Women Empowerment

Women empowerment and economic development are closely related: in one direction, development alone can play a major role in driving down inequality between men and women and empowering women may benefit development.

The persistence of gender inequality is most starkly brought home in the phenomenon of “missing women.” The term was coined by Amartya Sen in a now classic article in the New York Review of Books to capture the fact that the proportion of women is lower than what would was expected.

Today, it is estimated that world over 6 million women are missing every year Of these, 23 percent are never born, 10 percent are missing in early childhood, 21 percent in the reproductive years, and 38 percent above the age of 60.

Stark as the excess mortality is, it still does not capture the fact that throughout their lives, even before birth, women in developing countries like India are treated differently than their brothers, lagging behind men in many domains.

Situation is even grim when we consider that for each missing woman, there are many more women who fail to get an education, a job, or a political responsibility that they would have obtained if they had been men.

While women’s empowerment may mean a lot to the elitest of the elite urban women, it may not even strike a chord for the un-numbered women staying in various nooks and corners of the country.

Empowering the women would mean making them equally important in all walks of life; making their opinions count and giving them an equal respect they deserve. Such an ideal situation can come only through providing equal opportunities to each one of us

While the women living in metropolitan cities and smaller cities as well can definitely identify themselves with any women linked programme or join a movement connected with women, and can hope to participate in that for their benefit, the rural urban divide and disconnect in India prevents the same benefits from reaching the women folk living in our villages.

 

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