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EMPOWERING WOMEN FOR SOCIETAL EXCELLENCE

M.Saravanan, Assistant Professor, Department of International Business,


Sree Narayana Guru College, KG Chavadi, Coimbatore 641 105.
Mobile No. +91 99434 37749 Email.: shravan.murugan@gmail.com

Indian women are considered as a source of power (Sakthi) since time immemorial. Goddesses
are being worshipped as mother, in the major religions of India, which means the mother is the
original source, giving life to everyone.
Moreover, the mother is the first teacher for the young ones, who helps to recognize the world
from the beginning. Hence, women should be given proper recognition and support. However, in
the post-independent era, the policy makers realized that women were totally neglected and not
recognized.
All round economic development will remain a distant dream until all sections of the society are
fully involved in the process of economic and social development. Exclusion of any section on
any basis will not only deny the fruits of economic progress to that neglected section, but delay
the process of development itself. One key segment of the society, included in the mainstream
economic activity could definitely change the fortunes of the society as a whole, is obviously
women.
The benefits of women empowerment reflect itself in any of the following ways:
I. Empowering women through Education
Women are expected to take up a large portion of the household activities even in the childhood
stage. They are most hard-pressed physically as well psychologically by the burden of different
types of work routines. They are always in a disadvantageous position as compared to men. The
Female child is always considered as a burden to the family and the male child is always
perceived as a gift in ordinary walk of life as a matter of traditional/conventional/orthodoxical
notions in this world.

To improve any society, recognition on the ethics of the birth a child should not be on the basis
of gender. In fact, more emphasis should be laid in grooming a female child to compensate the
said existing disadvantageous positions, with reference to a male child. Government, of late has

formulated a number of policies from time to time to give free primary education to children but
in practice, a girl is usually deprived of these privileges.

Education will render enabling knowledge of sanitation, hygiene, cleanliness thereby improving
the scientific temperament of a child. By natural instinct, a girl child more attached to her
surroundings and would help improve it, if she is substantially educated. As playing the role of a
mother, she can feed necessary input in walk of life educating her own children and as a teacher
she can improve the same of many more.

Nearly 80 percent of the population of India are residence of rural areas. Literacy rate in rural
areas is relatively lower as compared to urban areas. As per the 2001 census, 46.70 percent of the
rural populations are literates compared to 73.20 percent in the urban areas. Then, the rate of
female literacy in rural areas is still lower.

The policy makers of our country have emphasized long back that there should be an intensified
effort in Human Resource Development, with education playing its multifaceted role. The
Department of Education under the Ministry of Human Resource Development evolved a
National Literacy Mission Programme to improve the educational status of rural women. The
main objective of this Mission is aimed at provision literacy to 50 million adults in 15-35 age
groups by 1995. The focus of the mission was on rural areas with the special concerns for
women and persons belonging to scheduled caste and scheduled Tribes.

Apart from programmes run by Government agencies a large number of voluntary organizations
were identified to help in adult and continuing education programmes, organizing training
programmes for the instructors and supervisors (TOT), preparing and publishing learning
materials and audio and video materials for educating this neglected sector of women.
Government has made provision for free primary education to rural children. But a girl child is
usually deprived of these privileges. She is the one who is wanted back at home to do the
household chores or to look after the younger ones when the mother is away from house or she
herself is engaged elsewhere in an occupation.

These women are most hard-pressed by the burden of various types of manual/physical work.
Worse is the condition of those residing in hill areas. They toil throughout the day collecting fuel
wood and drinking water from distant places, doing household chores like cooking, washing,
house-cleaning, cleaning and grinding of food grains. In addition they also work in agricultural
fields, looking after domestic animals. In the Himalayan region, because of undulated land
surface, all these works turn out to be more strenuous and drudging
Some of the main streams, Universities have established Open Universities to provide the nonformal education and promote literacy.

Proper education to women can make them to be in better organized position and the knowledge
gained through education may in turn help them simplify their task and make the life much easier
and comfortable. The illiterate women may gain access to education and become literate through
in-formal education channels facilitated by Non Government Organizations/agencies.
Swami Vivekananda had said decades back that, As a bird cannot fly on one wing, no society
can make progress unless its women too join men in all activities. Stress on education of the
female child therefore, demands special attention. But the actual scenario is just the opposite. It
is the male child who is more privileged and gets a better chance in every aspect. This imbalance
should be corrected in favour of female child by exposing them to proper education

Empowering Women through Education suggestions


The International and National developmental Agencies working for women empowerment are
supporting education as a means to women empowerment process. Government of Tamilnadu
initiated a number of welfare measures for women like, prevention of female infanticide through
cradle scheme, compulsory primary education of girl children, adult literacy Programme and the
like. The Non-formal education given to women and also the training imparted to the members
of the Self Help Groups (SHGs) who are largely illiterates are aimed at providing a better quality
of life in terms of more hygienic environment, more eco friendly practices and better living
conditions. The above should be further strengthened.

II. Empowering Women Through Employment


The illiterate women are, by and large, exploited by the society forcing them to work on
household chores and in agricultural field for a pittance. Her contribution to social activities
continues to be undervalued and in most of the cases it receives no value at all. Education and
Training provided to the women may change this picture radically and place them beyond
exploitation. Further, Education and Training are expected to provide full scope for the
development of the potential abilities of women. This may enhance their knowledge and skill
leading to productivity increases further paving way to gainful employment.

