Strategies of Women Empowerment in India

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

― Brigham Young.

The women in India are positioned at a receiving end primarily because they have remained ignorant of their fundamental civil and constitutional rights. Patriarchal system impinges on every sphere of a woman’s life. In such a situation often a majority of them are forced to accept the traditional practices that are detrimental for both their and their children’s development.

Although women have acquired a level of financial and political autonomy and consciousness about their rights, yet they experience helplessness in bringing about basic changes for eliminating gender inequalities from the society.

The National Commission for Women have taken up the cudgels for women’s right and have vociferously demanded a separate criminal code for women and enhanced punishment for offences against women. The proposal for creating a separate criminal code for women was designed to provide quick justice to the aggrieved women and speed up the conviction rate.

However, this proposal failed to garner support among the government and have been shelved. A multi-layered strategy need to be developed to assess the core causes of violence against women. The state and society must provide instantaneous support to victim-survivors to ensure that the victims can carry on with their daily life. In dealing with the problem of violence against women innovative levels of coordination and integration must be built up between government, civil society and the family.

The state occupies a central position in initiating positive policies to end discrimination against women. In India it was state which initiated the first reform measure when after lot of debate it reformed the Hindu Succession Act in 1956 in which women were given equal right to inheritance.

Continuous extensive unconditional financial as well as emotional assistance must be provided to the women by both the formal set-up of the state like legal system, police, medical and health care sectors etc, as well as from the informal networks such as family, friends, fellow citizens, and local community groups.

The idea of self reliant independent women taking independent decisions of her life can be achieved only by educating women that will help them in achieving economic independence, as well as knowledge and awareness about their rights.
Special emphasis must be provided in educating womens on the legal and Human rights provided to them by the constitution. A well known feminist writer Martha Nussabaum argued that the key to development of women is to provide them with the cover of justice.

The subsequent official organization under state that deals with the victimised women in India is the Police. Often the crimes against the women go unregistered because of the insensitive nature of the police in handling those issues.

Therefore formal Training and gender sensitization of police a must be done so that there is no consequential oppression of women at their hands. The judiciary which is responsible for providing justice to the aggrieved women should also be sensitized on gender issues.
The awareness of judges and the advocates on the sensitive gender issues is possible only if they are taught about them in law schools .

The women’s organizations must try to empower women by changing the attitudes of the society towards the harmful traditional practices. One of the most vital tasks of the various women organizations and NGOs is to help women in rebuilding their lives and confidence.

These goals can be achieved only if the women are adequately educated about their legal rights and are economically independent enough to take independent decisions of their own life. Such programmes if done within shelter homes can provide both counselling and a connection among the women’s who were victimised.

Violence against women can be curtailed only when attitudes towards the women can be changed for which change should be made in the school curriculum. Curriculum that educates the students at the school, college and university level on issues like human rights and gender issues should be included in their study material. “Curriculum reform that works towards eliminating the gender stereotyping in schools (teaching about women’s contributions in history class, eliminating sex stereotypes in textbooks, promoting girls participation in sports) are important steps in achieving gender equality”.

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