Monday, 4 March 2013

Women's empowerment in India - the real awakening



Women’s empowerment and what it means in India’s context. Women in India can broadly be categorized under the urban and the rural. While women’s empowerment may mean a lot to the urban women of India, it may not even strike a chord for the countless women folk of rural India who by far outnumber women living in urban India.

While the women living in metropolitan cities as well as smaller cities can definitely identify themselves with any women linked programme or join a movement connected with women, and can hope to participate in that for their benefit, the rural urban divide and disconnect in India prevents the same benefits from reaching the women folk living in our villages.

Another major drawback and difference between both the categories of women is that majority of women in rural India presently, in the age bracket of 35 – 65 years have been kept away from any form of formal education. The scene is changing rapidly for the better for the present younger generation where a large number of young girls from villages are seen to be attending schools and even colleges, but this was not so earlier.
Thus lack of basic education has indeed prevented the girls in rural India in comprehending what their basic civil liberties are. Their real empowerment is thus confined within the four walls of their homes, and there too they are a shadow of their own self and have to follow the wish of their menfolk.

On the other hand, the urban woman is far more educated, sophisticated, demanding, and aware of her own rights and liberties and generally more well equipped to take care of her own self. Even among the urban women we have a divide; the rich and novae rich and the poor and the middle class. The rich and super rich class of women in India get the maximum advantage of women rights, civil liberties, the programmes beneficial to women and are generally in command of their situation both at home and at their workplace. This is generally the situation of urban women belonging to the upper strata in India across bigger metros as well as smaller cities. 

However the situation is not so rosy within the women comprising the upcoming growing middle class in India. This stratum of society generally forms the bulk of women in urban India spread across big and smaller cities as well as the metros. The women in this group are basically stuck between their homes and the office routine as most of them are in gainful employment either in the vast majority of Government offices or in private workplaces. They don’t have sufficient time or freedom on their hands to put into practice the various benefits emanating from either schemes of social welfare or women oriented schemes announced by either Government or private sector.

The last affected in this category of urban women, which ultimately succeed in forming a bridge between the urban poor are the women who come looking for jobs in the city from a rural background. These urban women are from the poor stratum and fed up of the life of squalor and misery in their villages, take flight to the cities of urban India in the hope of getting a far more satisfactory lifestyle. In fact they are attracted by the alluring lifestyle and glamour promised sometimes by the touts and pimps of the city who are constantly roaming around villages scouting for their prey. Invariably they succeed in luring away to the city a large number of women who either end up as sex slaves in a sick brothel or get some menial jobs as maid servants in the bigger cities of India where household chores are generally looked down upon and frowned by the upper stratum of women.

When we talk about women’s empowerment or movements like ‘one billion rising’ we have to keep in mind the status of women prevalent in all these above categories of both urban and rural India mentioned above.

If we feign ignorance about majority of the womenfolk in the villages of India, as well as those belonging to the poor and middle class working women in urban India, as and when we talk about women’s empowerment, we could end up doing a great disservice to these women. It is in fact these women who remain mostly ignorant of their basic human rights, who need to be awakened from their stupor. It is in fact this class and stratum of society of women who need to unshackle themselves from the ignorance of backwardness and get acquainted with the promised life unfolding before them. These women both in the urban and rural sector, in fact account for at least 70% of the total women force who are denied their basic rights available to them. It is this stratum of women in India who need to be really awakened, and made aware of what can unfold for them. These women if made to come up to their real potential can really redefine the meaning of women’s empowerment in a developing Country like India. A Country where women are cherished and worshiped in the form of Goddesses’ like Sita, Durga and Lakshmi is really struggling to make its women aware of their simple basic human rights.

A woman in most parts is looked upon more as an object of glamour or a mere sex object rather than somebody who can share and shoulder the equal and sometimes dominant responsibilities of decision making in the home and at work place. Although things are slowly changing for most women in India, but the change is so slow and subtle that it is hardly noticeable. The core areas concerning women are still in the process of being discovered and opened up for them. Till that happens it’s an uphill task for majority of the women in both rural and urban India.

In fact it becomes the pious and solemn duty of those women who have understood the power of complete women’s empowerment, to come forward and willingly educate and embolden the fortune of the less fortunate and under privileged section of Indian women. This would prove to be a real test of their character and magnanimity towards the less fortunate of their own. Till this happens, women in India will continue to suffer in silence. Time has come to break this chain, and free the women from their shackles and bondage from which society has constantly sought to bind them. Cheers for the awakening of all women!


