As we all know that India is a male dominated country where woman is forced to take care of her family and live in her home along with many other restrictions.50% of the population in India consists of women who are not empowered and are restricted by many social taboos. In such a situation, we cannot say that our country will be developed in the future. If we want to make our country a developed country, it is very necessary to empower women along with the efforts of men, government and laws.
The need of women empowerment arose because of the gender discrimination and male domination in the Indian society since ancient time. Women are being suppressed by their family members and society for many reasons. They have been targeted for many types of violence and discriminatory practices by the male members in the family and society in India and other countries as well. Wrong and old practices in the society from ancient times have taken the form of well-developed customs and traditions. There is a tradition of worshipping many female goddesses in India including giving honour to the women forms in the society like mother, sister, daughter, wife and other female relatives or friends. But, it does not mean that only respecting or honouring women can fulfil the need of development in the country.
India is a popular country proving the common proverb like ‘unity in diversity’, where people of many religious beliefs belong to the Indian society. Women have been given a special place in every religion and this will help in the prevention of many ill practices (including physical and mental) against women as a norm since ages. In the ancient Indian society, there were many ill practices like sati pratha, nagarvadhu system, wife burning, child marriage etc.But now we can find discrimination in the form of dowry system, sexual violence, domestic violence, female infanticide, pardapratha, sexual harassment at work place, child labour etc. All such ill practices are due to the male superiority complex and patriarchal system of the society.
Socio-political rights (right to work, right to education, right to decide for themselves, etc) for the women were completely restricted by the male members of family. Some of the ill practices against women have been eliminated by the open minded great Indian people who raised their voices against the discriminatory practices suffered by women. Through the continuous efforts of the Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Britishers were forced to eliminate the ill practice of Sati paratha. Later, other famous social reformers of India (Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, AcharyaVinobaBhave, Swami Vivekananda, etc) also raised their voices and worked hard for the upliftment of women in the Indian society. In India, the Widow Remarriage Act( 1856) was initiated by the continuous efforts of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in order to improve the conditions of widows in the country.
- In the recent years, various constitutional and legal rights have been implemented by the government of India in order to eliminate ill practices and gender discrimination against women. However, in order to solve such a big issue, the continuous effort of everyone including women is required. Modern society is more aware about the women rights and this resulted in the increasing number of several self-help groups, NGOs etc. Women are being more open minded and breaking the societal barriers in order to achieve their rights in all dimensions even after crimes are going side by side.