However, social taboos and psychological inhibitions have become the barriers to most of the
women prohibiting their active participation in activities outside the home. Therefore,
opportunities are denied to women for making the best use of their inherent and acquired
abilities.

The environment is largely responsible for the poor and ineffective utilization of the potential
among the women and this is true in the case of women even with higher education. Three
dimensions of the issue are now presented to demonstrate the above statement.

(i)

Qualified women not seeking employment

(ii)

Qualified women seeking employment but not preferred by the job providers; and

(iii)

Qualified women being employed but denied parity with men.

(i) Qualified Women not Seeking Employment:


Many educated women do not seek employment since women are not culturally expected to
contribute to the revenue of the family through seeking job. Only in the cases of inadequate
revenue generated by men in the family, women are expected to come forward to supplement the
family income by seeking jobs elsewhere. In most of the cases, such jobs are accepted keeping
the convenience of the family and without much hindrance to their domestic responsibilities.
With the result, jobs are not available to women to demonstrate their abilities. In many cases, as
the contribution of men to the family revenue enhances, women opt out from the jobs. Therefore,

employment is not a priority for educated women of the above category in the said
circumstances.

(ii) Qualified women seeking employment but not preferred by the job providers:
As it was mentioned in the previous case, culturally job is not a priority for women; further,
service sector is an area where women are preferred. For example, Nursing, Public Health,
Teaching at Primary and Secondary Schools, Front Office, Secretarial work, customer service
and the like are the some of the sectors where women are preferred due to job nature. However,
sectors like Engineering, Manufacturing, Technical selling, Hi-tech areas, jobs involving
extensive travel and the like are some of the examples where the job providers do not prefer
women to men as they feel that men are more apt and suitable to their requirement and the
women are appointed only when suitable men are not available in that respective trades.

(iii) Qualified women being employed but denied parity with men:
It is reported that qualified women are employed by the job providers in several sectors, but such
preference for women is only to pay relatively lower salary than men. In public institutions and
large private institutions, such disparity in the emoluments is not visible, but in many private
institutions which are smaller is size such disparity is quite evident. This is due to the fact that
women do not take up job to demonstrate/exhibit their abilities, but accept jobs only to
supplement their family income and in such cases the job providers are expected to be more
flexible to suit the convenience of the women. In these cases, women with no other go willingly
accept lower pay.

Empowering women through employment has two options, one the gainful employment and the
another is profitable self-employment. Proper education and training can motivate women to
seek gainful employment in their empowerment process.
Education and training provide enough scope for the women to understand, actualize and
capitalize their inner potential for better performance in their employment environment.

Women not seeking employment should utilize their knowledge and skill obtained through
education and training for making their environment more conducive for their growth. They
should contribute in terms of better family management, assisting the husband or family business
and grooming their children as leaders of the society. For kids, the mother is the best teacher and
trainer.

Qualified women who are not preferred by the job providers are compelled to wander for
opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. Many women bureaucrats, women police officers and
women corporate executives demonstrated their abilities in the sectors earlier dominated only by
men. Ms. Kiren Bedi, I.P.S.,Ms. Indira Nooyi, and the like are some of the examples for
successful women in employment.

III. Empowering Women Through Entrepreneurship


While discussing the process of empowering women through enterprises, the two ways that are,
a. Gainful employment
b. Profitable self-employment

Women seeking profitable self-employment have to not only overcome the socio-psychological
inhibitions and taboos but also develop lot of self-confidence and social intelligence in the
process while taking up a commercially viable entrepreneurial activity.

When proper exposure and knowledge are imparted to them, the past history depicts that Indian
women proved themselves to be of highly productive force. When proper education and
environment are given, the social taboos can be broken up and women force can be used as a
good human resource potential for the development of the Nation. Today, we can see, educated
women themselves broke the chains of their psychic prisons of the socially unaccepted habits
and customs thereby proving themselves as good professionals in various fields.

In the national and international level, women are preferred to be Entrepreneurs. They are
perceived as relatively more sensitive in clearing the debts/repayments. They always possess a
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sense of service and devotion in every activity naturally. They have more tolerance, patience,
and the like, which are very much essential for successful functioning as entrepreneurs than men.

In terms of personality, there are strong similarities between male and female entrepreneurs.
Both tend to be energetic, goal-oriented, and independent. However, men are often over
confident and less flexible and intolerant than women, which may result indifferent management
styles.
Women entrepreneurship Individual and Group Exercises
As a part of the strategy-building process for increasing peoples participation for empowerment
and social change, there is need to grasp the meaning of empowerment.

Empowerment begins at the level of individuals and then spreads at the community/group to
which the said individuals are belonging to through their active participation with due
empowerment in the form of Self-Help Groups. There are several examples where the women
groups were able to demonstrate their power opposing social evils like women exploitation,
dowry harassment, Alcoholism in the villages, resulting in ill-treating (corporal beating) and the
like

Conclusion
With a view to conglomerate the above said suggestions to uplift the morale and recognition of
the women segment in the society, the managerial experts and practitioners shall not neglect
women as a matter of weaker sex sociologically in this universe. In the recent global scenario
without any inhibition to the gender aspect, women are emanating as a special
effective/productive force in discharging duties/responsibilities/tasks in all the fields of
specialization without restricting their physical/psychological stigma in the ordinary routines of
their lives. In the next two decades our nation will definitely visualize a rejuvenated proclaimed
atmosphere dominated by women and women only in the key apex level domains.