  1. Please leave your comments and suggestions....

  2. Good post! There are 2 India's for almost all social issues.
    Here's an attempt at understanding empowerment (more from an urban standpoint)

  3. Thanks for going through the post. No revolution in India is complete without the involvement of it's entire population. As rural India accounts for nearly 70 percent of its population, it is impossible to ignore them...A beginning has been made...

  4. Good article Vikram, you've made some strong points. The first step is awareness...the next step is action (however small).
    Empowerment through self-employment is one of the best models in my opinion. That is why I feature stories of inspirational female entrepreneurs on my web show. If interested, you may check them out here:


  5. thank you Clifford for going through this piece of mine and liking it.....thinking of doing a follow up soon....will def go through your link

  6. Destiny is the key to success in life - no matter how much one may try, he won't get the results unless his horoscope has strong supporting planets.

    Rituparna Roy Chowdhury

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you for going through and liking it.....

  8. Good writing vikram .
    On one side , the women of a city thinks of higher studies, good paid job ,great projects to work while an urban women only thinks of earning a day's meal for her family . Education , awareness , independence are like very unusual and incompatible to them . Its very difficult to imagine what an urban women goes through everyday while sitting in our ac offices and cafeteria. .

  9. thanks Pooja for going through my blog and this article on women's empowerment....liked your views thoroughly - hope you can join my blog too

  10. Women Empowerment is and was always an issue in India, and it can be overcome by promoting self employment and entrepreneurship only. Education is also most prior for women empowerment. Sahara has started a new operation for women empowerment and entrepreneurship named as Sahara Q Saathi. The women in India can have benefits of this opportunity and earn money to be independent. here is the link if you wanted to check

    1. Dear Sonia, Thank you for giving your take on the whole issue of women empowerment - I certainly appreciate that as well as your link you sent....if you want you may send in your own views on my blog and I'll put it up - looking forward to more interaction on similar topics - thanks once again.

  11. A very well written post indeed
    As a girl grows up to become a woman, she is taught to take up ‘light’ jobs, jobs that would let her devote time to her family, no adventurous outings, nothing that may infuse the feeling of being independent. And that’s how she is blamed for being raped. ‘what, you were trying to fly like a bird, go out for late night parties, movies, having fun; now you get this for being a free spirited woman’ and ‘you were ought to face this’. That’s what we get to hear from the country’s political leaders and self styled gods when the nation burns in the fire of rage against rapes, molesting, sexual abuse, violent attacks…and when some women stand to protest for their rights, they are called, ‘dented and painted’.
    You can read my full view point on women empowerment in India here

  12. very nicely expressed Shweta...and I agree with you...

  13. Thanks for sharing this beautiful article.

    We at PRADAN, too believe that women are the central and most important part of any society. We have been working since 1983 to empower women in rural areas so that it not only benefits them or their family but it uplifts the entire society/community.

    For more info please visit :


  15. let's make a better world to live in by empowering women by educating girls..
    for more

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  17. Really very interesting and very valuable information about the empowering women nice work.

    empower women

  18. Great blog post and really helpful and very interesting midnightinfo

  19. what u said is true but in rural areas situation of women is completely different more than 95% of women have no right to take decision in any family matter,no source to earn income by herself totally depend on their husband and many more. the picture we see of women is only related to some women but we have to work on ground level.Schemes which govt have started were only on papers. Lot of work have to be done for actual women empowerment.

  20. Very nice post, impressive. its quite different from other posts. Thanks for sharing.
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  21. Hi Vikram, Any contact details? would like to speak to you regarding a good Women Empowerment project and a trip to see that in action. my ID -

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Thanks for posting a beautiful blog about Women Empowerment in India. As Our National Political Party is doing the same.
    I'm glad to say you that Dr. Nowhera Shaik launched a new political party i.e. All India Mahila Empowerment Party and this party is going to represent in Karnataka this year and the whole nation.
    The Party mission is to empower the women in all the areas such as Social, Political, Physical, Mental & Economic Status. and give a clear path for justice to all.
    Give MEP a chance to rebuild Karnataka with a new direction. Join hands with MEP.
    To become the member of this party, click here