Women constitute almost 50% of the world’s population. As per as their social status is concerned, they are not treated as equal to men in all the places. Empowering may be understood as enabling people, especially women to acquire and possess power resources, in order to make decision on their own or resist decisions that are made by others that affect them. A person may said to be powerful when he/she has control over a large portion of power resources in society. The extent of possession of various resources such as personal wealth, such as land skills, education, information, knowledge, social status, position held, leadership trains, capabilities of mobilization.
It is now widely believed that empowerment of women i.e., providing equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities to women, will go a long way in removing the existing gender discrimination. Women empowerment in contemporary Indian society in forms of their work, education, health and media images in the forms of
their work, education, health and media images in the context of lineage, rule of residence and household chores, their context of lineage, rule of residence and household chores, their participation in social and political activities, their legal status in terms of marriage, divorce and inheritance of property, seeking wealth care should be taken into consideration. Empowerment in terms of knowledge and awareness of ones own life and society including legal raise their status with regarded to the lives. While empowerment deals with her or his expectation arising out of the situation. Similarly, a role deals with duties and obligations wile empowerment deals with rights. For instance, it is commonly assumed that the most is a woman, a wife a cook, a teacher of her children and daughter-in-law and so on.
Women constitute almost 50% of the world’s population. As per as their social status is concerned, they are not treated as equal to men in all the places, through in the western countries women are treated on par with men in most of the fields, their counterpart in the east suffers from many disabilities. The disabilities on the one hand and the inequalities between men and women on the other, have given rise to what is known “Gender problem”. All one the world and particularly in South and East Asia and Africa the gender problem has assumed importance during the recent years the gender issue has become virtually a crucial point of argument. It is now widely believed that empowerment of women i.e., providing equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities to women, will go a long way in removing the existing gender discrimination. Women empowerment in contemporary Indian society in forms of their work, education, health and media images in the forms of their work, education, health and media images in the context of lineage, rule of residence and household chores, their context of lineage, rule of residence and household chores, their participation in social and political activities, their legal status in terms of marriage, divorce and inheritance of property, seeking wealth care should be taken into consideration. Empowerment in terms of knowledge and awareness of ones own life and society including legal raise their status with regarded to the lives.
Before thinking about the empowerment of women, one needs to understand the exact meaning of the word empowerment. According to Cambridge English Dictionary empowerment means “to authorize”. In the context of the people they have to be authorized to have control over their lives. When applied in the context of development the particular segment of population, the poor, the women, the vulnerable, the weak, the oppressed and the discriminated have to be “empowered” to have control over their lives to better their socioeconomic and political conditions,. But the questions raised are, who empowers them and how to empower them? Ideally speaking no one empowers any one, the best way us ‘self empowerment’, by the segments of population mentioned above are handicapped both structurally and culturally to empower themselves without any outside help and affirmative action by the State and others. But still as long as these segments of population does not make any effort at self employment. It would be long and arduous task and process for the outsiders to empower them.
Role of women in development process
The principal of gender equality was recognized in the United Nations Charter in 1945 and the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the majority of development planners did not fully address the role of women in development process. In 1975, the first UN Conference of Women and Development was held
at maxico city under the motto, “Equality, Development and peace”. The need to integrate women into development was internationally proclaimed in the 1995 Bejing Conference. The Economic Survey (1999-2000) used an entire section on
gender inequality. It began with a reminder of the commitment made in the ninth plan document of allocating 30 per cent of resources for women’s development schemes through “Women’s Component Plans”. According to Menon and Probhu (2001), there was a strong plea for investing in women’s equality on the ground that this made economic sense and spoke of “the social rate of return on investment in women” being greater that the corresponding rate for men. According to Paten (2002), women’s development can be attained by improving here status and bargaining power in the economy.
