India in the very beginning realised this need. The architect of Indian Constitution was of the opinion that unless and until women are empowered, nothing was going to bring about any change in their destiny. At that time, the women, in the name of sansakaras were tied up with the bondage of superstitions, which they had to carry till the last breath of their lives.
They were considered just a matter of joy and a source of amusement. She was, according the Hindu Shashtra, the bonded slave of her father when she was young, to her husband when she was middle-aged and to her son when a mother. Of course, all the epigrams, aphorisms, proverbs, platitudes and truism have been naked truth about the stature of women in India.
It does not mean that efforts have not been made to bring dignity in the life of women. There has been a long tradition of social reforms by our saints and social reformers which include: Their efforts, however, bore fruit to some extent, but did not make too much difference to the lots of the masses.
In this direction, Dr. Ambedkar tried to break down the barriers in the way of advancement of women in India. He laid down the foundation of concrete and sincere efforts by codifying the Common Civil Code for the Hindus and the principle is capable of extension to other sections of the Indian society. Besides, he also made provision in the Constitution to ensure a dignified social status to women.
He, by codifying Hindu Law in respect of marriage, divorce and succession rationalised and restored the dignity of women. In addition to this, the Sharda Act is also worth mentioning. It has set the seal of authority upon the piece of social reforms, which the heads of orthodoxy were imposing and impending. The Hindu Code Bill, which covers issues such as right to property, order of succession to property, maintenance, marriage, divorce, adoption, minority and guardianship, constitutes part of social engineering via law.
Needless to say, it was a revolutionary measure. It was really a first step towards the recognition and empowerment of women in India.
This gives a woman right to property, which undoubtedly strengthens her social position. In fact, political empowerment is a key to development in this society. It is a must for an all- around development of women. It is the need of the hour to ensure her participation in the decision-making at home, in community and at the national level. But since then, ruling parties changed in power but the Bill could not see the light of the day.
The political parties do not seem to be honest in their perspectives. But before political empowerment, we must concentrate on imparting social education because without academic and social education, the political empowerment has failed to bring desired result as we have seen in case of 33 per cent reservation in local bodies ensured by the historic 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments. The uneducated women are quite unaware of their rights and privileges and are therefore subject to exploitation at the hands of government machinery, as well by family members.
Therefore, our efforts should be directed towards the all- around development of each and every section of Indian women, not confining the benefit to a particular section of women in society, by giving them their due share. It is a must to protect their chastity, modesty and dignity and ensure their dignified position in society.
Without removing social stigma, enduring progress and development could not be achieved. For this, the governmental and non-governmental organisations including media should come forward and play an active role in creating awareness in society. The task is not too difficult to achieve. It would truly empower Indian women to exercise their rights.
To what extent legislative measures have been able to raise the status of women in India? We all know that girls are now doing better at school than boys. The annual results of Secondary and Higher Secondary Board examinations reveal this fact. More women are getting degrees than men, and are filling most new jobs in every field. Since the last quarter of the 20th century and more so after the opening up of die economy, post, a growing number of women have been entering into the economic field, seeking paid work remunerative jobs outside the family.
Women are playing bigger and bigger role in economic field: In fact, almost everywhere, including India, more women are employed, though their share is still very low. Manufacturing work, traditionally a male preserve, has declined, while jobs in services have expanded, reducing the demand for manual labour and putting the sexes on equal footing. We can now see women in almost every field: They have also entered service occupations such as a nurse, a beautician, a sales worker, a waitress, etc.
Many are still excluded from paid work and many do not make best use of their skills. The rapid pace of economic development has increased the demand for educated female labour force almost in all fields. Women are earning as much as their husbands do, their employment nonetheless adds substantially to family and gives family an economic advantage over the family with only one breadwinner. This new phenomenon has also given economic power in the hands of women for which they were earlier totally dependent on males.
Economically independent women feel more confident about their personal lives. Hence, they are taking more personal decisions, for instance, about their further education, marriage, etc.
It is contended that freedom leads to greater openness, generosity and tolerance. This new pattern of working wives and mothers has affected the status of women in many ways.
In brief, economic independence of women is changing their overall equations, perspective and outlook. New forms of gender relationships live-in relationship are challenging the long-rooted conception of marriages as a permanent arrangement between families and communities. In traditional marriages the relationships were hierarchical and authoritarian. The modem conjugal relationships are based on freedom and desire rather than convention. Educated women now feel that there is more to life than marriage.
They can get most of the things they want income, status, identity without marriage, while they find it harder to find a suitable accomplished mate. This is why their marriage is delayed. Young fathers could be seen wash up and making beds, caring of the young and doing many other domestic works.
The division of labour between sexes has changed somewhat.
"Women empowerment" and "women equality with men" is a universal issue. Women Empowerment refers to increasing and improving the social, economic, political and legal strength of the women, to ensure equal-right to women, and to make them confident enough to claim their rights, such as.
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