earn, but primary and secondary level education is necessary to become self-sufficient.
2. Leaving school without completing education:
- Many girls leave school before completing their education for various reasons.
- Sometimes parents are not able to provide education due to financial crises.
- The lack of a supportive environment may cause students to drop out early.
- Parents encourage their girl children to provide support in household work because they think that in the future, they will be doing the same.
- Sometimes female students drop out and start working at various places for minimum wages as they think it can help their family to sustain themselves.
- In many areas, female students stop going to school because of distance and security reasons.
3. Child marriage:
- Child marriage is banned in India and is a punishable offence.
- Each year many girls under the age of eighteen get married in India.
- According to the law of the land, girls cannot get married until they are twenty-one years old.
- The reason for child marriage could be different in different localities.
- In many places in India, child marriage is a social practice, so the parents allow this medieval practice even today.
- Sometimes parents prefer their girls to get married because of social security.
- Suppose a family with two or three girls suffers from a financial crisis. In that case, the parents always try to get their girls married instead of saving for education.
4. Child labour:
- When a female child below fifteen years of age participates in any labour work in return for money, she is considered child labour.
- There are many causes behind child labour. Most of the time girl students drop out of school and start doing various jobs to earn money and support their families.
- Families are very poor in rural areas due to the lack of employment opportunities. The parents cannot support their girls' education because of limited earnings and savings.
- Children grow up in a challenging environment as they see the struggles and hardships around them. So, they consider completing education less important than earning money and supporting the family.
- Sometimes parents also urge their children to support the family economically.
- Although child labour is discouraged in India, many girl children work at tea stalls, construction sites, and manufacturing factories at minimum wages.
5. Female foeticide:
- Female foeticide is very much prevalent in some regions of our country.
- To destroy or kill an unborn, immature female foetus in the mother’s womb is called female foeticide.
- Female foeticide is a punishable offence in India.
- It leads to an imbalance in the number of males and females in society.
- Since we live in a patriarchal society in India, many parents prefer sons over daughters in their families.
- They think daughters cannot take care of them when they get old because daughters will be married off to other families.
- Some believe that only sons can give them social and economic stability.
- Giving dowry is a malpractice prevalent in our society.
- When the bride’s family gives cash, goods, and other movable properties to the groom’s family as a condition of the marriage, then that is called dowry.
- When a dowry is not given to the groom’s family, the bride may face many difficulties at her in-law’s place.
- There are reports that either the groom himself or other family members tortures the newly-wed bride for dowry and money even after marriage.
7. Gender discrimination:
- When women are not given equal opportunities and resources like men in different spheres of society, that situation is called gender discrimination.
- In many workplaces, women do not get the chance to be promoted or are not given important roles.
- Others might overlook a woman’s hard work and dedication.
- Even for the same job role, women get less paid than their male counterparts.
- All these instances create a hindrance to women’s empowerment.
8. Women abuse:
- Women abuse is quite frequent in our society.
- They are abused both verbally and physically.
- Any abuse is a punishable offence as it can lead to anxiety and depression.
Factors that encourage women empowerment:
- Job opportunities
- Participation in politics, defence, sports and games
- Equal opportunities in society
- Exposure to media
- Freedom of expression
- Freedom of movement
- Proper nutrition and sanitation
- Decision-making power
- Introduction to self-help groups
- Changes in women’s labour patterns
Authority: The right to make decisions and to give orders.
Malnutrition: The condition in which proper growth and development of the body do not happen due to the lack of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Vocational: Skill-based training related to an occupation or employment.
Foetus: An unborn baby growing inside the mother’s womb.
Anxiety: An emotion that involves tension and worrying thoughts.
Depression: Feelings of severe sadness.
Patriarchal: Indicating a society controlled by men.
Did You Know?
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is a scheme launched by the Government of India to reduce female foeticide and encourage parents to support their daughters in education and sports.
- The concept of widow remarriage was introduced in society by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.