Roman Saini is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
Condition of wor India and their role in Freedom Struggle- Lesson 1
Introduction: In the words of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women". Sadly, this tool remains unutilized in most part of the world, more so in India 1. 2. Since ancient times, not just in India but even in the Western world, women had been considered nothing without a man, existing under his domination, following his rules and prohibited in decision making roles. 3. The prevalence of patriarchy, a social system in which men are considered to be superior to women and in which, men have more control over resources, decision making and ideology is the main culprit. In patriarchy,violence against women is a part of the system.According to the UN, one out of every three women experiences violence.This means over one billion women and girls experience violence. This is the biggest war going on in the world. 4.
Social and political discrimination: Women in India belong to different classes, castes, and religions communities. But it can be safe to say that most women experience gender inequalities and subordination. They lag behind men in all indicators of social and human development such as life expectancy, health, nutritional and educational levels. 1. 2. Women are concentrated in unskilled, semi-skilled and low paid jobs, get lower wages than men and hardly own and/or control property and means of production. he number of female headed households has been increasing and they are amongst the poorest in our countries The participation of women in political and social decision-making is abysmally low. Women's participation in the Parliament has never been higher than 10 per cent. Therefore, they have little say in the formulation of social, economic, legal political rules which govern their lives 3.
Health is another area where the woman suffers. Most women have neither the time nor the mindset or facilities to go in for healthcare. Rural women especially, have no access to even such a basic health care facility as a toilet in their homes 4. Social stigma related to single women whether widows, divorcees or unmarried women have also been one of factors for the lowly status of women in India. A single woman is always regarded as an object of ridicule, or as a social outcaste 5.
Burdens and fears of women: In large parts of India, girls live with disadvantages, burdens and fears. They carry the burdens of neglect, discrimination, household work, looking after siblings and of work outside the home. 1. Girls in India continuously live with fears - fear of being aborted, fear of being poisoned, fear of being neglected and allowed to die, fear of not getting adequate affection, care, nourishment, medical attention, education 2. If these fears were not enough, the fear of sexual abuse ranging from playful manhandling to rape always haunts them. Even after the passing of stricter and better laws, the number of brutal gang rapes has been increasing. Nothing can highlight it better than the Nirbhaya case. 3. 4. After marriage, they face the fear of loneliness, maladjustment, mental and hvsical torture
Change in the air: Practices which are thousands of years old do not change overnight. In India, almost a century long struggle for empowerment of women brought women the property rights, voting rights, equality in civil rights before the law in matters of marriage and employment. 1. After independence of India, the constitution makers and the national leaders recognized the equal social position of women with men and made constitutional provisions for equality Similarlv, several measure assign equal status to women in the economic, political and social fields. 2. 3. s were taken by the su ccessive Governments to The passage of several Acts by the Parliament and introduction of various Schemes by the central well as state governments during the last few decades have done much for women's emancipation both legally, politically and socially. 4.
5. Due to work done by pressure groups, women's movement and actions by governments and civil society organizations, one can see positive changes for women, for example There is growing gender awareness as a result of which, women's subordination is recognised and the need to challenge it is accepted by al a. b. Violence against women is recognised and condemned; c. Women's participation in all decision making bodies is seen as important d. There have been improvements in educational and job opportunities for women policy statements have become more gender sensitive. There is some increase in the number of women participating in government and non-government development agencies and programmes and Women's participation in Panchayati Raj Institutions has increased. Our governments have set-up women's bureaus, commissions, departments and/or ministries to look into gender issues. e. f. g.
Women empowerment: In human societies, people who control resources and ideology (people's thinking, belief systems etc.) become the decision makers and controllers of families, communities and countries. 1. Women's empowerment, therefore, would require changing patriarchal thinking and structures, giving women control over resources (natural, human, intellectual, financial, inner resources), bringing them into decision making roles etc 2. It needs to include women's struggles and movements therefore, need to be closely linked to peace movements, ecology movements, workers' and peasants' movements, human rights movements and movements for democratisation and decentralisation of society. 3.
Issues which need special attention: Gender gap in the ownership and control over property is the single most important factor affecting women's economic well being, social status and empowerment. Lack of access to gainful employment is another important issue. Women are denied opportunities of learning and developing skills, their household work is not valued and unemploved women are considered a burden Sharing of household and child rearing work is another area which needs to be looked into because that is where maximum subordination of women is located Control over women's sexuality also needs to be studied, understood and addressed. Early marriages, purdah, restrictions on women's mobility, which are all ways of controlling women's sexuality, have drastic implications for the freedom and autonomy of girls and women And the most important, patriarchal ideology needs a big attention. 1. 2. 3. 5.