Empowerment of any section of a society is a myth until they are conferred equality before law. The foundation of freedom, justice and fraternity is based on the recognition of the inherent dignity and of equal and inalienable rights to all the members of the society. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10th December 1948, envisaged in Article 2 that “every one is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration without distinction of any kind.”
It has traditionally been accepted that the thread of family weaves the fabric of Indian society. Women are considered as the hub center of the family. Still, in the era of political domination by foreigners, the women in India suffered most. A few social reform measures were taken towards the later 19th and early 20th century during the British regime. The inception of Mahatma Gandhi in the National freedom movement ushered a new concept of mass mobilization. Women constituted about 50% of the country’s total population, he, therefore, involved women in the nation’s liberation movement. The mass participation of women directly in the freedom struggle was the great divide in the history of (Feminist movement) empowerment of women. They shed age-old disabilities and shared the responsibility of liberation of their motherland with their counter parts. The freedom of India thus became synonymous with the empowerment of women. In this context the date of India’s political freedom (August 15, 1947) is a landmark in the history of women empowerment in India. It brought in its wake a great consciousness in our society for human dignity. It was realized that every citizen of independent India be accorded equal treatment under the law.
This is the urban age and Women along with men are here to make an impact, let’s not ignore them, let’s listen and prioritize them. In almost all societies through history, Women have occupied secondary position vis-à-vis men.
Women’s rights and issues have always been a subject of serious concern of academicians, intelligentsia and policy makers. From pastoral society to contemporary information and global society, the role of Women has changed drastically. The role of a typical “Grihani” (house wife) who catered to all the requirements of the house holds including the rearing and upbringing of children in various sub roles of daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, mother, aunt etc. has been played quite efficiently. The continuity of changes in socio-economic and psycho-cultural aspects of human living has influenced the role of Women. With the process of Industrialization, Modernization and Globalization showing its deep impact on the human society all over the world, the role and responsibilities of Women has attained new definition and perspective. Further this has also led to addition of responsibilities and widened the role of Women who also shares the financial responsibilities.
The Women issues have received tremendous attention in the planning circle and in wide intellectual discussions and forums at national and global platforms. However the existing lacuna in the formulation and execution of the policies has not changed the grass root situation to a great extent. On the encouraging front, in the South Asian countries there have been relatively increasing economic participation in past one decade. Statistically the rate of literacy among Women has also increased. The educational and occupational patterns have also changed and widened with Women entering the domains, which till decade back was considered to be dominated by men. Further there has been encouraging rise in the percentage of the Women joining service sector especially Banking and Information Technology. In the background of the gigantic transformation, the core issue, which still remains unanswered, is that of Women’s right and empowerment.
The Women rights are the means by which a dignified living is ensured thereby safeguarding her privileges. Thus the basic fundamental rights of speech, freedom and decision-making are her basic rights as an individual and citizen. The right for education and employment are significant for Women development and national development in the wider sense. The power and freedom to exercise these rights is Women empowerment. Women rights and empowerment are not independent of each other. The Women empowerment can only be facilitated only if she is able to exercise her right in the socio-economic spheres of decision-making.
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