“Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression” - Margaret Sanger
Women have been always treated as second rated citizens all across the globe despite the fact that they numerically constitute about half the world population today. The scenario is almost the same irrespective of a developed or a developing country. This situation has caused immense loss to their self-dignity as human beings and also their independent entities, associated with men, apart from other matter, in context with intellectual and professional capability. In the very beginning of civilization, women enjoyed a respectable position in society-at par with men. They took part in socio economic activities. But gradually as women became more and more dependent on men for their basic necessities of life, they started losing their position in the society.
It was in the recent past that the society started realising the importance of women and the effect of women empowerment on the socio economic condition of a country. In Shakespeare's works, many female characters are portrayed as being manipulated, if not controlled outright by the men in their lives as fathers, uncles, suitors, husbands. Therefore, Shakespeare's works appear to send mixed singles regarding the notion of female empowerment. Empowerment has multiple, interrelated and interdependent dimensions economic, social, cultural and political. It can be understood in relation to resources, perceptions. relationship and power. But what does women empowerment mean? Women empowerment generally has three components : firstly, women's sense of self worth; secondly, their right to have the power of control their own lives, both within and outside home; and lastly, their ability to influence the direction of social change to create a just social and economic order nationally, internationally and universally.
The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles.
There has been policy shifts from time to time based on the shifts in emphasis. While the focus earlier was welfare and development of women, now the focus is on ‘women’s empowerment’. In fact, the year 2001 was declared as “Women’s Empowerment Year” to bring greater focus on the programmes for women.
Some qualities have to be acquired by women to become truly empowered. They must be aware about risk prevailing at home, in work place, in travelling and staying outside home. They should have political, legal, economic and health awareness. They should set goals for future and strive to achieve them with courage.
Thus it is not just the responsibility of the society or the government alone, every women should stand strong and fight for her rights if they are taken away from her and hence use her rights and power to the maximum extent so that it benefits the entire nation and in turn the whole world. I would like to conclude with the following poem,
The Empowered Woman, she moves through the world
with a sense of confidence and grace.
Her once reckless spirit now tempered by wisdom.
Quietly, yet firmly, she speaks her truth without doubt or hesitation
and the life she leads is of her own creation.
She now understands what it means to live and let live.
How much to ask for herself and how much to give.
She has a strong, yet generous heart
and the inner beauty she emanates truly sets her apart.
Like the mythical Phoenix,
she has risen from the ashes and soared to a new plane of existence,
unfettered by the things that once that posed such resistance.
- Sonny Carol
Written by Sushanth P