Saturday, December 31, 2011

Women Empowerment - Myth Or Reality

You can tell the health of a nation by looking at the status of its women.

- Jawaharlal Nehru

Health Care Reforms

Empowerment of any section of a community is a myth until they are conferred equality before law. The foundation of freedom, justice and fraternity is based on the recognition of the possible dignity and of equal and inalienable ownership to all the members of the society. The Universal notification of Human ownership adopted and proclaimed by the normal Assembly of the United Nations on 10th December 1948, envisaged in report 2 that "every one is entitled to all the ownership and freedoms set forth in this notification without unlikeness of any kind."

Women Empowerment - Myth Or Reality

It has traditionally been appropriate that the thread of house weaves the fabric of Indian society. Women are considered as the hub town of the family. Still, in the era of political domination by foreigners, the women in India suffered most. A few public reform measures were taken towards the later 19th and early 20th century while the British regime. The inception of Mahatma Gandhi in the National free time movement ushered a new thought of mass mobilization. Women constituted about 50% of the country's total population, he, therefore, complex women in the nation's liberation movement. The mass participation of women directly in the free time struggle was the great divide in the history of (Feminist movement) empowerment of women. They shed age-old disabilities and shared the responsibility of liberation of their motherland with their counter parts. The free time of India thus became synonymous with the empowerment of women. In this context the date of India's political free time (August 15, 1947) is a landmark in the history of women empowerment in India. It brought in its wake a great consciousness in our community for human dignity. It was realized that every people of independent India be accorded equal rehabilitation under the law.

This is the urban age and Women along with men are here to make an impact, let's not ignore them, let's listen and prioritize them. In roughly all societies through history, Women have occupied secondary position vis-à-vis men.

Women's ownership and issues have all the time been a branch of serious concern of academicians, intelligentsia and course makers. From pastoral community to modern information and global society, the role of Women has changed drastically. The role of a typical "Grihani" (house wife) who catered to all the requirements of the house holds including the rearing and upbringing of children in various sub roles of daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, mother, aunt etc. Has been played quite efficiently. The continuity of changes in socio-economic and psycho-cultural aspects of human living has influenced the role of Women. With the process of Industrialization, Modernization and Globalization showing its deep impact on the human community all over the world, the role and responsibilities of Women has attained new definition and perspective. Further this has also led to addition of responsibilities and widened the role of Women who also shares the financial responsibilities.

The Women issues have received substantial attentiveness in the planning circle and in wide intellectual discussions and forums at national and global platforms. However the existing lacuna in the formulation and execution of the policies has not changed the grass root situation to a great extent. On the encouraging front, in the South Asian countries there have been relatively addition economic participation in past one decade. Statistically the rate of literacy among Women has also increased. The educational and occupational patterns have also changed and widened with Women entering the domains, which till decade back was considered to be dominated by men. Further there has been encouraging rise in the division of the Women joining service sector especially Banking and information Technology. In the background of the massive transformation, the core issue, which still remains unanswered, is that of Women's right and empowerment.

The Women ownership are the means by which a dignified living is ensured thereby safeguarding her privileges. Thus the basic basal ownership of speech, free time and decision-making are her basic ownership as an private and citizen. The right for study and employment are indispensable for Women development and national development in the wider sense. The power and free time to exercise these ownership is Women empowerment. Women ownership and empowerment are not independent of each other. The Women empowerment can only be facilitated only if she is able to exercise her right in the socio-economic spheres of decision-making.
An Overview

India, with a people of 989 million, is the world's second most populous country. Of that number, 120 million are Women who live in poverty.

India has 16 percent of the world's population, but only 2.4 percent of its land, resulting in great pressures on its natural resources.

Over 70 percent of India's people currently derives their livelihood from land resources, which includes 84 percent of the economically-active Women.

India is one of the few countries where males significantly outnumber females, and this imbalance has increased over time. India's maternal mortality rates in rural areas are among the worlds highest. From a global perspective, Indian accounts for 19 percent of all lives births and 27 percent of all maternal deaths.

"There seems to be a consensus that higher female mortality between ages one and five and high maternal mortality rates supervene in a deficit of females in the population. In the year 1990 it was estimated that deaths of young girls in India exceed those of young boys by over 300,000 each year, and every sixth infant death is specifically due to gender discrimination." Of the 15 million baby girls born in India each year, nearly 25 percent will not live to see their 15th birthday.
The Indian constitution grants Women equal ownership with men, but strong patriarchal traditions persist, with Women's lives shaped by customs that are centuries old. In most Indian families, a daughter is viewed as a liability, and she is conditioned to believe that she is inferior and subordinate to men. Sons are idolized and celebrated. May you be the mother of a hundred sons is a base Hindu wedding blessing.

