Why we talk about women empowerment only and not men empowerment? Why women need empowerment and why not men? Women make almost 50% of the total population of the world. Then why this large section of the society needs empowerment? They are not in minority category thus as to require special treatment. Biologically speaking, it is a proven fact that female is superior to male. Then the question arises that why we are debating the topic ‘Women Empowerment’?
What is women empowerment:-
It’s not that just by providing an equal category to women or promoting gender equality would unpick all the problems but the most essential feature is that a woman of our society should be provided with that much freedom so that they are free from all the social, moral and religious limitations and get an opportunity to evolve themselves so that they can take decisions for not only their own betterment but for the upliftment of the society as a whole.
There is no doubt that the importance of women have strongly evolved with the times. There was a time when she was restricted to be just a puppet in the hands of a male dominating society, but now she is creating a niche for herself at all the spheres, and the credit should wisely go to our forefathers who for the dignity of women abolished the evil practises like Sati Pratha. Similarly several other social reformers such as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda, Acharya Vinoba Bhave etc. worked for the upliftment of women in India. For instance, the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 was the result of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s movement for improving the conditions of widows.
During freedom movement, almost all the leaders of the struggle were of the view that women should be given equal status in the free India and all types of discriminatory practices must stop. And for that to happen, it was thought fit to include such provisions in the Constitution of India which would help eliminate age-old exploitative customs and traditions and also such provisions which would help in empowering women socially, economically and politically.
What Constitution of India says about Women Empowerment:-
India’s Constitution makers and our founding fathers were very determined to provide equal rights to both women and men. The Constitution of India is one of the finest equality documents in the world. It provides provisions to secure equality in general and gender equality in particular. Various articles in the Constitution safeguard women’s rights by putting them at par with men socially, politically and economically.
The Preamble, the Fundamental Rights, DPSPs and other constitutional provisions provide several general and special safeguards to secure women’s human rights.
The Preamble to the Constitution of India assures justice, social, economic and political; equality of status and opportunity and dignity to the individual. Thus it treats both men and women equal.
The policy of women empowerment is well entrenched in the Fundamental Rights enshrined in our Constitution. For instance:
- Article 14 ensures to women the right to equality.
- Article 15(1) specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
- Article 15(3) empowers the State to take affirmative actions in favour of women.
- Article 16 provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office.
These rights being fundamental rights are justifiable in court and the Government is obliged to follow the same.
Fundamental duties are enshrined in Part IV-A of the Constitution and are positive duties for the people of India to follow. It also contains a duty related to women’s rights:
Article 51 (A) (e) expects from the citizen of the country to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
Other Constitutional Provisions:
Through 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment of 1993, a very important political right has been given to women which is a landmark in the direction of women empowerment in India. With this amendment women were given 33.33 percent reservation in seats at different levels of elections in local governance i.e. at Panchayat, Block and Municipality elections.
Thus it can be seen that these Constitutional provisions are very empowering for women and the State is duty bound to apply these principles in taking policy decisions as well as in enacting laws.
Conclusion and Suggestions:
In conclusion, it can be said that women in India, through their own unrelenting efforts and with the help of Constitutional and other legal provisions and also with the aid of the Government’s various welfare schemes, are trying to find their own place under the sun. And it is a heartening sign that their participation in employment- government as well as private, in socio-political activities of the nation and also their presence at the highest decision making bodies is improving day by day.