Empowering Women for Societal Excellence
| July 29,2010 04:06 pm IST
Indian women are considered as a source of power (Sakthi) since time immemorial. Goddesses are being worshipped as mother, in the major religions of India, which means the mother is the original source, giving life to everyone.
Moreover, the mother is the first teacher for the young ones, who helps to recognize the world from the beginning. Hence, women should be given proper recognition and support. However, in the post-independent era, the policy makers realized that women were totally neglected and not recognized.
All round economic development will remain a distant dream until all sections of the society are fully involved in the process of economic and social development. Exclusion of any section on any basis will not only deny the fruits of economic progress to that neglected section, but delay the process of development itself. One key segment of the society, included in the mainstream economic activity could definitely change the fortunes of the society as a whole, is obviously women.
The benefits of women empowerment reflect itself in any of the following ways:
I. Empowering women through Education
Women are expected to take up a large portion of the household activities even in the childhood stage. They are most hard-pressed physically as well psychologically by the burden of different types of work routines. They are always in a disadvantageous position as compared to men. The Female child is always considered as a burden to the family and the male child is always perceived as a gift in ordinary walk of life as a matter of traditional/conventional/orthodoxical notions in this world.
To improve any society, recognition on the ethics of the birth a child should not be on the basis of gender. In fact, more emphasis should be laid in grooming a female child to compensate the said existing disadvantageous positions, with reference to a male child. Government, of late has formulated a number of policies from time to time to give free primary education to children but in practice, a girl is usually deprived of these privileges.
Education will render enabling knowledge of sanitation, hygiene, cleanliness thereby improving the scientific temperament of a child. By natural instinct, a girl child more attached to her surroundings and would help improve it, if she is substantially educated. As playing the role of a mother, she can feed necessary input in walk of life educating her own children and as a teacher she can improve the same of many more.
Nearly 80 percent of the population of India are residence of rural areas. Literacy rate in rural areas is relatively lower as compared to urban areas. As per the 2001 census, 46.70 percent of the rural populations are literates compared to 73.20 percent in the urban areas. Then, the rate of female literacy in rural areas is still lower.
The policy makers of our country have emphasized long back that there should be an intensified effort in Human Resource Development, with education playing its multifaceted role. The Department of Education under the Ministry of Human Resource Development evolved a National Literacy Mission Programme to improve the educational status of rural women. The main objective of this Mission is aimed at provision literacy to 50 million adults in 15-35 age groups by 1995. The focus of the mission was on rural areas with the special concerns for women and persons belonging to scheduled caste and scheduled Tribes.
Apart from programmes run by Government agencies a large number of voluntary organizations were identified to help in adult and continuing education programmes, organizing training programmes for the instructors and supervisors (TOT), preparing and publishing learning materials and audio and video materials for educating this neglected sector of women.
Government has made provision for free primary education to rural children. But a girl child is usually deprived of these privileges. She is the one who is wanted back at home to do the household chores or to look after the younger ones when the mother is away from house or she herself is engaged elsewhere in an occupation.
These women are most hard-pressed by the burden of various types of manual/physical work. Worse is the condition of those residing in hill areas. They toil throughout the day collecting fuel wood and drinking water from distant places, doing household chores like cooking, washing, house-cleaning, cleaning and grinding of food grains. In addition they also work in agricultural fields, looking after domestic animals. In the Himalayan region, because of undulated land surface, all these works turn out to be more strenuous and drudging.