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Women Empowerment - A
Reality or Myth
Blog by Yogesh Sharma (https://www.speakingtree.in/yogesh-sharma-39)

The Government of India had ushered in the

new millennium by declaring the year 2001 as
'Women's Empowerment Year' to focus on a
vision 'where women are equal partners like
men'. The most familiar account of 'women's
empowerment' is the capability to apply full
control over one's actions. The last decades have
witnessed some major changes in the status and
role of women in our society and nation. There
has been a shift in policy approaches from the concept of 'welfare' in the seventies to (https://www.speakingtree.in/external/MTgw)
'development' in the eighties and now it is to 'empowerment' in the nineties. This process has
been further accelerated with some sections of women becoming increasingly self-conscious of
their discrimination in several areas of family and public life. They are also in a position to
mobilise themselves on issues that can affect their overall position. “The special attention is
popular articles
given to the needs and problems of women as one of the “weaker sections” of Indian society,
and recognition of political equality was undoubtedly a radical departure from the norms
When death saved a
prevailing in traditional India.”_1 life...

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3/3/2018 Women Empowerment - A Reality or Myth
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The latest disturbing news items regarding violence committed against women reveal that empowerment-a-reality-or-
women's position has worsened. Tulsidas' verse from Ramayana 'Dhor, janwar, shudra, pashu, myth&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.custom-
nari ye sub taden ke adhikari' although it was written in different context, highlights the trackx.com%2F1ed70c35-7a4a-4a47-
discrimination and deep-rooted gender bias which still exists in all sectors of society on the bd80-
basis of gender, caste, religious affiliation and class. Political leaders, intellectuals, and 0dbab9306546%3Fadid%3Ddx95%26head
academicians etc., have aggravated the situation. All the males from all sections of society want
the reservation and other so-called positive preferences but when reservation and preferential
Kanaka Durga
treatments are extended to women, they all join together in denying these benefits to women. temple: Where…

The Constitution of India grants equality to women in all fields of life. But it is still only on
paper. Yet a large number of women are either ill-equipped or not in a position to push (http://www.speakingtree.in/blog/kanaka-
themselves out of their traditionally unsatisfactory and unequal socio-economic conditions. durga-temple-where-goddess-
They are still poor, uneducated and insufficiently trained. They are most often wrapped up in annihilated-mahishasur?
the struggle to maintain the family physically and emotionally and as a canon are discouraged
from taking interest in affairs outside home and family matters. Oppression and atrocities on
women are still rampant. Patriarchy continues to be rooted in the social system in all parts of
India, denying a majority of women the choice to decide on how they live. The dominant Worried about Hair
magnitude of community in a patriarchal sense ensures that women rarely have an independent Loss? Try '10 Da…
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say even in community issues.

Female infanticide continues to be very common. Statistics show that there is still a very high
preference for a male child in states like UP, MP, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, J&K., etc. The male 780a-46bd-8952-8f10da3ea5dd-
to female ratio is very high in these states. Domestic violence is also widespread and is also 3reg&i=A888r846V565&s=https%253A%2
associated with the dowry. Leaving a meagre number of urban and suburban women, Indian empowerment-a-reality-or-
women are still crying for social justice. When it comes to empowering women through myth&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.m.10day
reservation and quotas, all the male groups unite in denying this to women. Even groups like
SC, ST, OBC, Muslim etc., who have been enjoying quotas since decades, and even on zero
Bouncing back after
merits in certain cases, oppose vociferously when reservation and quotas are planned to give
losing all faith

What national policies must now propose is, therefore, comprehensive and inclusive rather than (http://www.speakingtree.in/blog/bouncing-
exclusive. That would still require considerable affirmative and specific attention to the special back-after-losing-all-faith?
needs of girls and women, without contradicting the fundamental point of equality in utm_source=Colombia&utm_medium=C1&
development and thus in motivation for development. Nor does it ignore the special challenges
posed by culture, religion, and the allocation of duties and activities to one of the other sex. _2
10 Signs that
A review of government's various programmes for women empowerment such as Swashakti, indicate massive…
Swayamsidha, Streeshakti, Balika Samridhi Yojana and other two thousand projects reveal that
little has been done or achieved through these programmes. Most of the schemes are completed
in files only and money is syphoned by corrupt individuals or groups. In the name of women’s
empowerment, a large number of N.G.O.s and activist can be seen but all are making fast bucks

