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Status of Women Empowerment in India Essay

Presented By Ankur Sharma Faculty:Institute of Rural Management, Jodhpur Meaning of Empowerment: On an individual level we see empowerment as building confidence, insight and understanding, and developing personal skills, for example, being able to analyze situations and communicate more effectively with others. Meaning of Women Empowerment:Women Empowerment means to inspire women with the courage to break free from the chains of limiting beliefs, patterns and societal or religious conditions that have traditionally kept women suppressed and unable to realize their true beauty and power. Women Empowerment In India:However indian economy is progressing in terms of GDP & Per Capita Income but still women empowerment is a big concern for our country.Still conditions of womens are pathetic in our countries.

There are many areas where we have to think about seriously & should be taken positive steps to eridicate such kind of sociel evils from our society.As being an part of society,its our duty that we should also contribute to the society & try to bring awareness among people.we should not underestimate womens just not only the basis of Physical strenth.Rather they are equally competent to us even in terms of their intellectual power or in terms of there emotional intellegence.Here we are discussing some major areas that requires a big concern: Domestic Violance: Domestic violence in India is endemic and widespread predominantly against women. Around 70% of women in India are victims to domestic violence according to Renuka Chowdhury junior minister for women and child development.

National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a women is committed every three minutes, a women is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the victim. | Domestic violence in India often happens as a result of dowry demands.According to Unicef’s Global Report Card on Adolescents 2012, 57% boys in India think a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife while around 53% girls think that a husband is justified in beating his wife.Domestic violence is known to happen in Upper Class families as well as NRI families.

Gender Discrimnation: Infancy to childhood

The cultural construct of Indian society which reinforces gender bias against women, has led to the continuation of India’s strong preference for male children. Female infanticide, a sex-selective abortion, is adopted and strongly reflects the low status of Indian women. Census 2011 shows a decline of girl population under the age of seven, with activists estimating that eight million female fetuses may have been aborted in the past decade.The 2005 census shows infant mortality figures for females and males are 61 and 56, respectively, out of 1000 live births, with females more likely to be aborted than males due to biased attitudes.

A decline in the sex ratio was observed with India’s 2011 census reporting that it stands at 914 females against 1,000 males, a drop from 927 in 2001 – the lowest since India’s independence. The demand for sons among wealthy parents is being satisfied by the medical community through the provision of illegal services of fetal sex-determination and sex-selective abortion. The financial incentive for physicians to undertake this illegal activity seems to be far greater than the penalties associated with breaking the law. Childhood to adulthood (education):

Education is not widely attained by the Indian women. Although literacy rates are increasing, female literacy rates lags behind the male literacy rate. Literacy Rate Census of India 2001 and 2011 Comparison

Literacy for females stands at 65.46%, compared to 82.14% for males.An underlying factor for such low literacy rates are parent’s perceptions that education for girls are a waste of resources as their daughters would eventually live with their husband’s families and they will not benefit directly from the education investment.

Adulthood and onwards:

Discrimination against women has contributed to gender wage differentials, with Indian women on average earning 64% of what their male counterparts earn for the same occupation and level of qualification. Discrimination against women has led to their lack of autonomy and authority. Although equal rights are given to women, it may not be well recognized. In practice, land and property rights are weakly enforced, with customary laws widely practiced in rural areas. Women do not own property under their own names and usually do not have any inheritance rights to obtain a share of parental property.

Education and economic development:

According to 1992-93 figures, only 9.2% of the households in India were female-headed. However, approximately 35% of the households below the poverty line were found to be female-headed.

Education:

Though it is gradually rising, the female literacy rate in India is lower than the male literacy rate.Compared to boys, far fewer girls are enrolled in the schools, and many of them drop out.According to the National Sample Survey Data of 1997, only the states of Kerala and Mizoram have approached universal female literacy rates. According to majority of the scholars, the major factor behind the improved social and economic status of women in Kerala is literacy. Under Non-Formal Education programme (NFE), about 40% of the centres in states and 10% of the centres in UTs are exclusively reserved for females.