The origin of the Indian idea of appropriate female behavior can be traced to the rules laid down by Manu in 200 B.C.: "by a young girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house". "In childhood a female must be branch to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent."

Women Are Malnourished

The exceptionally high rates of malnutrition in South Asia are rooted deeply in the soil of inequality between men and Women.

This point is made in the article, The Asian Enigma, published by Unicef in the 1996 develop of Nations, in which the rates of childhood malnutrition in South Asia are compared with those in Africa. We learn that malnutrition is far worse in South Asia, directly due to the fact that Women in South Asia have less voice and free time of movement than in Africa despite the fact that in comparison to Africa , Asia is far more better in terms of economy.

Maternal Mortality

India's maternal mortality rates in rural areas are among the highest in the world.
A factor that contributes to India's high maternal mortality rate is the reluctance to seek medical care for fertilization - it is viewed as a temporary health that will disappear. The estimates nationwide are that only 40-50 percent of Women receive any antenatal care. Evidence from the states of Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat find registration for maternal and child health services to be as low as 5-22 percent in rural areas and 21-51 percent in urban areas.

Even a woman who has had difficulties with old pregnancies is normally treated with home remedies only for three reasons: the decision that a pregnant woman seek help rests with the mother-in-law and husband; financial considerations; and fear that the rehabilitation may be more harmful than the malady.

Job Impact On Maternal Health

"Working conditions supervene in premature and stillbirths."

The tasks performed by Women are normally those that want them to be in one position for long periods of time, which can adversely influence their reproductive health. A study in a rice-growing belt of coastal Maharashtra found that 40 percent of all infant deaths occurred in the months of July to October. The study also found that a majority of births were whether premature or stillbirths. The study attributed this to the squatting position that had to be assumed while July and August, the rice transplanting months.

Women Are Uneducated

"Women and girls receive far less study than men, due both to public norms and fears of violence."

India has the largest people of non-school-going working girls.

Although substantial develop has been achieved since India won its independence in 1947, when less than 8 percent of females were literate, the gains have not been rapid adequate to keep pace with people growth: there were 16 million more illiterate females in 1991 than in 1981.

Women Are Overworked

"Women work longer hours and their work is more laberious than men's. Still, men report that "Women, like children, eat and do nothing."

Women work roughly twice as many as many hours as men.

Women's offering to agriculture - whether it be subsistence farming or commercial agriculture - when measured in terms of the number of tasks performed and time spent, is greater than men. "The extent of Women's offering is aptly highlighted by a micro study conducted in the Indian Himalayas which found that on a one-hectare farm, a pair of bullocks works 1,064 hours, a man 1,212 hours and a woman 3,485 hours in a year."

The Invisibility Of Women'S Work

Women's work is rarely recognized.

Many allege that Women's economic dependence on men impacts their power within the family. With increased participation in income-earning activities, not only will there be more revenue for the family, but gender inequality should be reduced. This issue is particularly salient in India because studies show a very low level of female participation in the labor force. This under-reporting is attributed to the frequently held view that Women's work is not economically productive.
Women's employment in house farms or businesses is rarely recognized as economically productive, whether by men or Women. And, any revenue generated from this work is ordinarily controlled by the men. Such work is unlikely to increase Women's participation in allocating house finances. In a 1992 study of family-based texile workers, male children who helped in a home-based handloom mill were given pocket money, but the adult Women and girls were not.

Women Are Illtreated

"Violence against Women and girls is the most pervasive human ownership violation in the world today."
"Opening the door on the branch of violence against the world's females is like standing at the threshold of an massive dark room vibrating with public anguish, but with the sounds of protest throttled back to a murmur. Where there should be outrage aimed at an intolerable status quo there is instead denial, and the largely passive acceptance of 'the way things are."

Male violence against Women is a worldwide phenomenon. Although not every woman has experienced it, and many expect not to, fear of violence is an important factor in the lives of most Women. It determines what they do, when they do it, where they do it, and with whom. Fear of violence is a cause of Women's lack of participation in activities beyond the home, as well as inside it. Within the home, Women and girls may be subjected to physical and sexual abuse as punishment or as culturally justified assaults. These acts shape their attitude to life, and their expectations of themselves.

In modern years, there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against Women in India. Every 26 minutes a woman is molested. Every 34 minutes a rape takes place. Every 42 minutes a sexual harassment incident occurs. Every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped. And every 93 minutes a woman is burnt to death over dowry.