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3/3/2018 Women Empowerment - A Reality or Myth
and doing little. The discrepancy in the ideology and practice of the empowerment policy of as-per-sage-vyasa?
women in India constitutes its continued social, economic and social backwardness. Women are utm_source=Colombia&utm_medium=C1&
almost half of the total population. Women make up around 49% of our country's total 1)
population. Hence there can be no progress unless their needs and interests are fully met. If half
of the total population is kept backwards country or society cannot progress. Empowerment What led to the
would not hold any meaning unless they are made strong, alert and aware of their equal status Mahaprasthan of…
and right in the society. Policies should be framed to bring them into the mainstream of society.
It is important to educate the women. The need of the hour is to improve female literacy as
education holds the key to development. (http://www.speakingtree.in/blog/mahaprast
Empowerment would become more relevant if women are educated, better informed and can
take rational decisions. It is also necessary to sensitise the other sex towards women. It is
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important to usher in changes in societal attitudes and perceptions with regard to the role of
women in different spheres of life. Adjustments have to be made in traditional gender specific
performance of tasks. A woman needs to be physically healthy so that she is able to take
challenges of equality. But it is sadly lacking in a majority of women especially in the rural
areas. They have unequal access to basic health resources and lack adequate counselling. The
result is an increasing risk of unwanted and early pregnancies, HIV infection and other sexually
writer articles
transmitted diseases. The greatest challenge is to recognise the obstacles that stand in the way
of their right to good health. To be useful to the family, community and the society, women
must be provided with health care facilities.

In a rapidly changing and culturally differentiated society, a slow process of adjustment in its (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/gentle-
social value system and rigidity of its institution results in various forms of incongruous doctor-narang)
behaviour. The changing social patterns without restructuring or redefine social values and
Gentle Doctor Narang
norms always cause deviant behaviour. Structural changes in the socio-economic system are
needed for a smooth process of adjustment._3

In agriculture sector too situation is very pitiable. Most of the women work in agricultural
sector either as workers, in household farms or as wage workers. Yet it is specifically income in
agriculture that has tended to become more unstable and insecure in recent years and women
cultivators have therefore been negatively affected. The government's policies for alleviating
poverty have failed to make any desirable results, as women do not receive appropriate wages
for their labour. There is also a significant amount of unpaid or non-marketed labour within the (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/a-distress-
household. The increase in gender disparity in wages in the urban areas is also quite marked as call)
it results from the employment of women in different and lower-paying activities. They are
A Distress Call
exploited at various levels. They should be provided with proper wages and work at par with
men so that their status can be elevated in society. “While rural women have become distress-call)
marginally visible in the anti-poverty programmes, they have not been adequately recognised in
agricultural development, land reform, or rural industrialisation. Non-recognition of women in
agriculture has many implications.”_4

In recent years there have been open moves to increase women's political participation. The
Women's reservation policy bill is, however, a very sad story as it is repeatedly being scuttled in
parliament. In the Panchayati Raj system, however, women have been given representation as a (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/mahatma-
sign of political empowerment. There are many elected women representatives at the village gandhi-and-nelson-mandela)
council level. However, their power is restricted, as practically, it is the men who wield all the
Mahatma Gandhi and Nel
authority. Their decisions are often over-ruled by the government machinery. It is crucial to
train and give real power to these women leaders so that they can catalyse change in their
villages regarding women. All this shows that the process of gender equality and women's
empowerment still has a long way to go and may even have become more difficult in the recent

