Women Empowerment- How Empowered Are We

Source : http://www.legalserviceindia.com
Author : sneha suman 786
Published on : April 13, 2016

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Women Empowerment- How Empowered Are We?

Women empowerment is not a new topic to debate on. In the past few years we have witnessed several organizations and activist coming out and raising their voice for women empowerment. But the question that lingers is are women really empowered? Most of us will answer yes women are very much empowered and excelling in various fields. Whenever this question comes up we start giving various examples like Sania Mirza, Indira Gandhi etc. But, the question is what we actually mean by empowerment. If we keep it in plain and simple words, women empowerment means equal treatment. We are talking about that equal treatment which is contained in the constitution of India that everyone is equal and should receive equal treatment. But the question is what does equality mean? Are we talking about the equality to live freely or the equality of opportunities? Women all around the world have proved that they are no less than men. Despite several accomplishments in various fields are they getting what they really deserve? There has been tremendous increase in the rate of crime committed against women. The cases pertaining to sexual harassment has rapidly increased especially in the corporate sectors and educational institutions. High profile cases like R.K Pachauri’s case shocked the entire nation and served as a wakeup call that women are not safe anywhere.

In India, marital rape is not considered to be a crime as there is a general belief that there is no such thing like marital rape. But, the question that upswings is why marital rape has not been recognized as an offence. Why the Indian penal code doesn’t contains any provisions for punishment of this offence. Why are we neglecting the brutality of this act when it requires special attention and be categorized under heinous crime? But, these questions are left unanswered. Does that means women has no freedom of choice, she is not entitled to say no and she is subjected to the will of her husband. The incidents of dowry death, female foeticides, acid attacks, Gang Rape clearly brings out the present picture of the position of an ordinary woman in our country.

We cannot take the examples of few women who have done extraordinarily well and gauge the position of the women on that basis and hide the truth. If we want to analyse the true position we really need to see the life of an ordinary person. When a women doesn’t feel protected in her own country, when she is afraid of her own people then what empowerment are we talking about? Eve- teasing has become a part of every women lives. Is enacting legislations are the only solutions left. Why every time we need a candle march to make people realize that we exist so do our rights.

It is high time now the government should understand the severity of the matter and should be aware that merely enacting legislations is futile. Just making reservations for women, launching welfare schemes is of no help unless the government is completely aware of the ground reality. It is said that a nation’s development lies in the progress of its villages. There are several villages in our country where women are deprived of their basic rights and treated cruelly. The government should set up several vigilant commissions to prevent exploitation of women. Some authorities should be entrusted with the responsibility of door to door checking so that no girl child is left uneducated. The NGO’s working for the rights of women should not come into the picture after the crime is committed. Their effort should be designed in such a way so that they inhibit the crime. Several help desk comprising of women officers should be created all over. Several incidents have revealed that the helpline numbers are of no use as the officers sometimes do not respond and fail to provide immediate help. Stringent rules should be made for those officers.

Undoubtedly, the efforts made by the government is commendable. But, no efforts taken by the government would be fruitful unless and until there is an active participation of public. Several crimes can be prevented if people do not just stand as spectators. No legislations and no rules will be required if we start appreciating other peoples right. Women will be feel empowered the day she starts receiving human treatment. The special privileges and benefits will not be required to make people realize her existence the day she is given the right to live freely and in the safe environment.

Advocate Sneha Suman
LL.M (National Law University, Odisha)

The author can be reached at: sneha.suman03@legalserviceindia.com