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Women Empowerment in India
A clear vision is needed to remove the obstacles to the path of women's emancipation both from the government and women themselves. Efforts should be directed towards all round development of every Indian women by giving them their due share.
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT is the ability of women to exercise full control over one’s actions. In the past, women were treated as mere house-makers. They were expected to be bound to the house, while men went out and worked. This division of labour was and is still in a few parts of the country one of the major reason because of which certain evils took birth in our society child marriage, female infanticide, women trafficking.

The government has passed many laws so as to empower the women. These rules have empowered them socially, economically, legally and politically. Not only the government but various non-governmental organisations have done a lot so as to improve the status of woman in our society. Child marriages have also been stopped.

A study by the Centre for Economic and Social Studies in Hyderabad found that child marriage has declined among project participants. Groups have also started campaigns against the trafficking of women and girl children with the support of police, the revenue administration and NGOs.

In a bid to reduce child labour, new residential schools have been set up in six districts to provide quality education to girl child labourers. Over 40,000 girls are now enrolled in these schools. According to an impact evaluation, these schools have outperformed other public schools in terms of regular attendance, academic results and facilities provided to students, leading to a fall in the drop out rate from 14.8 per cent in 2001 to 4.3 per cent in 2005-2006.

The Jogini system in Andhra Pradesh is another social evil that requires to be eliminated. In this system, women are forced to leave their houses and follow the temple concubine system. Then there are also other problems like domestic violence.

In recent years many steps have been taken so as to increase the participation of women in the political system. The Women's reservation policy bill is however a very sad story as it is repeatedly being scuttled in parliament. Further, there is the Panchayati Raj system, where women have been given representation as a sign of political empowerment. There are many elected women representatives at the village council level. However their power is restricted, as the men wield all authority. Their decisions are often over-ruled by the government machinery.

All this shows that the process of gender equality and women's empowerment still has a long way to go and may even have become more difficult in the recent years. Empowerment would become more relevant when women are actually treated as equal to men. This division of labour that a women is supposed to do only household chores and the men are the only one who can earn a living for the family, has to be removed.

Further, women should be better educated , better informed – only then can take rational decisions. It is also necessary to sensitise the other sex towards women. It is important to usher changes in the societal attitudes and perceptions with regard to the role of women in different spheres of life. Adjustments have to be made in traditional gender specific performance of tasks.

Meanwhile, a woman needs to be physically healthy in order to work equally. This is sadly lacking in a majority of women especially in the rural areas. They have unequal access to basic health resources and lack adequate counselling. The result is an increasing risk of unwanted and early pregnancies, HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.

There is no doubt that the status of women has improved a lot. Evil practices such as the purdah system, child marriage and the like, have not been completely eradicated but have seen a downfall.

Thus, a clear vision is needed to remove the obstacles to the path of women's emancipation both from the government and women themselves. Efforts should be directed towards all round development of each and every section of Indian women by giving them their due share.


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