Women Empowerment UPSC: Role of Government, Women Empowerment Schemes in India

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The term Women Empowerment is concerned with giving equal rights to women for their growth and development in society as given to men. In other words, it means giving women equality on all grounds of society. From decision-making processes to contribute to society’s growth and development, women should be given equal and fair chances to prove their efficiencies. Article 15(3) of the constitution of India talks about the Welfare of women and children. Over the years, the central and state governments have launched many women empowerment schemes in India, which are listed below in this article.

The women empowerment UPSC is an important topic in the IAS prelims and mains examinations. This issue has not just been confined to the boundaries of the country or traditional powers; it has also held its speed in the digital world. In November 2019, the Ministry for women and child development tied up with Facebook to promote the concept of digital literacy and women’s safety in India in the spirit of Women Empowerment.

What is Women Empowerment?

The freedom or the liberty to make decisions about themselves, their health, career, education, and, more importantly, their life and choice is known as Women Empowerment. It means that women should be treated equally to men in social, economic, and political fields. It is essential for the overall development of a country. Empowering women also helps them to feel more confident, as it enhances their decision-making power.

Women Empowerment Schemes in India

The following table presents various women empowerment schemes in India initiated by the Government in the past decade:

Women Empowerment UPSC

Women Empowerment Schemes in India

Name of the Scheme

Launch Year




– Provide legal aid and guidance to women.

– Cater to the primary need for food, shelter, clothing, and health of women.

Mahila Shakti Kendras (MSK)


– Create a positive environment for women with access to basic healthcare, education, employment, etc.

– Provide these opportunities at the block and district level in the country.

Women Helpline Scheme


– Provide 24-hour telecom service to women suffering from violence and assault.

– Facilitate appropriate and required intervention from agencies such as Hospitals/police/District Legal Service Authority (DLSA)/Protection Officer (PO)/OSC.

– Spread information about the necessary support services, government schemes, and programs available for women affected by violence.

Ujjawala Scheme


– Prevent women and children trafficking.

– Rescue victims and put them in safe custody.

– Provide rehabilitation services to the victims

Mahila Police Volunteers


– To fight crime against women.

– Report incidents of violence against women, such as child marriage, dowry harassment, and domestic violence, faced by women in public spaces.

Nari Shakti Puraskar


– Strengthen the place of women in society.

– Create and assist institutions that work toward women empowerment in society.

Mahila E-Haat


– Providing online entrepreneurship opportunities for women.

– Educate women on various aspects of online business

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme


– Ensure survival and protection of the girl child

– Ensure quality education for the girl child

One-Stop Centre Scheme


– Provide assistance to women affected by violence.

– To facilitate them in filing FIR against crime

– Provide psycho-social support and counselling to them



– Ensure safety and security for women.

– Ensure confidentiality of women’s identity.

Women Empowerment Issues in India

To write a scoring Essay on Women Empowerment in the UPSC exam, candidates must go through India’s major women empowerment issues.

Demographic Imbalance

  • Female Foeticide – Though abortion is legal still, this legality is widely used for sex-selective abortions.
  • Female Infanticide.
  • Maternal Mortality Rate – This is the result of absolute neglect on our part with reference to health and lack of health education.
  • Infant Mortality Rate – This is due to neglect of girl children; from every 15 infant deaths, 14 are girls.
  • Death because of Dowry issues and domestic violence.
  • Teenage pregnancy.
  • Skewed sex ratio.

Health Problems

India has issues related to basic health amenities because the resources and infrastructure are limited, and within that, the situation is worse for marginalized people, including women. Health problems remain a very important issue for India as a whole, and when it comes to women, in particular, the situation is even more difficult. For example, even if a woman is killed, it is not taken seriously. Because of a certain kind of conditioning, the culture of silence predominates among women, which serves as an obstacle to promoting women empowerment.

Neglect of Female Education

It is not only related to enrollment but also to the way female education is perceived. Women are not enrolled equally as men. Even when they are enrolled, there is a very high dropout rate because even if there is a certain kind of problem at home, it is a girl child that has to stay back. There is also a lack of infrastructure supporting girls’ needs in schools, causing dropout rates, like no separate toilets for girls.

Insufficient economic and political partnership

While there is a lot of emphasis on education these days, it is still a matter of concern due to the lower participation of women in the workforce. For example, if one has to quit the job in a couple, it is invariably the woman who has to quit because it is considered unmanly for a man to stay at home. In any case, if the man stays back, it is considered as going against Indian culture. The same is the case with political participation, where we see very few women. People are still not willing to concede to the reservation that has taken place at the panchayat level.


It includes not only physical violence but also emotional and psychological violence. The understanding of violence is changing, and it is now more comprehensive. Example: At present, verbal abuse is also violence. Various acts of violence include harassment, dowry death, rape, murder, wife battering, infanticide, eve teasing, forced prostitution, trafficking, stalking, acid attacks, etc. Reducing the rate of crime against women also comes under Women empowerment in India.