The main reason for the contradiction is that targeted schemes tend to have the only limited
impact when the basic push of development is not reaching an average woman, making her life
more fragile and weak. To make a positive change basic infrastructure should be provided to (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/time-and-
women in every village and city. To begin with, providing safe drinking water supply and better the-man)
sanitation not only directly improved the lives and health of women but also reduces their
workload in terms of provisioning and ensuring such facilities. An access to affordable cooking (https://www.speakingtree
fuel reduces the need to trek lengthy distances in search of fuel wood. Improved transport and-the-man)
connecting villages with each other and with towns can also directly improve living conditions
as well as unpaid labour time spent in transporting household items. It can also lead to access to
more (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog-list)
a wider range of goods and services plus a better access to health facilities. Expenditure on
food subsidy and improved provisions for public distribution services directly affect the lives of
women and girl children in terms of adequate nutrition. The patterns of resource mobilisation
by the government also have significant effects on women that are usually not recognised. ALL SPEAKING TREE

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3/3/2018 Women Empowerment - A Reality or Myth

When taxes are regressive and fall disproportionately on items of mass consumption, once
again these tend to affect women more. This is not only because the consumption of such items Today Last 7 Days Last 30 Days
may be curtailed but also because the provisioning of such items is frequently considered to be
the responsibility of the women of the household. Also, credit policies reduce the flow of credit Navjot 1
to small-scale enterprises thus reducing the employment opportunities for women. There is a Mehta Rank
need to have women-friendly economic policies that can enhance their social and economic S ILV E R
position and make them self-reliant.
The concept of womanhood has greatly influenced in shaping the behaviour and the standard of
values among the women of all classes and regions. So-much-so that even after the
revolutionary changes in the social structure in India, one often comes to a traditional Apail 2

behaviour even among the women of upper classes. -5 Kapoor R k

There is no doubt about the fact that development of women has always been the central focal Know more (/aboutbadges)

point of planning since Independence. Empowerment is a major step in this direction but it has
to be seen in a relational context. A clear vision is needed to remove the obstacles to the path of
women's emancipation both from the government and women themselves. Efforts should be
directed towards all round development of each and every section of Indian women by giving
latest articles
them their due share. But still, the outlook about women has not been changed. Even women
themselves do not relish and support the idea of women empowerment. Recently central
government raised a women unit of National Security Guards but nobody was ready to keep
them as guards. Even women politicians like J.Jaylalitha and Mayawati refused to take their
services. (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/black-
Jaya, Maya say no to women commando: New Delhi: The National Guard on Tuesday for the
black magic specialist mo
first time showcased its women commando unit –trained in all forms of combat and ready to
take on all contingencies. The government, however, is in a fix on how to use these commandos
after former U.P., C.M. Mayawati and Tamilnadu C.M. J.Jayalalitha refused to have women as
their ‘shadows’. -6

According to some estimates, women stand for 70 percent of the world’s poor. Our leaders
should implement a clear and focused measure for implementing sustainable development in
the world. The potential for women's leadership in the protection, management, and recovery of
the natural environment is the key element for a sustainable world. (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/black-
Economic empowerment and environmental sustainability
Black Magic To Control S
Sustainable existing has become the new trend in way of life choices that involves a person’s
relationship to the Earth and the natural resources used by that person. Sustainable living has a
different definition for each of its adherents, but the basic concept is living in the way that
leaves natural resources for future generations. To accomplish this goal, people must not
demand to consume more resources than are available and, in some cases, even have a positive
effect on natural resources by helping to replenish them. By not overusing resources, they are
given the opportunity to naturally refill themselves. As women are first mothers, hence they are
the first teacher of a child. So they can develop a very sensitive awareness about protecting the (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/get-my-
environment in a child’s mind and behaviour. ex-love-back-by-black-magic)

Get My Ex Love Back By

The policy on sustainable development calls for the movement to take action in building just
and sustainable communities, taking into account a gender and human rights approach, and
acknowledging that social equity and care for the environment are critical elements in the
development process. Sustainable development, including women’s economic justice and the
environment, should be a global priority. But our country is far behind in this approach.