As of 2000, about 0.3 million NFE centres were catering to about 7.42 million children, out of which about 0.12 million were exclusively for girls. urban India, girls are nearly at par with the boys in terms of education. However, in rural India girls continue to be less educated than the boys. According to a 1998 report by U.S. Department of Commerce, the chief barrier to female education in India are inadequate school facilities (such as sanitary facilities), shortage of female teachers and gender bias in curriculum (majority of the female characters being depicted as weak and helpless).

Workforce participation:

Contrary to the common perception, a large percent of women in India work. The National data collection agencies accept the fact that there is a serious under-estimation of women’s contribution as workers. However, there are far fewer women in the paid workforce than there are men. In urban India Women have impressive number in the workforce. As an example at software industry 30% of the workforce is female.They are at par with their male counterparts in terms of wages, position at the work place. In rural India, agriculture and allied industrial sectors employ as much as 89.5% of the total female labour. In overall farm production, women’s average contribution is estimated at 55% to 66% of the total labour. According to a 1991 World Bank report, women accounted for 94% of total employment in dairy production in India.

Women constitute 51% of the total employed in forest-based small-scale enterprises. One of the most famous female business success stories is the Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad. In 2006, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw,who started Biocon – one of India’s first biotech companies, was rated India’s richest woman. Lalita D. Gupte and Kalpana Morparia were the only businesswomen in India who made the list of the Forbes World’s Most Powerful Women in 2006. Chanda Kochher India’s second-largest bank, ICICI Bank, and Morparia is the CEO of JPMorgan India.

Land and property rights:

In most Indian families, women do not own any property in their own names, and do not get a share of parental property.Due to weak enforcement of laws protecting them, women continue to have little access to land and property.In fact, some of the laws discriminate against women, when it comes to land and property rights. The Hindu personal laws of mid-1956s (applied to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains) gave women rights to inheritance. However, the sons had an independent share in the ancestral property, while the daughters’ shares were based on the share received by their father. Hence, a father could effectively disinherit a daughter by renouncing his share of the ancestral property, but the son will continue to have a share in his own right. Additionally, married daughters, even those facing marital harassment, had no residential rights in the ancestral home. After amendment of Hindu laws in 2005, now women in have been provided the same status as that of men.

Crimes against women:

Police records show high incidence of crimes against women in India. The National Crime Records Bureau reported in 1998 that the growth rate of crimes against women would be higher than the population growth rate by 2010.Earlier, many cases were not registered with the police due to the social stigma attached to rape and molestation cases. Official statistics show that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of reported crimes against women.

Acid Throwing:

The Thomas Reuters Foundation survey says that India is the fourth most dangerous place in the world for women to live in as women belonging to any class, caste or creed and religion can be victims of this cruel form of violence and disfigurement, a premeditated crime intended to kill or maim her permanently and act as a lesson to put her in her place. In India, acid attacks on women who dared to refuse a man’s proposal of marriage or asked for a divorce are a form of revenge. Acid is cheap and easily available and is the quickest way to destroy a woman’s life. The number of acid attacks have been rising.

Sexual harassment:

Half of the total number of crimes against women reported in 1990 related to molestation and harassment at the workplace. Eve teasing is a euphemism used for sexual harassment or molestation of women by men. Many activists blame the rising incidents of sexual harassment against women on the influence of “Western culture”. In 1987, The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act was passed to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings, figures or in any other manner. In 1997, in a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court of India took a strong stand against sexual harassment of women in the workplace. The Court also laid down detailed guidelines for prevention and redressal of grievances. The National Commission for Women subsequently elaborated these guidelines into a Code of Conduct for employers.

Dowry:

In 1961, the Government of India passed the Dowry Prohibition Act, making the dowry demands in wedding arrangements illegal. However, many cases of dowry-related domestic violence, suicides and murders have been reported. In the 1980s, numerous such cases were reported. In 1985, the Dowry Prohibition (maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom) rules were framed. According to these rules, a signed list of presents given at the time of the marriage to the bride and the bridegroom should be maintained.