Sushma Sachay (1998) argues that approaches and strategic for women
empowerment could be possible by outlining the mechanisms and tools that till
influence for women empowerment. Decisions making process, multidimensional
process that are enable worn to realize their full identity and powers in all walks
Concept of Women Empowerment
Empowering may be understood as enabling people, especially women to acquire and possess power resources, in order to make decision on their own or resist decisions that are made by others that affect them. A person may said to be powerful when he/she has control over a large portion of power resources in society. The extent of possession of various resources such as personal wealth, such as land skills, education, information, knowledge, social status, position held, leadership trains, capabilities of mobilization.
The National Policy on Education (1986) suggested certain strategies to empower women. Accordingly, women become empowered through collective reflections and decision making enable them to become agency of social change.
The global conference on Women Empowerment (1988), highlighted empowerment as the best way of making own partners in development the development of women and children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) program was initiated as a sub scheme of the national wide poverty alleviation program i.e., the Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP). It aims at imparting self reliance to rural areas through income generating skill s along with group organization skills. Keeping this in view the year 2001 was celebrated as “The Women’s Empowerment Year”. Human resource development and empowerment of women unlock the door for modernization of society,. Instated of remaining as passive beneficiaries, women must become active partner. Participation and control over resources of power are considered as the critical indicators in the process of development discharged women especially in rural areas, possess the least proportion of these resources and as a result they are powerless and dependent on the powerful and wealthy.
Role and Empowerment
We will now realize the vital importance of the terms such as role, empowerment and function for an understanding of society. These terms tell us how individual and groups organize themselves as well as relate to each other. Very simple, role tells us about what is expected from individuals in a particular situation. While empowerment deals with her or his expectation arising out of the situation. Similarly, a role deals with duties and obligations wile empowerment deals with rights. For instance, it is commonly assumed that the most is a women, a wife a cook, a teacher of her children and daughter-in-law and so on. What happens when the mother is also the principal of the local village school? Not only does she have to deal with a range of roles and empowerments, but also with he tensions that may raise out of her ole s mother and her role as an administrator.
“Woman reposes more closely on the central surface of life, while man hunts it in the boundaries of existence, always concerned to overcome, and in the last analysis, to kill. A woman has a secret alliance with eternal life and man with the principle of death. Woman wants to embrace the contradiction of life and to reconcile them in the act of degree so. Man on the other hand release the tension between opposites by annihilating one of the sides, the one he finds unpleasant. He seeks the solution not in love and reconciliation, but in over coming and annihilation. He has a militant and not an erotic manner. The male principle borne of isolation, makes solitude thermal, seeks being in itself and disturbs life as a wholes his being is battle and self service, his willto- life is concerned with ascertaining his own person or overthrowing that of the stranger until the motive of salvation kindles with in him. Woman with her sustaining constitutions is at one and is harmony with the basis of the world. But man wants to change the world to bring it forward to overcome it”.
Women’s Empowerment in Contemporary India
Contemporary Indian society has been exposed to the broad processes of social transformation, agricultural modernization and economic development, urbanization and globalization. However, these processes have generated regional imbalances, sharpened class inequalities and augmented the gender disparities. Hence, women have become critical symbols of these growing imbalances. All these have affected adversely the various aspects of women’s empowerment in the contemporary Indian society. The family and women’s work is not enough to say that any society consists of men and women. It is equally important to look at how the two groups of people interact, as well as at the role and exceptions each group has of the other. Such roles and exceptions are a product of the stereotypes of each gender. By gender stereotype we mean attributes and qualities commonly associated with a gender. Thus, the first idea on gender role differences, which a child acquires, is that of women of one’s family marrying and leaving their homes to leave with different groups of people. Secondly, men appear to exercise far greater influence in decision making and are far more visible and audible than their wives. Third most of the tasks within the home are done by the mother, grandmother, sisters and so on. At meal times they carry food to the fields for the men. All these tasks, which consume time and energy, are not counted as work and there is no payment involved. In western countries, women’s groups, politicians and other concerned individuals have been arguing for payment for house work and childcare. In India, the question of payment for household jobs has not really been an important issue or demand. As we shall see, there are many other issues, which require urgent attention. At the same time, it is important for us to remember that non-payment should not also mean non-recognition. The fact that women are expected to perform all these tasks as a part of their conventional roles and on special merit is awarded to them for these tiring and tiresome jobs.
