"Let's not forget that in India, the symbol of strength is a woman; The Goddess Shakti" Indira Gandhi
Social movements related to women empowerment have gained momentum in the last few decades. The increased familiarity with this term has compelled the society to change itself. Society is slowly transforming most of the ideologies that justified inequalities in the social structure for many centuries. With the modernisation of society, well-established social institutions are also changing positively. Today's Women are more aware of the limitations and confines of territory within which they have been placed for all these years. They are now demanding equal rights and equal status as men in society.
India is a nation that contains a plethora of cultures, traditions, races, religions, etc. However, India is also known for its dominant male society. Women are considered a goddess in our scriptures and religions but in reality; she has been deprived of her fundamental rights from the centuries. Now, things are changing. India, after Independence, has taken significant steps to fill the gender gaps existing in our society for centuries. Indian constitution provides Right to Equality, employment opportunity, equal pay for equal work, etc. It puts more emphasis on the dignity of women and has several provisions like maternity relief to maintain a gender-sensitive environment at the workplace. Government has started schemes like 'Janani Suraksha Yojana' and 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' to better health care facilities and education for this section of society.
In the past few decades, the government has expanded the definitions of terms like 'Rape' and 'violence' in the legal context. Many laws have been made to deal with the exploitation of women in the public and private sphere, for example, Protection of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013. Institutions like the National Commission for Women have been playing a crucial role in identifying and registering the cases faced by women.
Today's women are holding key positions in every sector of the economy. They are contributing equally to the progress of the nation. The emergence of women to the Decision making positions in the social structures has given way to a relatively better understanding and identification of those practices, which is the reason for their oppression. However, these changes seem to be insignificant when compared to the number of issues that continue to degenerate the conditions of women in society. Also, new challenges have emerged that hamper the holistic development of women.
The crime rate has been increasing against women in the country. Cybercrimes such as sexual harassment and molestation have increased significantly with technological development in the country as the nation is moving towards a new sphere of development. Half of the population still lives under the fear of rape, trafficking, domestic violence, etc. Social evils like child marriage, dowry demands and female infanticides still exists in our society despite being so many laws passed by the government.
While India is proud of achieving the Millennium Development Goals of gender parity at the primary school level, it has not been able to eliminate the high dropout rate of female students. In the political sphere, many important positions are held by women; their representation is not adequate in the political institutions like Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha (only 78 women MPs in Lok Sabha). The same condition exists in the private sector, according to a recently released report of Monster Salary Index, there exists a gender pay gap of 27% in the country. The condition is worse for the women living in the rural area they are more prone to discrimination and violence. They are less educated and empowered as compared to women living in urban areas.
In the government policies implementation, A Top-down approach is followed in which women are considered as a beneficiary of the welfare scheme. They are not encouraged to take part in Decision making from the starting. There is a need to involve women in decision making at every level. Education is an important tool to bring gender equality in society. There is a need to train new generations at the school level about equality at the school level to bring change in the society.
Prohibitions, reservations and other measures can only be the immediate and temporary interventions to promote gender equality. There is a need for a shift in the mindset that can facilitate the progress of society in the longer run.
Stricter laws and their proper enforcement have to be followed up by a change in the attitude towards social evils like rape, female foeticide, acid attacks along with the better treatment of the victims. NGO's and Self Help groups work at the ground level for the upliftment of women in the society. There is a need for strengthening these institutions so they can work more efficiently for the empowerment of women.
The movements by social groups and initiatives by the government have played a major role in women empowerment. But on the other hand, there are many social evils that still exist in our society from the family level, which hampers the growth of women. There is a need for a change of mindset in society.
More from us:
Prep Smart, Score Better Go Gradeup!