‘Women in India least empowered”- Melbourne: India has been ranked at a poor 115 by a
global survey which looked into the level of economic empowerment of women in 128
countries. (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/want-him-
The list was topped by Australia and followed by three Scandinavian countries- Norway,
want him back permanent
Sweden and Finland. AtMasters
Follow the bottom
& Seekersof the list were Yemen,
for answers? Start Sudan and Chad. The
research done by a global consulting and management firm Booz & Company ranked India at
(https://www.speakingtree.in/masters) (https://www.speakingtree.in/discussion-list)
115 and noted with the second largest population of the world, India generates 14 percent of the
write Create Blogs & Slideshows
global talent pool, among which are the 5.5 million women entering India’s workforce each
year; all driven to succeed. -7
The eight Millennium Development Goals touch every aspect of this work. In addition to
holding our
SLIDESHOWS governments responsible, women must build the political will to be part of the
https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/women-empowerment-a-reality-or-myth 4/10
3/3/2018 Women Empowerment - A Reality or Myth
solutions. We must ensure for a society where the right of entry to education, health and clean
VIDEOS and the care for the environment is ensured. Women’sBLOGS
can also help identify
any hindrances to achieving these goals, and campaign for the removal of these obstacles. For
example, if school fees hinder girls from staying in schools, then we must insist that countries
work towards providing free education. Around the world must begin to tell our stories within
the framework of the goals so that our efforts will combine with others to make a difference.
Girls given the back seat: ….The study shows that at age nine, 41.2 percent boys were (https://www.speakingtree
attending private schools as compared to 28.8 percent girls. Parents spend up to Rs.1,932 per vs-samadhi)
annum on boys but the spending comes down to Rs.1,228 in case of 8 years old. But the gap
increases with age. A family spends about Rs.3,384 on a boy when he is 15 year of age but only more (https://www.speakingtree.in/blog-list)
Rs. 1,717 on 1 girl in the same age group.

The lack of proper toilet facilities remains a major reason for girls being absent from schools
and even dropping out. The Supreme Court earlier this month all States and Union Territories
to ensure basic toilet facilities, particularly for girls, are provided in all schools within six
months. The survey found that girls may be absent each month during menstruation period Follow Us
because of lack of adequate sanitation gender segregated toilets at schools.-8

Violence against Women: Ending stigma and discrimination

As per the experience in my country India, violence against women prevails everywhere. But
the women of the poor countries are the worst sufferer. The elimination of all forms of violence
against women and girls should always be a priority. It is our responsibility to reinforce efforts
on advocacy and services that would ensure women and girls can live lives free of violence. At
least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or
otherwise abused in her lifetime. Violence against women is a global problem and women and
girls are susceptible to abuse and violence at every stage of their life.

A society that understands the impact and effects of violence against women is better versed in
addressing the issues at government and policy level. Education on violence against women
must be integrated with programs that reach different sectors of society including men and
boys. Programs such as the World Week Without Violence should be celebrated around the
world help educate communities on the types of violence women in their country face.

Startling statistics: The country’s alarmingly skewed child sex ratio continues its distributing
trend with a decline in the birth of nearly three million girls as opposed to 2.06 million boys
during 2001-11, according to the ‘Children in India – 2012. a statistical appraisal report
recently released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme. -9

Governments, international organisations and civil society must ensure that laws and policies
that uphold women’s human rights are implemented in order to protect women from violence.
Socio- economic factors and legal challenges that put many HIV-positive women at risk of
violence must be addressed. The World is particular concerned about recent laws some
countries are adopting that criminalise HIV. These laws have a particular impact on women and
leave them vulnerable to violence. If poverty makes women more vulnerable to HIV and AIDS
then we must insist on more programs which promote the economic empowerment of women
and also the macro programs which remove countries from cycles of poverty.

