Empowerment of Women
Equality of men and women has been a subject of debate since ancient times. Various aspects and various effects of this debate are seen in different periods in the history of mankind. Recently we have started talking about the empowerment of women. The term ‘empower’ means to make able, or to give power to. It includes intellectual, social, economic and political power. A women empowered in this sense can effectively participate in decision-making process and exercise the right of self-actualisation alongside men. Here, precisely, are sown the seeds of the conflict. Share in power is the most unacceptable phenomenon, both for men and women. Historically, man has dominated decision-making in all walks of life and naturally he would like to protect his hegemony. Consequently all the attempts at empowering women are half-heartedly made. The postponement of the women’s Reservation Bill in the Indian parliament is a case in hand.
But the real question is does a women need to be empowered by a man? If real and lasting ‘empowerment’ is to be achieved, the answer to this question has to be no. man empowering woman is like a generous millionaire condescendingly parting with a certain (upto acceptable extent) portion of his property. In this case woman will have to be contented with whatever is given to her. The more desired process, therefore, is self-empowerment.
Another question is whether empowering women means weakening men? This question is based on the hypothesis that the main result of empowerment is dominance. This very hypothesis needs to be re-existence, understanding and tolerance are the basic tenets of human society. Self-actualization and empowerment are to be achieved against this background i.e., within the limits set by social norms. Thus empowerment of women is a solution to human and societal problems. It should not be looked at as a threat to the existence and freedom of the male population. In order to establish equality, both men and women need to whole-heartedly participate in the process of empowerment of women