Women empowerment : Catalyst for Nation’s growth

Prabhat Kishore
“The world need strong women. Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will.” – Amy Tenney.
In Indian culture and civilization, women receive high recognition and respect. The rivers, which are the lifeline of the people’s life, have been termed as the mother and even our country is called “Bharat Mata”. Our most of the festivals are based on adoration of Goddesses in various forms. A Dharmashatra reveals “Yatra   Naryastu  Pujyante,  Ramante  Tatra  Devta; Yatraitastu  Na  Pujyante,  Sarvastatra  Falla  Kriya”; meaning where women are honoured, dignity blossoms and where ever women are dishonoured, all actions no matter how novel it may be, remains unfruitful. Unfortunately, with span of time, the position of women  gradually deteriorated globally and practices of Sati Pratha,  infanticide, child marriages, dowry, taboo on women remarriages, Triple talaq, Nikah  halala and various other discriminations prevailed in the society.
Numerous reformers, in the country as well as abroad, have struggled for change in such stereotypes and to some extent changes in society have reflected. Mother of Indian feminism and first female teacher of India Savitri Bai Phule started several schools for women as well care centre for pregnant rape victims in order to break free from shackles of socially-constructed discriminatory practices.
Our constitution provides equal rights to women including equality, dignity and free from discrimination.Various legislations and policies notably Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019, National Policy for Empowerment of Women 2001, Integrated Child Protection Scheme 2009, National Education Policy 2020 etc. have been enforced against social malpractices to cope up the grimed situation.
Earlier girl’s dreams,  with just a nice groom and fine home, were faced with a life confined within the four walls of their houses. After globalisation and advent of education, they intended to break the barriers & boundaries of four walls, bridge the gaps between their dreams & reality and realized that the outside world is so charming and they should fulfil their aspiration to go ahead.
Once the women were considered only for child care and household works. Their domestic works have always been undervalued and under-reported. Now the time has changed and they are being considered part of the mainstream workforce. They are playing a pivotal role in every sector, whether it be business, politics, social functions, journalism, government jobs etc. Their contribution is the reflection of gender equality.
Target-5 of  Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations has been specially designed for Gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls by 2030.  Empowerment of women means increasing the strength of the woman socially, educationally, economically politically and psychologically. There are 3 Ls of women empowerment which includes Learning, Labour and Leadership. Learning helps women to get limitless knowledge leading to broaden their thoughts & overcome adversities.
Empowering women by imparting quality education and providing relevant opportunities will lead to their holistic growth & development and disapproving gender bias. There is a saying, “Sanskrita   Stree   Parashakti” meaning an enlightened woman is a source of infinite strength. In education sector, special emphasis have been given to girls education through various central as well as state educational schemes  namely  BEP, Lok  Jumbish,  APPEP, DPEP, SSA, RMSA, SS, NPEGEL,  KGBV, Beti  Bachao  Beti  Padhao etc. According to Mahatma Gandhi, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family.” There is a famous African adage: “If you educate a boy, you train a man. If you educate a girl, you train a village.”

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