Women Empowerment – Latest Updates

  • The world is not on track to achieving gender equality by 2030. The Human Development Reports Gender Inequality Index shows that overall progress in gender inequality has declined in recent years. For instance, it would take about 250 years to close the gender gap in economic opportunity based on current trends.
  • India has fallen to 28th position in the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report 2021 and is now one of the worst performers in South Asia, trailing behind neighbours Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar; it is now ranked 140th among 156 countries.
  • The report estimates it will take South Asia 195.4 years to close the gender gap, while Western Europe will take 52.1 years.

Challenges and Prospects to Women Empowerment

The challenges to women empowerment are as follows:

  • Due to the patriarchy in the later Vedic period, the status of women started to decline due to the emergence of a new socio-cultural system.
  • According to the World Economic Forum, the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, India has declined on the political empowerment index by 13.5% points, and there has been a decline in the number of women ministers, from 23.1% in 2019 to 9.1% in 2021.
  • According to the National Family Health Survey 5, 23.3% of girls were married before the legal age.
  • Women’s safety (increasing rape cases) and issues of marital rape.


  • The change of legislation in isolation will never be able to stop child marriage unless there is a socio-behavioural change among the parents and community. There is also a need to strengthen families by providing appropriate livelihood opportunities.
  • The Delhi government argued in favour of retaining the marital rape exception.
  • The constitutional rights provided under articles 15, 16, 23, 39, 42, and 51(A)e also help in women empowerment.

Role of Government in Women Empowerment UPSC

All UPSC aspirants must know about the initiative taken by the Government in forming women empowerment schemes in India that helped strengthen the position of women in the last 1 or 2 decades.

  1. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao – A campaign to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services intended for girls in India. It aims to address the issues of decline in child sex ratio image.
  2. Janani Suraksha Yojana – It was launched to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.
  3. Anemia Mukt Bharat – It aims to make an anaemia-free India.
  4. Poshan Abhiyan – It is a Government of India flagship program to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
  5. Mahila E Haat – It is a direct online marketing platform to support women entrepreneurs, self-help groups(SHG), and non-government organizations (NGO) to showcase products made and services rendered by them.
  6. The Swadhar scheme- Was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2002 to rehabilitate women in difficult circumstances.

Women Empowerment in Panchayati Raj Institutions

With the enactment of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1992, there were steps taken for women empowerment to strengthen their position in local governance. Women will be given one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in each panchayat. In addition, one-third of the number of chairperson seats must be reserved for women. The economic survey for 2017-18 states that there is 13.72 lakh elected women representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions. This constitutes about 44.2% of the total number of elected representatives.

Read about the role of women in the Panchayati Raj system here.

Women Empowerment and Gender Equality

Due to gender inequality, reverse migration, and job loss for men, rural jobs have shifted from women to men, as men are given higher priority for work in our society. Gender roles dictate a position of submission to women. Hence, power gaps still exist between men and women in our economic, political, and corporate systems.

The SDG gender index says that despite the higher number of women in Parliament, their influence is limited.

Types of Women Empowerment

Women Empowerment can be understood in different spheres, such as social, economic, and political. The types of women empowerment in India are as follows:

  • There is social inequality in which the resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through the norms of allocation. It is needed to remove the social inequality as it is against the idea of meritocracy to empower women.
  • It is seen that some jobs, like the beauty industry, air hostesses, nursing, teaching, etc., have been meant for women. As they are female-dominated, they are paid less as they have less bargaining power. To change this mindset in society, women have to be empowered economically.
  • Although there are provisions for women empowerment in the political sphere, they are unable to achieve the purpose.

Self-Help Groups and Women Empowerment

Self Help Groups (SHGs) are small groups of people facing similar problems, and the members of a group help each other to solve their problems. Self Help groups play a major role in empowering women as these are important for the following reasons:

  • To promote income-generating activities.
  • For removal of poverty.
  • To generate employment.
  • To raise the status of women in society.

Women Empowerment UPSC

Women Empowerment is an important topic of UPSC GS Paper 1, and Social Justice in GS Paper 2. It is also equally important for essay papers in UPSC Mains. To prepare this or other relevant topics related to Gender Equality UPSC, go through the current affairs to be apprised of the latest news and relevant information. For value addition, you can also download the NCERT Books for UPSC or UPSC Previous Year Question Papers.

Women Empowerment UPSC Question

Question– Which of the following are correct regarding the women empowerment scheme Mahila-E-Haat?

  1. Mahila E-Haat is launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  2. To support the SHGs and NGOs to showcase products made by them.

Choose the correct answer:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Neither 1 nor 2
  4. Both 1 and 2

Answer– D

Question– Which of the following are Women empowerment schemes?

  1. The Swadhar Scheme
  2. Poshan Abhiyan
  3. STEP Scheme

Choose the correct answer:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above.

Answer– D

Other Important UPSC Notes
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Wahabi Movement PESA ACT 1996
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International Organizations Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013
Brahmo Samaj Battle of Plassey 1757
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