“The role of women in the development of society is of utmost importance. In fact it is the only thing that determines whether a society is strong and harmonious, or otherwise. Women are the backbone of society.”- quoted in the words of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
According To ‘Bible’, the religious book of the Christians, Adam and Eve were the first human beings on Earth. If God did not differentiate between a man and a woman, then there’s no one who gave humans the right to differentiate between both the sexes. ‘Empowerment’ can be seen as a multi dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives. Similar is the concept of Women Empowerment. ‘Women Empowerment’ can be referred to the process by which women challenge discrimination based on gender in all the institutions and structures of society. As per the guidelines by United Nation’s Population Information Network, “women’s empowerment has five components: women’s sense of self worth; their right to have and determine choices; their right to have access to opportunities and resources; their right to have the power to control their own lives, both within and outside the home; and their ability to influence the direction of social change to create a more just social and economic order, nationally and internationally.”
Women face many social challenges today, be it earning a living for their own family or raising their children amidst the harsh economic crisis. Inequalities between men and women have always been old-age issues discussed all over the world. What exists for men is demanded by women. Women have asked for equality with men in matters such as education, employment and marriage. The position and status of women in society have been considerably low in the 18th and 19th century. Women were treated like ‘objects’ to be bought and sold. It should be noticed that since the 20th century, women have started raising voice of their own.
Women have never lagged behind men in any sphere of the society. Given the opportunity, they have always proved themselves. Be it politics, technology, education, entrepreneurship or any other field. They are gradually seen marching into domains which were earlier reserved for males such as, Police, Lawyers, Pilots and Commandos. The struggle done by women going back over a century has brought them property rights, voting rights, equality in civil rights in matters of marriage and employment. Moreover, the customs of pardha (veil system), female infanticide, child marriage, sati system (self-immolation by the women with their husbands), dowry system and the state of permanent widowhood have been removed to a great extent.
The implementation of such laws and acts have given women, a sense of independence and provided them with the right to gain independence over their own lives. Today, women have started earning not only for themselves but for their families too. The concept of a ‘working woman’ is completely accepted by modern families. Although, in some backward areas there are people who still believe that women should be restricted within the four walls of the household. In spite of such drawbacks and hurdles that still prevail, women in our country are no longer hesitant or apologetic about claiming a share and visibility within the family or in public domain.