Invest in women and girls:

Organisations running programs such as shelters for women in the violent relationship, help-
lines and counselling facilities must be adequately financed to ensure their services remain
reliable and accessible. Adequate and accessible funding must be provided for services that
provide holistic care for survivors of violence. Women’s right to information must be upheld.
Lack of information prevents many women from accessing services that would support them to
regain dignity in their lives.

But, it will be said, the rule of men over women differs from all these others in not being a rule
of force: but it is accepted voluntarily; women make no complaint, and are consenting parties to
it. Noted 19th-century philosopher James Stuart Mill very rightly said:

All causes, social and natural combine to make it unlikely that women should be collectively
rebellious to the power of men. They are so far in a position different from all other subject
classes, that their masters require something more from them than actual service,. Men do not
want solely the obedience of women, they want their sentiments. All men, except the most

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3/3/2018 Women Empowerment - A Reality or Myth
brutish, desire to have, in the women most nearly connected with them, not a forced slave but a
willing on, not a slave merely but a favourite. They have therefore put everything in practice to
enslave their mind. The masters of all other slaves rely, for maintaining obedience, on fear;
either fear of themselves or religious fear. The masters of women wanted more than simple
obedience, and they turned the whole force of education to effect their purpose. All women are
brought up from the very earliest years in the belief that their ideal of character is the very
opposite to that of men; not self-will, and government by self-control, but submission, and
yielding to the controls of others. ….And by their affection are meant the only ones they are
allowed to have- those to men which whom they are connected or to the children an additional
indefeasible tie between them and a man. -10

I don’t like the word ‘feminist’. I don’t think a woman trying to be men is (sick) feminism. I
also don’t believe in being outspoken for the sake of it, or just to prove a point. Feminism is
just an overused term and people make too much noise about it for no reason. Women have
given these bodies to produce children, and the spirit and tenderness to take care of people
around us. It’s fine to be an outspoken and working woman. I don’t want to be a man. One day
I look forward to making dinner for my husband and children. I don’t want to be a career
feminist. -11
Women should have the spirit of the famous tennis star Serena Williams,

“She turns her disappointments into triumph. Her grief into joy. Her rejection into approval. If
no one believes in her it does not matter. She believes in herself. Nothing stops her. No one can
touch her. She is a woman.”
So, said Serena Williams via loudspeaker on Monday as part of a female-power soundtrack for
runaway show of her. Serena Williams Signature Statement collection for HSN during New
York Fashion Week. Williams interspersed with music from women only, including her buddy
Beyonce’s “Lemonade.”
“I wrote it right after Wimbledon and during the Olympics, and I just was in this moment of I
want to empower women.”
She explained in a backstage interview.
“It was right around the time I was asked, ‘How do you feel about being the greatest female
athlete?’ And I was like, they never ask men that, I wanted to give women strength. I played it
for Beyonce and she loved it.”
The idea, said the tennis great, was to carry that strength and unity into the clothes in her third
show. Her older sister, Venus was on hand front row to cheer Serena on. So how does Venus
feel about some friendly sisterly competition?
“We give each other confidence, so if your sister likes it you know it’s going to be OK.” Venus
said, “Your sister always tells you the truth. We definitely help each other out and give
suggestions. And that’s the way sister should be.” -12

Indonesian campaigner Firliana Purwanti is on a unique mission to tell women in her largely
conservative nation that insisting on equality in the bedroom can help them achieve equal
footing in boardrooms and in politics.
Purwanti's approach is unconventional in the country with the world's largest Muslim
population where open discussion of sex is largely frowned upon.
Dubbed the "Orgasm Lady", Purwanti said if women are empowered enough to voice their
demands in the bedroom, they are more likely to take the fight for equality outside the home.
By speaking up about sex, she hopes to spark discussion on issues such as virginity tests on
women who want to join Indonesia's military or police force and the ritual of female genital
mutilation (FGM).
"Your body, your sexual pleasure is your autonomy. The state has nothing to do with it," said
Purwanti, 39, who wrote "The O Project", a 2010 best-selling book documenting the sexual
experiences of 16 Indonesian women.………………..
As well as virginity tests and FGM remaining prevalent, Indonesia's top court is currently
hearing a petition from conservative Islamic activists lobbying to outlaw sex outside marriage.
Purwanti - whose day job as a development worker includes tackling natural disasters - said her
campaign is to push back against Indonesia's obsession with virginity.
Her approach has also attracted the attention of men.
"All this while we have been trying to engage men in women's movement, it's very difficult.
But when it comes to sex, they are engaged immediately," laughed Purwanti, who is working
on a second book about sex and politics.
Purwanti, who is also active in the Democratic Party - one of Indonesia's largest political
parties led by ex-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - said her party colleagues have called
her campaign "bold and wonderful". -13