One-quarter of the reported rapes involve girls under the age of 16 but the vast majority are never reported. Although the penalty is severe, convictions are rare.

Women Are Powerless

Legal security of Women's ownership have exiguous supervene in the face of prevailing patriarchal traditions.
Be it in the case of Marriage:

"Women are subordinate in most marriages."

Child Marriages

"Child marriages keep Women subjugated."


Women are kept subordinate, and are even murdered, by the convention of dowry.


Divorce is not a viable option.

Divorce is rare - it is a considered a shameful admission of a woman's failure as a wife and daughter-in-law. In 1990, divorced Women made up a miniscule 0.08 percent of the total female population.

Maintenance ownership of Women in the case of divorce are weak. Although both Hindu and Muslim law recognize the ownership of Women and children to maintenance, in practice, maintenance is rarely set at a adequate number and is frequently violated.


Women's ownership to legacy are exiguous and frequently violated.

In the mid-1950s the Hindu personal laws, which apply to all Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, were overhauled, banning polygamy and giving Women ownership to inheritance, adoption and divorce. The Muslim personal laws differ considerably from that of the Hindus, and permit polygamy. Despite various laws protecting Women's rights, primary patriarchal attitudes still prevail and are strengthened and perpetuated in the home.

Empowerment And Women: changeable In International Development

The World Bank has identified empowerment as one of the key constituent elements of poverty reduction, and as a primary development assistance goal. The Bank has also made gender mainstreaming a priority in development assistance, and is in the process of implementing an ambitious strategy to this effect. The promotion of Women's empowerment as a development goal is based on a dual argument: that public justice is an important aspect of human welfare and is intrinsically worth pursuing; and that Women's empowerment is a means to other ends. A modern course study report by the World Bank, for example, identifies gender equality both as a development objective in itself, and as a means to promote growth, sell out poverty and promote better governance. A similar dual rationale for supporting Women's empowerment has been articulated in the course statements put forth at any high level international conferences in the past decade (e.g. The Beijing Platform for Action, the Beijing notification and resolution, the Cairo Programme of Action, the Millennium Declaration, and the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Yet to date neither the World Bank nor any other major development agency has industrialized a just recipe for measuring and tracking changes in levels of empowerment. In the absence of such measures, it is difficult for the international development community to be inescapable that their efforts to empower women are succeeding and that this important Millennium development Goal will be achieved.

Thus, this review attempts to the following:

1. An indication of the separate ways in which empowerment has been conceptualized;

2. A indispensable examination of some of the approaches that have been industrialized to part and track changes in Women's empowerment;

3. An examination of some of the ways in which the effects of policies and programmatic interventions to promote Women's empowerment have been measured;

4. A summary of the evidence on how Women's empowerment affects important development outcomes such as health, education, fertility behavior, revenue levels, etc.

How Should Empowerment be Operationally Defined?

"Empowerment" has been used to laid out a wide range of concepts and to review a proliferation of outcomes. The term has been used more often to advocate for inescapable types of policies and intervention strategies than to analyze them, as demonstrated by a number of documents from the United Nations, the connection for Women in Development, the notification made at the Micro-credit Summit, and other organizations. Feminist activist writings often promote empowerment of individuals and organizations of Women but vary in the extent to which they conceptualize or discuss how to recognize it.

Relevant studies review empowerment as "the enhancement of assets and capabilities of diverse individuals and groups to engage, influence and hold accountable the institutions which influence them." In general, Women do not take a central place in much of the literature on public inclusion or empowerment.

The Process of Empowerment

There are various attempts in the literature to make a allembracing insight of empowerment through breaking the process down into key components.

Measuring Women'S Empowerment

Measuring Empowerment from a Universalist Perspective

As we move from a consulation of conceptualizing empowerment to measuring it, it is important to note that measures of empowerment must involve standards that lie outside localized gender systems and a recognition of universal elements of gender subordination.

As we move from a consulation of conceptualizing empowerment to measuring it, it is important to note that measures of empowerment must involve standards that lie outside localized gender systems and a recognition of universal elements of gender subordination (Sen and Grown 1987; Bisnath and Elson 1999; Nussbaum 2000). It is clear from the literature on gender and empowerment that the role of gender in development cannot be understood without insight the socio-cultural (as well as political and economic) contexts in which development takes place. The thought of empowerment only has meaning within these exact contexts. At the same time, operational definitions (e.g. Definitions embodied in indicators to be applied in the context of development assistance policies, programs, and projects) should be consistent with the spirit of international conventions to which countries providing international development assistance have been signatories. The coming based in universal human ownership offers the best operational framework for this task.