Women’s work participation
As per to 1981 figures 19.7 per cent Indian women were recorded as paid workers. Of whom over 87 per cent were in the unrecognized or informal sector of the economy. The work participation rate woman in 1991and 2001 was 22.3 and 25.7 per cent respectively. The increase in the work participation of women during the decade 1991-2001 is mainly due to the increase in the proportion of marginal workers (6.3 per cent to 11 per cent) in total female work force. It is held
by many observation of Indian economy that without women’s paid or unpaid labour the Indian agricultural economy would not be able to function. In the informal sector, there is no legal redressal for problems; no maternity or other leave benefits and little security of service. Working long hours as domestic servants, stitching clothes for the garment export industry, working on the assembly line of small electronics manufacturing units or the beedi, tobacco, cashew nut factories. A woman lives in fear of retrenchment, exploitation and low
According to Maithreyi Krishna Raj that though women were concerned about continuing their jobs, they were not looking for better prospects nor have they begun with a long-range carrier strategy. Once in a job, women rarely attempted to acquire further qualifications was by no means clear-cut. T.S. Papola’s study of workingwomen, which covered a range from those in supervisory post in industrial establishments to unskilled workers, showed that women were more different than men in respect of their promotion prospects.
Papol’s study showed that women were discriminated against at the time of promotions tended to be crowded into lower status electrical and primary school jobs. They were rarely promoted to executive and supervisory posts. As regards employment and promotion to supervisory category, male employers defend themselves by pointing out that women did not come forth to be recruited or promoted.
Traditional Positions of Authority in Urban Areas
In the urban areas, the working class, and men in particular have a wide range of job options available to them. The study by Leela Kasturi shows that when unemployed weavers from Tamil Nadu migrant to Delhi, the women folk found jobs only as domestic servants. While men become mechanics, cooks or drivers. The shift in residence meant a severance with an established way of life and the support of the extended family.
For the majority of working class women, a job is essential. In relation to the limited chances for occupational mobility, when men and women work in the same occupation, female tasks are often the more arduous and time consuming. For instance, in paddy cultivation they spend long hours in sowing, weeding transplanting. In Kerala the extraction of the cashew seed from a corrosive liquid is women’s work. Again when both sexes do identical jobs, women often get paid
less than man. Protests are rare, apart from ignorance of legal and other rights; there is a fear of exploitation and sexual harassment by the landlord or contractor.
Traditional Role Expectations
Irrespective of social class there is at the level of belief, widespread commitment to the nation that a women’s job just not interfere or compete with her primary role of wife and mother. There is also concern with her physical safety and the respectability of the occupation. Clearly, working class familiar are far less able to ensure circumstances. NGO’s SHGs have been working to promote women more viable towards social, political, economic and cultural development micro finance is a significant factor and accessible to small and micro enterprises, socio-economic progress of poor women. Education and training also plays a major role in changing the life of poor women. The several institutions have been extending all types of vocational training, income generating activities and self-employment activities for poor women.
Empowerment of women is mainly related to their participation in decision making with regard to raising and distribution of resources i.e., income, investments and expenditures at all levels. Even though the Government of Karnataka has formulated and implemented various schemes of the social economic and overall development of the rural women, when the present position
of women is taken into account these schemes do not appear effective in enhancing the confidence and capability of the women. Empowering the poor women in rural areas to sustain their surrounding ecology is a necessity not only to stoop the ecological degradation but also for the physical survival of poor people. Almost every village in India has what is called “Common Property Resources (CDPs). Common Property Resources can be defined as “those resources, which are exploited by all people in the village free of cost by expending their labour.