“Women Empowerment”, the very topic has been discussed so much in almost every forum and every possible live event that it seems a challenge to write something new and relevant on it.Hence, it’s human empowerment for me. Surprisingly, as per Old English Etymology, the word “man” means “a thinker” or “to have a cognitive mind” and it was used with no reference to gender, i.e., for male and female both. As the civilizations changed, the meaning changed too and today we use men and women, male and female etc. to categorize the humans. It is important for me to refer to these details because the premises on which I am proposing the ideas of women empowerment solely lies on it.
What do we have achieved so far?
After 68 years of independence, we do have the framework and constitutional rights in place for women to ensure the upliftment and better life for them. The only place we lack is the implementation of the same to every nook and corner of India. The challenge also lies in being the largest democracy with varying religious beliefs and the tribal population who are yet to see the light of knowing their rights well. No other country in the world has such a variation at almost every hundred square kilometers and thus the issues we face in implementation can only be analysed by us. But we are trying and we will achieve. What about training the religious leaders and the youth in the right direction? It is a challenge, but we must try it.
Education for Women
“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation)” – Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey.
His purpose of quoting this was to encourage girls and their parents for education in Africa and it definitely signifies the social and economic benefits of educating a girl child. Right to education to the girl child was introduced to ensure the complete enrollment of the children but the drop-out rates are staggering. The reasons ranging from early marriage, non-supportive parents, unhealthy sanitary conditions, eve teasing, overcrowded classrooms, teacher’s absenteeism and lack of basic facilities and infrastructure in the schools. Thus, the foremost need is to provide the basic minimum infrastructure and safety. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make it compulsory for all the members of parliament to enroll their children in the government schools of their constituency? After all, you are the elected members of the government to represent us and work for our betterment so show us the way.
Quality of Education
The failure in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) was an eye-opener for all of us if we seriously wish to take it constructively. We definitely need to assess the quality of education provided to our children. What is the point of wasting 6-8 hours in a school, if a child remains unemployed after the so-called education imparted in schools? Instead, we must think of localizing and redesigning the curriculum to address the issues of that area. Introduction of life skills is one of the ways to ensure that the girls are empowered. Those who already have been the victims of child marriage can be at least given lessons in essential home management, health care and child-rearing in the school itself. Also, boys should equally be educated and empowered in understanding the family dynamics and respect for the girl/woman through value-based curriculum. Keeping in mind the patriarchal system of our country, we must take initiatives in creating awareness amongst families about the changing dimensions of the modern society. How do you expect from a boy of 8-10 years old to respond differently when he has been brought up with the statements like, “you are the boy of the family, our heir; you have to bear the responsibility for the whole family, so on and so forth. Aren’t we giving them the unnecessary burden at an early stage? Moreover, when they see the flamboyant side of women liberation through media, the conflicts in following the values arise. When you are talking about equality, let’s walk the talk.
Just ponder upon my take on we all being human first and not men and women.
Image Courtesy : Karmany