Empowering Women – The progress level of a society can be judged by a simple parameter of how it treats its women. A casual look at Human Development Index (HDI) makes it very clear that the countries with the highest HDI rankings are the ones that have the highest gender equality.
Indian society with its myriad complexities is unique in the world. Its approach towards women has been contradictory at best. At one end our society proclaims, gods reside in places where a woman is worshipped, on the other, it calls her ‘Maya’ which leads the people astray. Though these philosophical pronouncements often remain at the center of debates on women’s rights, truth is that they do not really influence women’s condition much in our society.
If we observe social life closely, we find that women have a respectable place in the family as mothers or grandmothers, or wives. But, apart from these traditional roles, there is hardly any place for them as independent individuals in a traditional family. This is where women’s freedom gets restricted and she is often denied the liberty and rights that their male counterparts enjoy.
It is a proven fact that by promoting gender equality, a nation can reap rich dividends in all fields. A report by McKinsey Global Institute states that India could boost its GDP by 60 percent by 2025 if it were to use the full potential of Empowering Women in its workforce by bridging the gender gap in the workplace. For Indian women to realize their full potential, the first step will be education and skill development. For that, a special thrust needs to be given to educate the girl child.
In this respect ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme may prove transformative. Also, attention needs to be given to all those factors that deteriorate the quality of a woman’s life. Women’s safety is one such issue, others being lack of access to clean fuel which adversely affects their health. Also, worries about marriage expenses start stalking Indian parents from the day a girl is born to them. If we have to improve the situation of women, these issues need to be addressed. The present Government has proactively taken a number of initiatives for this which are described below
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP)
- Sukanya Samridhi Yojna (Girl Child Prosperity Scheme)
- PAHAL (Pratyaksh Hanstantrit Labh- Direct Benefit Transfer) scheme
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
- Mobile App ‘Himmat’