Because empowerment is multi-dimensional, researchers must use care in constructing index or scale variables relating to empowerment Such variables may mask differential effects of interventions on inescapable aspects of empowerment. Inappropriate combining of items relating to gender and empowerment may also mask differential effects of the component variables on outcomes of interest.

Challenges To Measuring Empowerment

Empowerment is Context Specific

One of the major difficulties in measuring empowerment is that the behaviors and attributes that signify empowerment in one context often have separate meanings elsewhere. For example, a shift in women's capability to visit a health town without getting permission from a male household member may be a sign of empowerment in rural Bangladesh but not in, for example, urban Peru. Context can also be important in determining the extent to which empowerment at the household or private level is a determinant of development outcomes.

Critical Paradigms

There are inescapable indispensable paradigms, which need to be examined from the point of view of women issues.

1. Constitutional Provisions and Policies: The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Constitution of India (in the Preamble and basal rights) where by the constitution upholds and grants the equality to women. The National commission for women, which was set up in 1990 through an Act of Parliament to safeguard the ownership and legal entitlements of women, is considered to be the apex body to ensure ownership and work towards the women empowerment. In terms of five-year plans the fifth five-year plan (1974-78) is considered to be very crucial from the point of view of women development with 1975 being declared as International Year of Women.
The 73rd and 74th Amendments of constitution of India in 1993 are landmarks to ensure political empowerment of women. These provisions certainly ensure of legal security of women's rights, but socio-economic ownership of free time and decision-making is still not realized to the extent of public empowerment. One of the reasons is the rigid patriarchal structure of the Indian Society.

National course for the empowerment of women (2001):

The goal of the National course for the empowerment of women is to bring about the advancement, development and empowerment of women. Some of the exact objectives of this course are: a) Creating an environment through inescapable economic and public policies for full development of women to enable them to comprehend their full potential, b) Equal access to health care, capability study at all levels, vocation and vocational guidance etc, c) Elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and girl child.

The course also provides for economic empowerment through poverty eradication, micro credit programmes, training of women to facilitate them in playing effective role in agriculture and industry. The public empowerment of women is facilitated through effective provisions of Education, Health, Nutrition, Drinking water and Sanitation, gender sensitization etc. Elimination of all forms of violence against women, physical and mental, whether at domestic or societal levels, including those arising from customs, traditions and appropriate practices.

The effective implementation of the course at all levels can be a massive step for women development and can set an example for other countries in South Asia.

Women'S Empowerment Issues And Remedies In India

Empowerment of women is a gradual and complex process. It involves changing the way of reasoning of the whole society. From long time it has been stamped on the minds of the people that women are inferior to men. It is not easy to change the stubborn attitude of the people. In rural India, Women have inadequate access to education, health facilities, salutary diet etc.

In India moderately the division of working women is rising. Only by contributing towards revenue of the house the women can get rid of the status of "burden".

Entrepreneur women can certainly conduce to attain the goal of women empowerment. Entrepreneurship provides women for what she is longing for - control over the resources and power of decision making. Such women can help in poverty alleviation by providing job opportunities for many other deserving women.

Surveys have proved that a large division of educated but not trained women are gift in the country. Such women can be given training in a exact field like development homemade papads or pickles, handicrafts and many such things and can start their own small enterprise.

Self-employment is a blessing for poor and deserving women as adequate job opportunities are not available in the country. In small sector, the women may be owner of the firm may be a manager or controller or may be a employee in the enterprise.

Tenth plan is initiating women empowerment by implementing exact strategies like such public environment would be created by providing indispensable services so that women would be proficient to use their potential, To make the women economically self-reliant, permissible training would be provided to them. Equal ownership for the women would be provided so that there is no social, political discrimination against her.

In the gift scenario, where extraordinary advancements are occurring in each and every sphere, women empowerment has come to be crucial for alleviating poverty and procuring over all growth.
We can not abscond the fact that Women's ownership are human ownership and should be treated as such. .The fact that women's ownership need to be safeguarded in every country of the world cannot be overemphasized. In a historic decision, the Rajasthan government is changing the service rules to punish employees who are found guilty of torturing their wives. As reported in a national daily, the punishment could involve sacking and action would correspond the crime, with punishments including suspension and arresting of increments.

A small step send in terms of marriage was taken when the Hindu Marriage Act was enacted in 1955. The term Hindu in this case includes Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and their denominations. any laws have been enacted including the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 and the current special Marriage Act,1954 which governs civil marriages. In this Act, for a boy and girl to get married they must have completed 21 and 18 years of age respectively. Bigamy is prohibited in this Act and each party is anticipated to give consent to the marriage. For a civil marriage, three witnesses are necessary. Progressive laws such as these safe the woman. Under the Islamic law, marriage is considered a compact and a nikaah is performed with any do's and don'ts. The Parsis are governed by the Parsi Marriage and divorce Act, 1936. Christians are governed by the Christian Marriage Act, 1872 and the marriage normally takes place in a church.

