Gender Equality leads to sustainable development
March 08 – International Women’s Day
“The world need strong women. Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will.” – Amy Tenney.
In Indian culture and civilization, women receive high recognition and respect. The rivers, which are the lifeline of the people’s life, have been termed as the mother and even our country is called “Bharat Mata”. Our most of the festivals are based on adoration of Goddesses in various forms. A Dharmashatra reveals “Yatra Naryastu Pujyante, Ramante Tatra Devta; Yatraitastu Na Pujyante, Sarvastatra Falla Kriya”; meaning where women are honoured, dignity blossoms and where ever women are dishonoured, all actions no matter how novel it may be, remains unfruitful. Unfortunately, with span of time, the position of women gradually deteriorated globally and practices of Sati Pratha, infanticide, child marriages, dowry, taboo on women remarriages, Triple talaq, Nikah halala and various other discriminations prevailed in the society.
Numerous reformers, in the country as well as abroad, have struggled for change in such stereotypes and to some extent changes in society have reflected. Mother of Indian feminism and first female teacher of India Savitri Bai Phule started several schools for women as well care centre for pregnant rape victims in order to break free from shackles of socially-constructed discriminatory practices.
Our constitution provides equal rights to women including equality, dignity and free from discrimination. Various legislations and policies notably Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019, National Policy for Empowerment of Women 2001, Integrated Child Protection Scheme 2009, National Education Policy 2020 etc. have been enforced against social malpractices to cope up the grimed situation.
Earlier girl’s dreams, with just nice groom and fine home, were faced with a life confined within the four walls of their houses. After globalisation and advent of education, they intended to break the barriers & boundaries of four walls, bridge the gaps between their dreams & reality and realized that outside world is so charming and they should fulfill their aspiration to go ahead.
Once the women were considered only for child care and household works. Their domestic works have always been undervalued and under-reported. Now the time has changed and they are being considered part of mainstream workforce. They are playing pivotal role in every sector, whether it be business, politics, social functions, journalism, government jobs etc. Their contribution is the reflection of gender equality.
Target-5 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of United Nations has been specially designed for Gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls by year 2030. Empowerment of women means increasing the strength of the woman socially, educationally, economically politically and psychologically. There are 3 Ls of women empowerment which includes Learning, Labour and Leadership. Learning helps woman to get limitless knowledge leading to broaden their thoughts & overcome adversities.
Empowering women by imparting quality education and providing relevant opportunities will lead to their holistic growth & development and disapproving gender bias. There is saying, “Sanskrita Stree Parashakti” meaning an enlightened woman is a source of infinite strength. In education sector, special emphasis have been given to girls education through various central as well as state educational schemes namely BEP, Lok Jumbish, APPEP, DPEP, SSA, RMSA, SS, NPEGEL, KGBV, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao etc. According to Mahatma Gandhi, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family.” There is a famous African adage: “If you educate a boy, you train a man. If you educate a girl, you train a village.”
In social sector, 50% reservation in Panchayat & local body elections, 50% reservation in teachers’ recruitment and 35% reservation in government jobs to women in Bihar has led the political and social revolution in the State. Presently, most of the states in India have provided reservations to women in Panchayati Raj Institutions to consciously empower them as decision makers at grass root level. These initiatives have acted as a catalyst for social change.
Governments have also launched several schemes for women emancipation and to make them self-reliant.“Vocal for local” campaign will be possible only when women will heartily participate. Similarly, women have to provide systematic skill training, opportunity and support for Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The day to day happening of heinous crimes like gang rape, sexual abuse, acid attacks and domestic violence are stigma on our society. Despite strenuous efforts, such inhuman incidents are occurring frequently; and there is need of stringent punishment to culprits through fast courts. No doubt, the women, as a mother, sister, and wife have sacrificed a lot for our success. But unfortunately, there are some women who are engaged in suppression and discrimination of their female members.
The women’s day, being celebrated on March 08, is very apt day to think, analyse and act globally on all those issues, which are responsible for transforming women into a capable human capital through political, social, administrative and economic empowerment.
– The writer is a technocrat & academician
The writer is a technocrat & academician