Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Women empowerment! We often hear this term but do we ever pay attention to as why do we need it? What is the significance of this term? What do we mean by women empowerment? What groups do we target when we talk about empowerment of women? And what do we actually mean by ‘empowerment’?
Dictionary meaning is ‘to give power or authority to’. Government often talks about women empowerment through various schemes launched by state or central govt. The most recent one was introduction of “Women reservation bill”. All the parties differed in opinion as to whether to support it or not. There were disputes and difference of opinion within the ruling coalition itself. Even Sonia Gandhi failed to gain the required number of votes to get the bill passed in Loksabha. Yes, the bill was passed in Rajyasabha, may be because the members are the people who are specialists in their respective fields and are the intellectual property of the country. They are not concerned about losing their vote banks and are not chauvinist.
But the government should understand that by reserving 33% of seats in parliament for women is going to empower them theoretically. Reality at the grass root level is going to be the same. We have the example of Panchayati Raj institutions where 50% seats are reserved for women. The women candidates on these seats are just the puppets whose strings are in the hands of the male members of their families. Even after so many years these institutions were christened, situation at the ground level remains same. Child marriages still take place. Female foeticide remains a bitter truth, women are bought and sold as the sex ratios are skewed, and they are still treated as a commodity rather than a human being. Rape victims are looked down upon and men look at us as an object. You can tell by the way a man lurches at you. Whether you are in a bus, a train, roadside, in your own car, or may be in the vicinity of your own home, they can rape you with their eyes. Govt needs to realize that before thinking about empowerment, they should aim for equality. They should start from the basics where a girl is not killed in the womb just because she is a girl, a girl is not denied food just so that her brother can have four meals a day, she should have the right to education, is able to go school because she wants to.
We should spread awareness among the male brethren that if the women of the country are not well fed, is not educated, is not taken care of; it would not be long before we see the society rotting into the gutter. Women are the basis of a healthy society and a successful nation. They are the ones to take the society forward by giving birth to a child, nurturing till the time he/she becomes independent to start their lives on their own
Before aiming for sky, we should ensure that the foundation of the rocket launching station is strong enough to sustain the pressure. Then only we can look forward to the next stage.