The list should contain a brief description of each present, its approximate value, the name of whoever has given the present and his/her relationship to the person. However, such rules are hardly enforced. A 1997 report claimed that at least 5,000 women die each year because of dowry deaths, and at least a dozen die each day in ‘kitchen fires’ thought to be intentional. The term for this is “bride burning” and is criticized within India itself. Amongst the urban educated, such dowry abuse has reduced considerably.

Child marriage:

Child marriage has been traditionally prevalent in India and continues to this day. Historically, young girls would live with their parents until they reached puberty. In the past, the child widows were condemned to a life of great agony, shaving heads, living in isolation, and shunned by the society.Although child marriage was outlawed in 1860, it is still a common practice. According to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children-2009” report, 47% of India’s women aged 20–24 were married before the legal age of 18, with 56% in rural areas.The report also showed that 40% of the world’s child marriages occur in India.

Female infanticides and sex selective abortions:

India has a highly masculine sex ratio, the chief reason being that many women die before reaching adulthood.Tribal societies in India have a less masculine sex ratio than all other caste groups. This, in spite of the fact that tribal communities have far lower levels of income, literacy and health facilities.It is therefore suggested by many experts, that the highly masculine sex ratio in India can be attributed to female infanticides and sex-selective abortions. Ultrasound scans have been a major leap forward in the care of mother and baby, and with them becoming portable, these advantages have spread to rural populations. However, ultrasound scans can often reveal the sex of the baby, allowing pregnant women to decide to abort female foetuses and try again for a male child. This practice is usually considered to be the main reason for the change in the ratio of male to female children being born.

In 1994 the Indian government passed a law forbidding women or their families from asking about the sex of the baby after an ultrasound scan (or any other test which would yield that information) and also expressly forbade doctors or any other staff from giving that information. However, in practice this law (like the one forbidding dowries) is widely ignored, and levels of the abortion on female foetuses remain high and the sex ratio at birth keeps getting worse. Female infanticide (killing of girl infants) is still prevalent in some rural areas.Sometimes this is infanticide by neglect, for example families may not spend money on critical medicines or even just by withholding care from a sick girl. The abuse of the dowry tradition has been one of the main reasons for sex-selective abortions and female infanticides in India.

Trafficking:

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act was passed in 1956. However many cases of trafficking of young girls and women have been reported. These women are either forced into prostitution, domestic work or child labour. Other concerns:

Health:

The average female life expectancy today in India is low compared to many countries, but it has shown gradual improvement over the years. In many families, especially rural ones, the girls and women face nutritional discrimination within the family, and are anaemic and malnourished. The maternal mortality in India is the second highest in the world. Only 42% of births in the country are supervised by health professionals. Most women deliver with help from women in the family who often lack the skills and resources to save the mother’s life if it is in danger. According to UNDP Human Development Report (1997), 88% of pregnant women (age 15-49) were found to be suffering from anaemia.

Family planning:

The average woman in rural areas of India has little or no control over her reproductivity. Women, particularly women in rural areas, do not have access to safe and self-controlled methods of contraception. The public health system emphasises permanent methods like sterilisation, or long-term methods like IUDs that do not need follow-up. Sterilization accounts for more than 75% of total contraception, with female sterilisation accounting for almost 95% of all sterilisations.

Sex ratios:

India has a highly skewed sex ratio this is attributed to the practice of sex selective abortions which kills approximately one million baby girls per year.The government stated that India is missing three million girls in 2011 and there are now 48 fewer girls per 1,000 boys than there were in 1981.

Sanitation:

In 2011 a “Right to Pee” (as called by the media) campaign began in Mumbai, India’s largest city.Women, but not men, have to pay to urinate in Mumbai, despite regulations against this practice. Women have also been sexually assaulted while urinating in fields.Thus, activists have collected more than 50,000 signatures supporting their demands that the local government stop charging women to urinate, build more toilets, keep them clean, provide sanitary napkins and a trash can, and hire female attendants.In response, city officials have agreed to build hundreds of public toilets for women in Mumbai, and some local legislators are now promising to build toilets for women in every one of their districts.