The report on the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) released by the Government recently mentions the steps taken by it to consist of the negative impact of restructuring of the economy that India has embarked upon. The Government of India made special efforts to increase its withhold for public sectors and started a number of schemes aimed at the poor, particularly poor women and women in the informal sector. These consist of the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh and the Mahila Samakhya programs.

Keeping in line with the governmentýs course on equal opportunity, there are 65 women in senior positions in the Indian Foreign service around the world. For the first time after Independence the highest post in the Foreign Service, is to be occupied by a female foreign secretary, Chokila Iyer. It is commendable that despite various hurdles and mindsets, the Government has managed to ensure equal vocation opportunities for women.

The government has taken a number of steps and enacted a number of legislations to safe and safeguard women and ensure that their ownership are not abused. One such part is the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961.


We recommend the following next steps for engaging send the agenda on measuring women's empowerment:

1. development of a framework of domains or dimensions that can be applied over settings would be the natural next step for building on the strengths of the existing literature on the conceptualization of empowerment. Procedures for determining indicators for each domain, at separate levels of aggregation, and over contexts, should also be developed. This effort would move the measurement of women's empowerment agenda send considerably by allowing for greater specification of exactly what aspect of empowerment-i.e. Which dimension-is of interest, and realistic specifications of the type of change that can be anticipated over a exact duration of time, and given exact interventions. It would also move send efforts to make context-specific measures that more closely seem what they are meant to part and sell out the trust on proxy measures.

2. Better, more coordinated efforts at data collection are needed. For example, the process component of women's empowerment cannot be effectively captured in any measurement project without the availability of data over time. attentiveness to process also requires a consulation of the appropriate time periods for data collection of various types of indicators. At the blend level, a broader range of more sophisticated, gender- disaggregated data are needed with regard to the labor force, store conditions, legal and political rights, political and public processes. At the household level, data need to be more frequently collected for important, but relatively under-utilized indicators such as time use or violence against women.

3. Greater attentiveness to measuring women's empowerment at "meso" levels is required along with efforts at documenting the impact of agenda and course interventions. For programmatic and course evaluation, existing models of monitoring and appraisal that are effective need to be tapped, and their adequacy for women's empowerment as an outcome or intermediary process should be assessed. At a minimum, quasi-experimental appraisal designs and the collection of baseline and endline data must be considered in implementing programs aimed at empowering women. measurement of institutional and normative change in communities requires new and innovative approaches. One coming to reconsider is the firm school model of case studies. Documentation through narratives which are then analyzed using qualitative techniques would be an additional one option. Exploration of the work on public action may also furnish Further guidance. This is clearly an area where a review of lessons learned from connected efforts and cross- disciplinary approaches would be helpful.

4. Greater interdisciplinary engagement is indispensable to make indicators and approaches that capture the key elements of women's empowerment, have scientific merit, and acceptability among important stakeholders. Although at this stage we have drawn only from literature that has been at the core of the discourse on women's empowerment, it is clear that prolonged efforts at engaging this work send would benefit from drawing on a wide range of disciplines. Moreover, based on what we reviewed from sociology, demography, economics, and anthropology, it is clear that there is overlap, but not much interaction over disciplines. Further interdisciplinary engagement would greatly facilitate the task of translating the current consensus on conceptualization to the actual measurement of women's empowerment.


As Un Secretary normal Kofi Annan has stated, "Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance."

In a globalizing world, gender equality and empowerments of women are vital tools-to perform sustainable developments of societies, and are even admitted by the fools!
Still, the violence towards women is an epidemic against which no country is immune-
And today, we face the greater challenges of human ownership and a non-melodious tune!
In the arena of politics, the poor are excluded from governance, regardless of the gender- And women are victims of other people's decisions 'Cause they are assumed to be tender! So the whole spectrum of women's roles to combat poverty, hunger, and disease- Need to be re-examined under the new Millennium lights before the roles decease! Impacts of modern conflicts now influence the global women and girls without a doubt- But they're neither initiators nor prosecutors of conflicts, or matching game of shout! considered efforts must be taken to end the impunity surrounding this lamentable claw- And the perpetrators must be brought to justice, and told that they are not above the law!

Only through action to remedy discrimination against women can the vision of India's independence - an India where all people have the opportunity to live health and effective lives - be realized.

Women Empowerment - Myth Or Reality

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