Only women can empower women. This is especially true in a society like ours where women have historically been exploited, targeted and victimized. Even after seven decades of independence and the nation becoming a republic with a forward-looking constitution, the situation of women has not changed much. True women empowerment comes from women supporting women.
A woman actually suffers in almost all points of her life. In my journey as a social and political worker, I got several chances to see the life of normal Indian women in close up shots. Her suffering starts from the womb. If the fetus’ gender is identified (illegal test in India) as female, its chances of getting aborted are high. Or immediately after birth, the infant is choked to death by thrusting raw rice grain into its throat. These are practices still happening in our country.
Right from her childhood, she is denied all the domestic as well as educational rights and privileges enjoyed by her male siblings. Girls are married off at a very young age. Within few years into marriage, she becomes mother of three or four. While she juggles with her household responsibilities, the men folk often lead a reckless life, leaving the burden of running the family on to her shoulders.
Added to these are the issues of tribal women, Devadasi system, unequal payment for women laborers, sexual abuse, etc. These are the real issues of women. And, they are best understood and empathized by women rather than their male counterparts. Offering a small percentage of government jobs or a few women heading some MNCs won’t solve the problem of millions. I’m not running off these achievements. Still… that’s not enough.
A real difference can be made only if women are represented by women. The problems of these women should reverberate in our legislatures and parliament. New legislations should be made, the previous ones repealed and wherever amendments are needed to improve and empower women, they should be taken up. This would be possible only when at least two-third of law making bodies are composed of women.
#WomenFor33 – WHY IS IT OF TRENDING RELEVANCE TODAY?
Once again it’s election time. Back in 1980, it was one of the visions of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to politically empower women. He saw it as the only solution to handle many issues the nation faces. The Women’s Reservation Bill (The 108th Constitution Amendment Bill, 2008), is a lapsed bill in our Parliament which proposed to a 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and in all state assemblies. A political raw for decades now, the Bill has triggered heated debates in Parliament and outside. More than ‘a dream’, the Women’s Reservation Bill still continues its relevance as an ‘inevitable step’.