Edit & Opinion

International Women’s Day: Are women really empowered?

Women empowerment means emancipation of women from the vicious grips of social, economic, political, caste and gender-based discrimination. It means granting women the freedom to make life choices. Women Empowerment itself elaborates that Social Rights, Political Rights, Economic stability, judicial strength and all other rights should be also equal to women. There should be no discrimination between men and women. Empowerment is an aid to help women to achieve equality with men or at least to reduce gender gap considerably.

India’s higher education lacks women academic leaders. It’s a well-known fact that not many women opt for careers in the science, technology, engineering and math or STEM fields. As a result, gender ratios are highly skewed towards male employees. Several companies are running programmes targeting girls-only schools with an objective to build a future bench strength which is more diverse in nature.

You can tell the condition of a country by looking at the status of its women” said Jawaharlal Nehru. Empowerment of women has become the solution to many societal problems. In 21st century, women have to come out of her long cherished male supremacy and her weaknesses. She must have the capacity to battle the issues of this globe. We have a few ideals of successful women in every field except these numbers can be checked just on fingertips. In India, women occupying highest offices of Prime Minister, President, Lok Sabha Speaker and most eminent positions in the corporate segments yet without a doubt despite everything we witness abusive behaviour at home, dowry deaths and mistreatment of women. The female feticide is not an uncommon wonder. Today, women are missing of chances in different fields of employment and are segregated on account of their gender. Deep biases and severe poverty against women create a pitiless cycle of inequality that keeps them from satisfying their maximum capacity. The incidence of rape and cruel attacks is alarming. Empowerment is the helping tool for women to attain equality with men and to reduce gender bias noticeably. Women play an important role in the development of different sectors and contribute for economic improvement in the visible and invisible form. Hence there is a need of social, political, economic and cultural empowerment of women simultaneously to remove this cruel cycle in which Indian women have been entrapped very badly. The actual truth is dreadful conditions and exploitation of women specially women from deprived sectors of the society and those belonging to rural areas.

UN announces the theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2021 as “Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also aligned with the priority theme of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women”, and the Flagship Generation Equality Campaign, which calls for women’s right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, end all forms of violence against women, and health-care services that respond to their needs.

Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organisers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry. Women leaders and organisations have demonstrated their skills, knowledge and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Today, there is more acceptance than ever before that women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table, and make irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies and laws that work better for all. Majority of the countries that have been more successful in stemming the tide of COVID-19 pandemic and responding to its health and broader socio-economic impacts are headed by women.

In addition to persistent pre-existing social and systemic barriers to women’s participation and leadership, new barriers have emerged with the pandemic. Across the world, women are facing increased domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment and poverty. To uphold women’s rights and fully leverage the potential of women’s leadership in pandemic preparedness and response, the perspectives of women in all of their diversity must be integrated in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in all spheres.

 

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About the author

Ritika Karan

A frequent commentator on issues of contemporary importance, Ritika studies Economics at the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Jammu

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