Women Empowerment and SDG 5

Samridhi Dixit

A study reveals that women in India are relatively disempowered and they are somewhat offered  lower status than that of men despite many efforts undertaken by government in the recent years. Gender gap exists regarding access to education and employment. In a patriarchy driven society as ours, the household decision making power and freedom of movement of women vary considerably with their age, education and employment status. It is found that acceptance of unequal gender norms by women are still prevailing in the society
Women’s exposure to the world outside is comparatively very less than that of men. Women in rural areas are more prone to domestic violence than that of urban women. A large gender gap exists in political participation too.

In the last five decades, the concept of women empowerment has undergone major change from a welfare oriented approach to equity approach. The term empowerment has been understood as the process by which the wrongly assumed powerless gender of the Indian society gain greater control over the circumstances of their lives. Empowerment particularly includes control over resources and ideology. It leads to a growing intrinsic capability- greater self confidence, and an inner transformation of one’s consciousness that enables one to overcome external barrier. This view mainly emphasizes on two important aspects. Firstly, it is a power to achieve desired goals but not a power over others. Secondly, idea of empowerment is more applicable to those who are powerless- whether they are male or female, or group of individuals, class or caste. Though concept of empowerment is not specific to women, yet it is unique in that and it cuts across all types of class and caste and also within families and households

Education is a basic human right. It is a fact that girls have the power to change the world, and yet today girls are more likely than boys never to set  foot in classroom despite all efforts and establishments made over the last two decades specially for this purpose by the government which includes the biggest movement “BETI BACHAO BATI PADHAO”. A girl’s education not only empowers families but also communities and economies. Result  of her education? We all do better. Financial problems in house lead to choice. People prefer sending their boy child to school and not the girl because they believe that eventually she would get  married and it would be waste to spend money on her education. They would rather give the same amount in dowry. Yet another issue of dowry that curbs women empowerment. The prevalence of dowry system has led to an increase in the incidents of bride harassment. Of late this harassment has risen from purely verbal to physical violence and in some cases has also ended in the girl losing her life. People have still not warmed up to the idea of a career-oriented woman. Women need to be financially independent and have an individual voice to stop the harassment they face due to the dowry demands. The society needs to be more open towards the idea of women being ambitious.

Another concept that compliments women empowerment is “FEMINISM”. Feminism at its core is about equality of men and women, not “sameness”. Equality of thought, equality of opinion, equality of status. Many people offer up the argument that women are not the “same” as men so there can’t be equality. In other words, men and women have different physical capabilities and according to some people, these physical differences mean equality is not possible. It’s critical to understand that “same” does not mean “equal.” The issue here is about equal rights and equal access to opportunities.  Men and women don’t have to be the “same” in physicality to have the right to equality. A wife is equal to her husband a sister to her brother not better not worse. Feminism does not mean that woman want to have equal strength of a man and fight combats. When we talk about equality and opportunity we talk about cerebral opportunity. The point is that if men get the ability to get a job, to be leader or a CEO of a company and nobody questions how a man is going to manage it all with kids and family, then nobody questions a women as well. She can be a CEO and a mother at the same time. Women have the “superpower” to balance career with family and it is high time men understood that their aspirations are equally important.

But the current statistics claim a completely different story. The UN has defined the year 2030 as the expiration of gender inequality and the most staggering part is that it states that at the current rate the elimination of inequality would not be possible until 2095 which is another 80 years from now, 80 years is a huge span of time. Gender equality and women empowerment are global issues. Every country has its cultural problems. But women’s health and women’s rights hold major importance in a nation’s to do list. Women have started to stand up against gender biases but the society is still not able to digest them being “vocal” about their choices. Movements like #MeeToo and Times’s Up prove that women across the globe have been facing challenges and India is no different. And there’s no better time to continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people supporting them.”

Women need to have a voice. That’s the basic right of the women, and that’s global. When a woman says something, she shouldn’t be judged or silenced because she’s a woman For centuries, women have always been told to be a certain way or behave a certain way, and it’s time women decide what they want themselves individually.

Its our social responsibility to become voice for the voiceless. We got to use our platforms and our voice to contribute to change and for ensuring that there is not just one lost generation as long as we are alive. To create generations of economically-independent citizens who will actively contribute to their communities.

Empowering a women what we can do on individual level is Change our mindsets. People need to change their old-fashioned mindset to combat women empowerment. Old-fashioned mindset takes away women’s power and as a society we need to change that mindset. At Every step of the way we got to encourage women to set higher standards, aim high and be ambitious. Access to education and employment are only the enabling factors to empowerment, achievement towards the goal, however, depends largely on the attitude of the people towards gender equality.

It is said girls with dreams become woman with vision may we empower each other to carry out such vision because it isn’t enough to simply talk about equality one must believe in it and it isn’t simply enough to believe in it one must work at it. So let us work at it together starting now.

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