Different Perceptions on women empowerment

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By Education Today

Posted on April 5, 2022


4 min read

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Different Perceptions on women empowerment

Ms. Sushmita Singha is a life transformation coach and an award-winning social entrepreneur. Ms. Sushmita Singha has over 3 decades of diverse experience in entrepreneurship, is a philanthropist and a business strategist. She has been awarded by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Kabul Municipality expressing appreciation for her work in the field of environment, sanitation, promoting school health, hygiene, and safety in that country.

Women in general are unaware of their own being. They are conditioned to be treated in a particular way or to make way for others at their own cost. In India women in general grow up glorifying sacrifices of other women. Many books begin with telling us how the mother works in the kitchen and waits for her children to finish eating and many a times goes to sleep without food. We have grown up with this concept more from Indian literature and text books.

Hindi literature and movies till recent past portrayed mothers being abused by their husbands or others and they suffered in silence. If we look at tele serials which are lapped up by the masses in India, most strong women are evil and most good women are helpless. What we communicate is absolutely lopsided and here is the first impediment to empowerment. It is believed that literature is a mirror of the society, we can very well decipher what the people accept as a whole and therefore these serials are so popular.

In the rural areas and the slums of the Indian society the situation is more complex. Women work in the fields, go out to work as daily wage labourers, cook, manage the children, look after the cattle, care for the elderly and also get beaten up by drunk husbands. The men folk generally go out to work and spend the rest of the day gambling or drinking and women accept it as fate with no questions asked. Nowadays we hear of women in some villages of India putting their foot down collectively against men drinking and abusing them. This is identification of their problem and finding a solution to it against all odds. This according to me is empowerment.

Education and empowerment is not about reading, writing and making yourself employable only.

Empowerment comes from within when you know what respect is all about. Building one’s self esteem, being aware of what is rightfully yours and being independent in your views.

Women will be truly empowered when they have a choice, when they are not scared to take a decision, when they get their due respect and when they feel they are inferior to none.

This can happen only when we help to build a society of equals, when parents tell their children that all have to be equally respected even though individuals may have different abilities. Typically, girls are assigned a particular chore because of their gender, their ability hardly plays a role. In very few households’ girls and boys are given their due, many girls are able to break through with awareness and take on roles which are believed to be for boys only. To do this one has to create awareness amongst the family members and society at large. The knowledge of your ability gives strength and confidence and that is what matters. Being aggressive and rude is misusing your empowerment, it takes away from what one has gained knowledge and ability to grow when shared and used with care and people get truly empowered. 

One day we visited our gardener’s home for a family function in village Sisarma in Udaipur. He is a tribal and lives in a joint family. He introduced us to everyone including his young cousins. He told us that his paternal uncle had passed away when he was young leaving behind a wife and two children. We enquired about his aunt and to our amazement were informed that they had encouraged her to get married to a man of her choice. The children lived with their father’s family and were looked after by the older cousins. This semi-literate tribal woman was supported by her inlaws to take a decision about her life and this empowered her with the confidence to lead her life the way she wished. We often make the mistake of thinking that skill development and education is enough to empower a woman. Empowerment is multi-pronged and has to be achieved in different ways. The patriarchal society has to be confident in its own ability to perform and support others to achieve their potential. Women empowerment cannot be achieved by segmenting the process the society at large has to be empowered.