“When they go low, we go high.” ― Michelle Obama
Women are equal to men in every possible sphere but still face grave challenges in terms of getting their viewpoints accepted and acknowledged in the workplace and at home. There is no dearth of women who are proving their mettle and setting benchmarks even after facing unsurmountable trials and tests. Women show such strength even in the face of adversity because deep down they know that they have to prove to their families and society at large that they can make it big on their own. When it comes to choices and options women are given few and sparingly. Men need to take more accountability in making them powerful and secure in workplaces and society at large.
Empowerment comes from within, women need to carry this baton forward with immense courage and nerve. The patriarchal mindsets create a mammoth barrier which is seldom passed by women, and the ones who cross this burning bridge carry scars for life. Sexual harassment by relatives, colleagues or superiors is a common occurrence and akin to Agni Pariksha faced by most women.
“The total number of sexual harassment complaints at workplaces climbed by 27 per cent in the financial year ending March 2022 compared to the previous year, according to data analysis compiled by anti-sexual harassment advisory Complykaro.com based on company annual reports.”
Although many organizations are creating a safe environment for women by spreading awareness through gender sensitivity programs and workshops. There is still a long way to go. The viewpoint of women needs to be acknowledged and appreciated and their status too should be uplifted by providing an equal share of opportunities and prospects. The freedom to make choices and to follow their dreams and desires unabashedly is what true empowerment is. A woman who is economically and politically secure and stable can not just run her home better but is an asset to the nation as well. Developing nations should make women empowered in every sense of the word to achieve sustainable development goals. Gender disparity and inequality lead to malfunction in society translating into assaults and harassment towards womenfolk. Women face many biases in terms of caste, colour and creed on a routine basis.
Even with all the challenges hanging over their heads women are managing to break the glass ceiling. The ceiling isn’t of glass but of concrete for most women. But they are fighting this battle every day and emerging as heroes. The number of working women is rising showing that the choice they have of turning their lives for the better is with them. They have a resounding say in the matter of career, profession and lifestyle and are becoming less dependent on the diktats of men. Financial independence has brought a sea change and women now control their own lives with ease and elan. They are carving their own identity and setting examples for all to follow.
When this strong-willed woman comes home she gets into the role of nurturer and caretaker and balances the work front and home front with commendable mastery. But what about her nurturing? Her being taken care of? These questions often arise in every single working woman’s mind. She is given the badge of a multitasker who has many roles to play. Despite bringing an equal amount of salary and perks to the table, she is supposed to cater to every need of her man and keep him happy and satisfied. This needs to change as well. Men should be made aware that household chores are the responsibility of both genders. Housework should be shared and divided equally to set an example for coming generations that equality begins at home. Solely talking about empowerment from the dais or in webinars will not evolve the thinking. These noble thought processes need to be implemented at every level and in every sphere. Women need to realise that their dreams, desires and wants are as important as men not only in the workplace but at home too.
The measurement of empowerment is the involvement of women in social, political, economical and technical fields. When they are free of harassment of a physical as well as intellectual nature. Empowerment must be holistic. A conducive environment must be created for the upliftment and flourishment of women in all sectors. From Sati Pratha to female foeticide the social perils and evils have been far too many from the very beginning even though in Indian culture women are given equal status and standing. Crimes against women are prevalent everywhere in the world though in developing countries they are higher in number and frequency. To better the literacy rate in India, girls should be encouraged to avail primary education. By receiving proper schooling women can ascend in any field of their choice. To counter financial obstacles in raising and educating girl child, people must make use of various government schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana, Mahila-E-Haat, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, etc.
Former President Ram Nath Kovind on many occasions has emphasized the need for girls to be educated in the field of science and technology. He was also quoted as saying that the growth and excellence of women in technical areas will add a new dimension to national development. Girls should get higher education in the field of science, engineering and technology. Achieving gender equality in educational institutions should be the main focus of the government and society at large. The government is already putting forth a range of women-focused and gender-sensitive initiatives to provide immediate protection and relief for women in our society. But much more is required in this direction as regularly there are cases and concerns which emerge putting a question mark on the effect of these initiatives. All the onus is put on the government but in actuality, it is on every household to make their daughter’s position strong in society by creating an environment of learning and growing for them.
Biasness and disparity have been daunting for women for ages and fighting them have been a colossal effort. Women’s movements have taken this a notch further where women raise their voices against social evils which hinder their status and functioning as empowered gender. Changes are steady but slow, women still need to catch up with their male counterparts.
KIET Group of Institutions, Delhi NCR, has shown tremendous commitment to promoting gender equality and women empowerment in every possible sphere and through every means available from conducting ‘sensitization at workplace’ workshops to observing the 25th of November as the International Day for the elimination of Violence against Women. In the same vein, ‘Discrimination against Women Pakhwada’ from 25.11.2022 to 10.12.2022 is being observed in the HSS Department of KIET helmed by Mr Komal Mehrotra. Every organization and institution must adhere to The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace ((Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 upholds women’s fundamental right to equality and the right to live with dignity. The right to choose and practice any profession or occupation exercised by women is true empowerment especially when the environment encompassing them is shielded from toxicity and harassment of all kinds and types.
Women are brandishing against all stereotypes by excelling and outshining in fields which were male-dominated till now. Women are setting raving examples for other women to pave their path and carve their own success stories. Educated and empowered women create opportunities and avenues in plenty. Homes and states all hugely benefit and flourish when there are powerful women in positions to catalyst change and betterment. Gender basis as discrimination prohibits women to achieve their true potential and reach their maximum capabilities. Equality has a fundamental constitutional value and thus the government is marching all guns blazing towards making the gender disparities in the country denuded. The government is doing its part, now it is our turn to set the right examples. If you are a victim of harassment raise your voice and start a movement, the world is standing with you and if you see a victim, hold her hand and join her movement. Women are the harbingers of change.
शोचन्ति जामयोयत्र विनश्यत्याशु तत् कुलम्।
न शोचन्ति तु यत्रैता वर्धते तद्धि सर्वदा।।
Where the female relations live in grief, the family
soon wholly perishes, but that family where they are
not unhappy ever prospers.
Ms Sugandha Singh
Assistant Professor, Dept of HSS
KIET Group of Institutions, Delhi-NCR