Aristophanes presented very revolutionary ideas about women’s liberation and empowerment

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3/3/2018 Women Empowerment - A Reality or Myth
in his famous drama “Lysistrata.” He advised women to use their sexual powers to tame and
enslave men.

LYSISTRATA (pointing off): A man? There is a man coming – and by the look of him, he’s
been driven half mad by the mystic power of Aphrodite! O Lady of Cyprus, Paphos and
Cythera, stay with us on the long hard road! p-174.
CINESIAS: By Zeus, I don’t need one! All I need is a fu-ck!! p-186. -14

Global strategy to fight SRHR, HIV and VAW

1. Develop leadership and build capacity, especially with young women as champions and
leaders of SRHR, HIV and an end to VAW
2. Create a safe and inclusive space for women and girls: Safe spaces can refer to actual
physical space and/or a gathering of women and girls where they feel safe to learn and disclose
their sexual and reproductive health challenges.
3. Provide comprehensive prevention including -Comprehensive condom programming (CCP),
Integrated information on SRHR, HIV and VAW that leads to empowerment and behaviour
change at community level.Address stigma and discrimination of women and girls living with
4. Provide reservation and preferential treatment to females in education and employment
5. Establish fast-track courts to punish the perpetrators of crime and violence against women.
6. Special funds should be allocated for the schemes related to the women’s development and
7. Special concession should be given if any property is purchased in the name of women or
any industry is started by women.
8. Social evils like veil system, burqa, dowry, polygamy system etc., which oppress women,
should be eradicated with tough laws.
9. More and more women’s hostel must be opened for working and studying women for their
10. Physical and martial training should be given to women to face the violence bravely and
boldly. Women should be armed with chilly sprays.
11. Parents who have only girl child should be encouraged and honoured with special benefits.
12. There should be the free and compulsory education for girls. Parents who deny education to
girls should be punished.
13. Emphasis should be on small families because in big families women are more stressed and
14. Two children norm must be made compulsory to ease pressure on women.


1-S.K.Pamdit- , WOMEN IN SOCIETY, RAJAT PUBLICATIONS, Delhi, 1998, p.39-40.

2-Maya Majumdar, Social Status of WOMEN IN India, Dominant Publishers and Distributors:
NEW DELHI-110002. p.292.
3-Idem., p.63.
4-Idem. p.247.
6-The Times of India, New Delhi: Wednesday, October 17, 2012, p.8.
7-Idem.,p.9. And Danik Jagran, New Delhi, 17 October 2012, p.15.
8-THE HINDU, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2012, p. 6
10- James Stuart Mill in THE SUBJECTION OF WOMEN.
11-Lisa Haydon, The Huffington Post (E-Newspaper), Friday, 16, June 2016.
12-Quoted from The Times of India, New Delhi, Wednesday, September 14, 2016. P-28.
13-Indonesia's 'Orgasm Lady' uses sexual empowerment to champion women's rights,’ Quoted
in Reuters | Sep 13, 2016, 11.17 AM IST.
14- (Aristophanes, “Lysistrata”, (trans.) Alan H. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics, Penguin
Books, London, England, 2002.
By:- Dr.Kalpana Sharma
Dr.Yogesh Sharma

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