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Gender sensitisation for women empowerment

Questioning the reality of sexes has been as old as human civilization. Women! women’s issues, women and sexual inequality stumbling through existence, pushed in various directions women battle life and challenge deep rooted preconceived notions about the path their lives should take. The road is often rocky but women have been treading on, carving their […]

Questioning the reality of sexes has been as old as human civilization. Women! women’s issues, women and sexual inequality stumbling through existence, pushed in various directions women battle life and challenge deep rooted preconceived notions about the path their lives should take. The road is often rocky but women have been treading on, carving their paths in the mountain of life. The question of gender sensitization is a socially vibrant issue because the plight of women has been frustrating throughout human history, throughout different periods of chequered history women have been hamstrung by their servile and secondary position in family. The human values in all historical periods of civilization remained male dominated and women always marginalized.
History of women’s subjugation to man can well be attributed to the book of genesis of bible which holds women born out of surplus bone of Adam and linguistic bias is seen where ‘Man’ ‘Male’ and ‘he’ are regarded as independent words and by adding prefixes, ‘w’, ‘fe’ and ‘s’ we get woman, female and she. Gradually the socially constructed myths have been shattered and the modern age has brought the ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity and freedom for women.
The constitution of India has certain provisions that specifically focus on women empowerment. Article 14 talks about equality before law. Article 15 enables the state to make special provisions for women. Many schemes have been launched by government such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao MUDRA Yojna, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Right to Education Act, The Mid-Day Meal Scheme and myriad scholarship schemes for girl child have captured public imagination at some levels. However, gender gaps when it comes enrolment into different streams of higher education still continues because we haven’t been able to change mind set of society. Gender balance isn’t still in sight and sex-selective abortion continues to take place and society is still rife with instances of frequent female foeticide, infanticide and neglect.
India has improved its position marginally in the Gender Inequality Index in 2021{0.490} from 2020 {0.493}. The GII measures inequality in achievement between women and men across three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market. Despite the country lowering gender inequality over the years, the achievement is not outstanding even compared to immediate neighbours
Yet patriarchy curfew hasn’t saved Indian women from physical and mental scars. So, to be a woman in this age is both a privilege and a challenge. Still society sets boundaries for women. There is a lack of awareness and empathy on part of society on certain aspects of a woman’s life that is known to all of us. It is widely believed that a woman who is ‘too independent’ is considered having volatile ambition while we try to perpetuate the myth of gender equality but we all know how true it is in our patriarchal society. The reality is that we always endeavour to inculcate a spirit of sacrifice, submissiveness and sagacious sensitivity on our girls. According to National Family Health Survey data only 42.3% and 31.7% females said they own a house and land alone or jointly, respectively. While 51.2% of women respondents agreed to have autonomy in financial matters. while education and basic health indicators have improved , financial and personal autonomy eludes most women. Within the private realm rigid gender roles are practised and promoted and woman’s socio -economic autonomy is discouraged and seen with suspicion.
Isn’t there an urgent need to break the mould and stand up for what a woman wishes to raise her hand in protest because being a man is still considered a wee better in this part of the world than being a woman of her own will. The times are obviously better. Yet it has not reached crescendo for a lot of women. In an equal world there is some unequal music.
Gender sensitization intends to raise certain issues- should a woman need to follow a straight jacketed existence to live with dignity. Doesn’t a woman deserve to be at ease with her sexuality, femininity, and live fearlessly with free will and freedom. Isn’t it the responsibility of society to make sure that gender justice prevails? Shouldn’t the light of gender sensitization enter and spread the fragrance of justice in the milieu?
We need not believe in fate nor in miracles but the act and gestures, measures steps taken by policy maker sitting at the apex matter a lot. The education policy needs to be more inclusive to ensure girls right to education. Also, education policy should target young men and boys to positively changes their perspective towards girls and women. There is a need for strict implementation of statutes that emphasise on women empowerment through education. For security purposes, gender friendly facilities should be provided to women. In order to make women self -dependent, there is need to promote skill development among women and platforms like Digital India should be used by women for marketing purposes. Policies and guidelines should be made in such a way that it is easy for women entrepreneurs to get credit facilities.
How true are Maya Angelou’s words, “A wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim’ How do the new age women even let this happen to her?
Dr Ritu Kamra Kumar, Academician, Educationist, Writer &Poet

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