Barriers To Women Empowerment - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Barriers to Women Empowerment

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 23, 2022 11:32 pm

Much has been written and talked about women empowerment. It will hit the headlines every now and then over the next one year with the Union ministry of Culture deciding to celebrate Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s 250th birth anniversary throughout the year. This social reformer attacked the age-old social taboos of caste system, polygamy, child marriage, sati, untouchability, seclusion of women, etc. at a time when Indian society was plagued by evil practices with people rigidly following them. To this day, people look up to him as he championed women’s rights including education and property inheritance. The government of India has been propounding women empowerment and awareness programmes and seminars have been conducted across the country over the years. It has become a global movement and visible progress has been made over the years with more girls going to school and excelling in various fields, more women seen in parliament and decision making bodies, and laws advocating gender equality being enacted. Despite these gains, women and girls continue to face discrimination and violence unabated, and it is more pronounced in rural and remote areas. Several social issues, especially those connected to women that Roy tried to eliminate more than two centuries ago still exist. This goes on to show that society has failed to empower women despite all talks and schemes rolled out over the years.

Ideally, women empowerment is not about giving several ministerial berths in a government or giving 33 per cent job reservation. It’s about enjoying equal rights and having the freedom to choose and prioritise their lives, which will enable them to hold important positions and lead the society; contribute to society and have people respect them for their capabilities. Also, they should feel safe, be it in their homes, office or streets. Now, the question is: Are women in our society empowered? It’s a NO. Though the government has rolled out various women-oriented welfare schemes, policies and laws, etc., which surely contribute towards empowerment, it’s a long way to go before women are empowered politically, socially and economically. The situation is even more pathetic in Naga society with the basic tenets that determine the empowerment of women remaining unshaken despite all loud talks. Politically, Naga women have no place, which is manifested in the absence of even one legislator in the incumbent state assembly or in the past. And only two women, Rano M. Shaiza and now Phangnon Konyak have represented the state as members of the Indian parliament. Socially, women in Nagaland have no voice even on matters of public importance with men leading almost all civil society organisations and decision-making bodies; they continue to face discrimination and harassment. Financially, Naga women still do not have inheritance rights and no economic security if marriage ends in a divorce. What have we gained from talks and awareness campaigns on women empowerment over the years? It’s time the village councils, tribal hohos and civil society organisations and the government emancipate Naga women from these bondages that have been hindering them.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 23, 2022 11:32:52 pm
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