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Everyone including a certain political leader keeps talking about empowering women. But are we really going about it the way we should?
‘Women empowerment’ or empowering women is like, the in thing. Everyone is either getting empowered or empowering fellow women. With a lot of talk about uplifting women, liberating them, giving them wings; I really got thinking what is it about empowering women, which makes a lot of sense today and did not earlier?
Let us just scan at the general perception about today’s women. Well the widespread belief is that she is independent, she is capable of reaching the skies, and she is unstoppable.
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Then, after a while, I get the very same set of people stating how unsafe it is for women in north, and why she should not travel alone late at night, and how Deepika and Priyanka made a bad choice of clothes at so and so event, … I mean do we even listen to ourselves when we talk? And about the change in society’s perception of women, well page no. 3 of TOI still has a new rape story running every day.
SO, what has changed?
Apart from a lot of noise created by many NGOs focused on women betterment and few select pockets in society which have made an effort to accommodate women employees, and a few women leaders; not much seems to have changed.
Is empowering women about having a view about the world and worldly affairs? Is empowering women about being able to travel alone on Delhi roads, safe at night? Is empowering women about making the right choice of clothes? Or is it about having a view on the same set of clothes? Is there a measure on what areas a women should be empowered about? Which sections or department she can have her views on? Who decides these measures?
Trust me 50% of the population lives in a cocoon, where the control mechanism is enforced from the moment she opens her eyes. We learn from observation and examples. She learns from her surroundings, the treatment other females are subject to, their roles and responsibilities, their limitations. How one female is stopped by another to do something; it can be mother or mother in law. Somewhere the teachings of you should not do this, this is not your call to make and I forbid you to do somethings exists and exists in a big way. When they say a woman is her worst enemy, it is so true; she does act as the biggest obstacle for her own progress.
When she steps out of house, society teaches her things to do or not to do because she is a woman. Another mental block crated, making her more vulnerable to what she should do.
I think a woman is truly empowered, when she has the necessary tools to help her exercise her power. And how can she acquire the information, worldly view and the right attitude if she is not imparted that knowledge either through education or through her surroundings? Why is she battling for her rights from the moment she is born, something that she might not even aware about; to establish her identity and her zone?
Can it be called empowering women if a woman is not open minded, not educated enough to differentiate between right and wrong?
Can it be called empowering women when a woman has not been given the atmosphere at home, at school, at college, at workplace, in our county, in marriage to feel empowered?
Can she be really empowered when we live in a hypocritical world, where at each step we are enforcing parallel views? At one point telling her she is equal and the very next instant asking her to help in household chores while the male sibling enjoys television?
How can she be empowered when she has no power to decide about the future she should have?
With the rules and definition of empowerment being bent to facilitate everyone but her throughout her life, the true meaning of empowering women got lost somewhere, and what we as a society gave her is a fractured and repaired version of the same which is good to talk about but may not justify the true notion of ‘feeling and being empowered’.
I don’t know, I may be wrong, but to me, women empowerment is the right or power to exercise the view she carries. And not just overnight transformation in the mental makeup of the society can make that change; it would be years, maybe centuries of effort which would see women at large feeling empowered and independent.
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Hi, I am Shaily Shah; after a good stint of 14 years in corporate life,
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