Social Essay

Empowerment of Indian women

i) Empowerment of Indian women
ii) Status of Women in India

Women, all over the world are treated, if we use the words of Aristotle, 'an Inferior type of man. ‘Long before this Manu, the ancient Hindu law-giver used derogatory remarks to define the position of women in Hindu society. It is so because it is the world of man, controlled and dominated by him. However, this has always been the attitude of society whether in the East or West or in the feudal ages. In India this attitude is still persisting in many forms.
What are the problems that ail Indian women today? We have set up Women National Commission as a watchdog to protect their rights. The Hindu code Bill (1956), Hindu Succession Act, Anti Dowry Act, Equal Pay Require¬ments, Right to divorce—all these laws have been formulated as corrective legal steps for their empowerment in Indian society. However, in a society deeply prejudiced against women it can not be expected to give up the idea of male chauvinism so easily.
The status of women in a society is determined by the quality of participation by women in various nation building activities. In this regard, India represents a unique paradox. While we have the distinction of having woman Prime-Minister, Chief ministers, Governors, Justices, Police-officers, Adminis¬trative official and women representatives in a number of International fora, the status of Indian women its still inferior. The most pernicious factor is the evil of dowry system. Over the years it has been institutionalized despite the Dowry Prohibition Act.
Again there is a disparity in literacy rate of men and women. Ours is still an agricultural country and most of rural women are illiterate and still lead life as they did in ( feudal India. The exploitation of working women both at the working places and homes is a regular feature. A working woman is bound to look after cooking and children without the co-operation of their husbands. It is sheer exploitation and disparity between the status of men and women is glaring enough. In factories and offices they are subjected to molestation and harassment. We have just to evolve a system where rights of women at the working places should be defined and their dignity be secured and respected.

Are women not to blame themselves for most of their ills? The sight of women in semi-clad postures with sexual overtures has diminished respect for them. It should not be taken for granted that law alone can come to the rescue of women. They should establish their own identity. There is no dearth of laws, social organizations, constitutional safe guards and genuine concern for their lot. She has to shield herself with courage, confidence and education. She must combine her feminine mystique with brawn. She must not labor under mis¬conception about liberty as sexual liberty, obscene exposure or her neglect of wifely and motherly duties. On the other hand she must learn to perform her womanly duties With authority and dignity.
As a latest measure for tine empowerment of women one—third reservation system was introduced at the Panchayat and Municipal level. Their success at this level has given a lie to the position taken by men that women are not suitable for politics. Similarly a bill for reservation for women in national and state legislatures is waiting to be passed. It has been made compulsory for the corporate sector to appoint women on the board of directors. The question is where is the need for reservation. They have already achieved splendid success as members of judiciary, police officers and even in defiance forces on equal . footing with men. Reservation, for women in legislatures may empower them but basically the artificial quota system is designed just to create a vote bank.