Women have been an integral part of Indian society from India’s early days till the Indian independence movement.
Indian women have participated in the nation’s growth. India was also among the few countries to have a female prime minister in the 20th century.
However, an average Indian woman has suffered from degraded thinking and poor laws and societal norms. The condition of women in India has to improve to strengthen the nation’s growth and reach new heights.
Types of Women Empowerment
The United Nations called the year 1975 to 1985 as ‘Women’s decade’ and 2001 as the ‘International Year for Women’s Empowerment,’ which was also adopted by India.
The demand for women’s empowerment is not just because of the history of not giving them equal importance but for the overall development of a society.
This type of empowerment talks about the generations of social discrimination women have faced in society.
We as a nation have come a long way after Independence to give women social recognition, a minimal necessity. But still, in many places, the exploitation continues with regards to health, family decisions, marriage decisions, childbirth, etc.
Having an equal say in all of the matters mentioned above can be a way to give women social empowerment and not limit them to a certain place.
Education has been one of the essential things for acquiring a socio-economic status from historical times. And women were deprived of education.
There is a strong saying that if one male studies, he earns for himself, but if one female studies, the whole family benefits. Women should receive free and compulsory education. It will enable them to understand their rights and duties in society.
It was with this idea that the government launched the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.
Financially independent women is a contemporary phrase. People see women with economic status as powerful. Many aspects can result in the economic empowerment of women, such as:
- Having equal access to work opportunities
- Getting to participate in all kinds of markets
- Having an equal percentage of women in managerial positions
Many organisations work for this particular cause; for instance, they assist women entrepreneurs by setting up microfinance facilities. These two things act as powerful tools for poverty alleviation in today’s society.
Political and Psychological Empowerment
Without a single doubt, Indira Gandhi is one of the most powerful politicians ever (not just in India, but worldwide).
Participation of women in political activities is critical to creating a sustainable government body. Empowerment itself means ‘giving the power out’. And what is a better means other than politics to showcase power?
It gives them confidence and the skills required to be equal to men in society. Our current finance minister is an excellent example of how influential women in politics can be!
As Mahatma Gandhi said, India will be independent only when women can walk on the streets post-midnight. It shows how backwards we are when making women safe in their country. Harassment, exploitation, rapes, honour killing, and the list goes on.
All such incidents psychologically affect women. How strong or independent they feel, that fear inside always stays. So as a nation, our responsibility is to give them that safe space and freedom to be themselves.
Women Empowerment Schemes in India
Let us look at the different women empowerment schemes in India.
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
The government launched this scheme in 2015 to create awareness about female foeticide. The main aim is to promote the girl child’s welfare through her education.
Balika Samriddhi Yojana
This scheme emphasises the overall status of a girl child; the word samriddhi means prosperity. The main goal is to bring positive change for the whole family by covering the girls born after August 15th, 1997, under this scheme.
Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme
The Small Industries Development of India (SIDBI) offers this scheme. They provide financial assistance for women for establishing small scale industries up to 10 lakhs.
Women under the age of 18-45 working in agriculture, retail, and any other small business can get loans up to 1 lakh through this scheme.
India is an emerging economic superpower, regional power, and the 4th most powerful country in a military sense. Despite these facts, the condition of women is far behind, and we still have a long way to go.
Women empowerment is a powerful tool to create a sustainable and progressive society. The different kinds of empowerment are social, economic, educational, political, psychological. India is a participant in the women empowerment initiatives of the United Nations and is working towards achieving its objectives.