It is pathetic to learn how ‘Devi’ or ‘Goddess’ of the pat tumbled down. When we cast a glance on the ancient Indian scriptures, we find that woman was given a glorified status. She was considered to be an embodiment of Shakti. During the medieval period, the status of women began to be degraded. Purdah system came into vogue.
Amelioration in The Status of Women (Development of Women Empowerment)
However, gradually they grew self-conscious and self-reliant. During the freedom struggle, Sarojini Naidu, Aruna Asaf Ali, Kasturba Gandhi, Sucheta Kriplani and other women participated and fought against all odds along with their male counterparts.
Presently, one feels pleasant surprise to find women playing major roles in politics, economy, household, society and nation building. The examples are not few. None can forget Indira Gandhi, M.S. Subbulaxmi, Kiran Bedi, Vijay Laxmi Pandit, Mother Teresa, P.T. Usha, Medha Patekar, Madhuri Dixit, Kalpana Chawla, Arundhati Roy, Najma Heptulla and Suneeta William. These great daughters of India have done marvel in the fields of politics, administration, sports, cinema, performing arts, space and science. There are several famous women entrepreneurs also. The results reveal girls performing better than boys in board examinations and competitive exams.
However, as our eyes penetrate deep into the surface, we are shocked to find that whatever we view from afar are only rare examples. Their pathetic conditions becomes obvious as under :
- Second Class : They continue to treated as second class citizens.
- Prey to Crimes : The incidents of female infanticide, rape, bride-burning and torture are heard off and on.
- Helpless Condition of A Housewife : A housewife has limited social and intellectual circle. Her capabilities are limited within the household.
- No Better Position of Working Women : The position of a working woman is not too better as she has to face the hungry looks of her male colleagues and others.
- Prevalent Vices : The dowry, sex determination during the time of maternity, prejudice against the female child, denial of ancestral property rights for the females, wife-beating and child marriages still prevail in Indian society. She cannot travel long distance, cannot make friends at will as a male does and is treated as weaker than males in every walk of life.
- Object of Tortures : The woman especially the women in rural area have to suffer all types of tortures inflicted upon them e.g. eve-teasing, bride-burning, child marriage, exploitation in the offices, lower wages for labour etc.
Reasons Responsible for the Continuance of Women’s Pathetic Condition
Some of the reasons are male dominated society, male ego, religious and social beliefs and above all, the literacy and backwardness of women which is clung with their names.
Suggestions for The Improvement of Women’s Condition
Various suggestions are offered. Some are as under :
- Adjustment : It is essential to make the male ego adjusted with the female identity. A husband must respect his wife even if she is a housewife. In case, she is a working woman, he must co-operate with her. She must be treated as a friend and not as a mere money making tool.
- More Female Officers in Police : Police should accept more female officers and constables so that they are able to empathize with the female victims of our society.
Some of the measures adopted to ameliorate their position. Some measures are as under :
- In the sixth five year plan, a separate chapter, on “Women Development and Empowerment” was included.
- In the year 1985, a separate Department of Women and Child Development was set up.
- Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse ) Act, was passed in the year 1994.
- Major programs like Support to Training-cum-Employment for Women (STEP), Mahila Kosh, Woman’s Development Corporation etc are started.