DRIVE AGAINST VIOLENCE AND GENDER DISCRIMINATION: THE INDIAN PERSPECTIVE

“You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”
– Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

Why do we often we talk about women empowerment and not of men empowerment?

Why only women need empowerment and why not men?

Women as a whole make almost 50% of the total population in the world. Then why does this booming section of the society needs empowerment?

They are not in minority that they are in need of special treatment. It is a proven fact that even biologically, female race supersede male.

Taking into consideration all these facts why do we even talk about the need for women empowerment?

WHY DO WE NEED WOMEN EMPOWERMENT?

The need for women empowerment arose due to centuries of domination and discrimination by men over women; Often have we heard, it’s a men’s world after all, women are the suppressed lot. They are the victims of varied types of violence as well as discriminatory practices done by men all over the world and  India is no different.

India is a very complex country. We have, through centuries, evolved various types of customs, various types of traditions and practices and these customs, traditions, virtuous as well as dissolute, have become a part of our society’s collective consciousness. On one hand we worship female goddesses; our mothers are the most significant person in our life , wife, daughters, sisters, and other female friends or relatives but on the other hand,  at the same time, Indians are also famous for treating their women below par, both inside their homes as well as outside.

Indian is a country that consists of people belonging to all kinds of religious convictions, and it is seen in every religion women are given a significant place and every religion propagates to treat women with respect and dignity. But somehow there has been latches and loopholes that the society has so developed that various kinds of ill practices, physical as well as mental, against women have become a norm since ages. To take for instance, practice of dowry, sati pratha, female infanticide, parda pratha, wife burning, , sexual harassment at work place, sexual violence, domestic violence and other various other forms of discriminatory practices; all such actions consists of physical as well as mental element.

We have seen in past events, Roop Kanwar, India’s last known sati, was not so lucky 30 years ago. When Roop Kanwar was burnt alive to death in 1987, it was told that her act was abetted by her husband’s family and the whole village. Though these incidents become difficult to prove in the eyes of law.

Another incident in October 2016 : Victim Nazia’s was allegedly burnt to death at her marital house in central Kolkata for not bringing sufficient dowry.  The woman with severe burn injuries was admitted in the Chittaranjan Hospital in Park Circus.

Of late we have also heard of incidents that a woman Kills her 2 months old Daughter After her Husband Threatens to Remarry for Son in the district of Telangana.

Another incident, the brutal gangrape of Jyoti Singh on 16 December, 2012 that shook the country’s conscience and triggered massive outrage, is something that has definately left an impact on our collective memory forever.

The reasons for such unethical behaviour against women are many but most important one is the male predominance complex and patriarchal system of society. Though to eliminate these ill practices and discrimination against women various constitutional and legal rights are there but in reality there are a lot to be done. Several NGOs and self-help groups are moving forth for this cause; also women themselves are breaking the barriers and achieving great heights in all dimensions: political, social and economic. But society as a whole has still not accepted women as being equal to men and crimes or abuses against women are still on the rise. For that to change, the society’s age-old deep-rooted mind set needs to be changed through social conditioning and sensitization programmes.

Therefore, the concept of women empowerment not only focuses on giving women strength and skills to rise above from their miserable situation but at the same time it also lays emphasis on the need to educate men regarding various women issues and inculcating in them a  sense of respect and duty towards women as being equals.

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