Notable Indian women:

Education:

Savitribai Phule was a social reformer who along with her husband, Mahatma Jotiba Phule played an important role in improving women’s rights in India during the British Rule. Savitribai was the first female teacher of the first women’s school in India and also considered as the pioneer of modern Marathi poetry. In 1852 she opened a school for Untouchable girls.

Arts and entertainment:

Singers and vocalists such as M.S. Subbulakshmi, Gangubai Hangal, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle are widely revered in India. Anjolie Ela Menon is one of the famous painters.

Sports:

Although the general sports scenario in India is not very good, some Indian women have made notable achievements in the field. Some of the famous female sportspersons in Indian include P. T. Usha, J. J. Shobha (athletics), Kunjarani Devi (weightlifting), Diana Edulji (cricket), Saina Nehwal (badminton), Koneru Hampi (chess) and Sania Mirza (tennis). Female Olympic medalists from India include weightlifter Karnam Malleswari (bronze, 2000), Saina Nehwal (bronze, 2012), and boxer Mary Kom (bronze, 2012).

Politics:

Through the Panchayat Raj institutions, over a million women have actively entered political life in India.As per the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, all local elected bodies reserve one-third of their seats for women. Although the percentages of women in various levels of political activity has risen considerably, women are still under-represented in governance and decisionmaking positions.

Literature:

Many well-known women writers are in Indian literature as poets and story writers. Sarojini Naidu, Kamala Surayya, Shobha De, Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai are some of them. Sarojini Naidu is called the nightingale of India. Arundhati Roy was awarded the Booker Prize (Man Booker Prize) for her novel The God of Small Things. we have to understand that without empowering women in india we can not compete amongest developed countries.Most of the women thinks that if they are getting respect in family or from husband,they are empowered.But this misconception should be removed from our society. Women in India feel proud to display that they are well protected and pampered by their husbands without realizing that they are making themselves helpless. Such women’s economic literacy is so low that they cannot play any role in family’s decision regarding family’s budget, savings and investments. To such women, the national budget discussion is for men only and soap operas are for them. Such women suffer a lot if something untoward happens to their husbands.

This type of extreme dependency is not good for the development of women. Women should remember that they are also rational, intelligent and thinking human beings. Dependent women are not empowered women. If modern women think that they are empowered, it’s a myth for them. Empowerment means to inspire women with he courage to break free from the chains of limiting beliefs, patterns and societal or religious conditions that have traditionally kept women suppressed and unable to realize their true beauty and power. In India, the empowerment process has already begun. We are now witnessing a steady improvement in the enrollment of women in schools, colleges and even in profession institutes. Their health is better as compared to earlier decades. In this decade, women are entering into the job market in increasing numbers. They are showing their skills even in non-traditional sectors like police, defence, administration, media and research fields.

Twenty-six laws have been enacted so far to protect women from various crimes. The recent law on the ‘protection of women against domestic violence’ satisfies the long pending demand of the women activities. In the political field, the reservation for women is a significant step forward towards their political empowerment. When thirty-three percent reservation for women in Parliament becomes a reality, women’s voice will be heard in the highest forum of democracy. The day, women of India will reach zenith in their empowerment. But a lot of work has to be done as there is a category of women (who consider themselves highly educated) that proudly accepts that they don’t have digital literacy even though they own a computer, they cannot even operate bank accounts or make travel arrangements for family or handle hospital admissions even during emergencies. Even for a simple task like social visits or shopping generally they need the company of their husbands.

Conclusions: Empowerment by itself may not place women on an equal footing with men. The greatest need of the hour is change of social attitude to women. Take the classic case of dowry. Dowry is still rampant in a virulent form even among the highly educated a girl may be, dowry is still demanded. Women’s empowerment means a lot, but the ultimate goal of the equalization of man and woman would materialize only when her complementary role is recognized by the society.

Sources:

A)Women in India: wikipedia.org/wiki
B)Publish your Article.com,Writer : MrMaahir Virani C)Data for Domestic Violance>Mrs Renuka Chowdhery,Junior Minister for Women & Child Development. D)Data for Education and Economic Development:National Sample survey data 1997. E) Workforce Particiaption:1991 World Bank Report. F)Acid Throwing:The Thomas Reuters Foundation Survey.


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