The previous decade can rightly be called as the decade of Women Empowerment. From occupying posts of authority in various fields for the first time to defying primitive norms and hierarchy, it has been a glorious decennium.
- In our own country, women representation in the corporate sector now accounts for more than 30%.
- The Stock exchange Board of India made it imperative to have at least 1 woman in their board.
- Many companies have launched women leadership programmes to encourage women to defy gender barriers.
The practice of triple talaq has been declared illegal and punishable by law. Thus protecting Muslim women from partial decision making on their marital status.
The label of this article was quoted by Justice Arun Kumar Mishra as he stamped the final judgement ensuring Equal Succession Rights to Hindu women. “Once a daughter, always a daughter. A son is a son till he is married. The daughter shall remain a coparcener throughout life, irrespective of whether her father is alive or not,” he said.
A coparcener is someone who has equal share in the inheritance of an ancestral property.
“Daughters will have coparcener rights even if their father were not alive when the Hindu Succession Amendment Act (2005) was passed.” a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said on August 11, 2020.
The support provided by the government and people from all spheres has played a major part in their upliftment. But they still face some challenges purely because of their gender. The common ones are listed below:
- Yes, a large number of women are choosing to work outside home. But in majority of cases jobs offered in far-off cities are usually rejected by family.
- Women are taking up responsibilities and trying hard to work shoulder to shoulder with men. But how would that be possible if they are subjected to curfews and deadlines? How are they supposed to do the same amount of work in the same time, if they leave for home hours earlier before it gets dark?
- Living alone in flats or houses close to the workplace is still a nightmare for most parents, especially when their wards are females.
- In some abnormal cases women are abhorred from accepting high paying jobs. This is because it is believed that the husband should be the one receiving higher pay, so it would be difficult to find a spouse for women receiving hefty salaries.
No doubt women have come up a long way from the past and started to stand up to their beliefs. But there is always room for improvisation. Some of the practices that really need to be implemented as soon as possible are:
A major reason why women give up their careers is childbirth. The government has issued policies such as Maternity leave for 26 weeks which has been productive up to some level. But in many cases this is not very effective because a new born child needs constant vigilance and care for more than 6 months. A bill proposing Paternity leave for was proposed in 2017. This bill focuses on the fact that childcare is a joint responsibility of both parents. Not only the mother but the father too needs to take leave from office work to take care of the baby. It will promote equality of responsibilities among the couple and empower the mothers to rejoin after childbearing as she will be assisted in childcare. The bill should be enacted promptly.
No parent of a working daughter is assured of her safety. Gruesome crimes against women ensure that this stays the same. We can prevent many heinous crimes by ensuring that roads, paths to public washrooms and water points are well lit. Police should provide proper vigilance around secluded areas and areas around prior crime scenes. Women helpline services should be prompt in their actions. Self defence training should be made compulsory in all teaching institutes.
In order to make women strong and independent, it is crucial to educate them. Although it is rapidly increasing, but the literacy rate of women is far less than that of men. Provision of girls’ schools and colleges and hiring female teaching and non-teaching staff could be an effective step to change the situation. An educated person of any gender is more capable of looking after himself/herself and of making apt decisions. They can take better care of their health and understand the importance of sanitation.
A country is never powerful if its daughters are exposed and defenceless. The issue of women safety and empowerment must be dealt with utter priority and seriousness. In the end, all women and people are unique in their own way. One can never fully understand the challenges the other person faces in his/her life. But we can make sure that we do our part in making our society a better place than yesterday.
Saumya is a curious and tempestuous undergrad pursuing her BTech. degree from Bangalore Institute Technology. She is an avid reader and a numerate.