STATUS OF WOMEN IN INDIA
India is a developing country. Here women enjoy a much better status than their counterparts in many other developing countries of the world. In spite of that much more is needed to be done to improve their lot. The middle-class women in India have undergone a vocational and economic transformation. They have become conscious of their rights and privileges. Some women occupy very high positions in the public and private sectors. They hold high ranks even in business and administration, The elevation in their social and economic status has added to their burdens and responsibilities.
They are still slaves because they have to work hard both as employed women and as hard-working housewives. The women in India have to depend on a male for their protection at every step and stage of life. The father protects his daughters. The husband supports the wife and the son supports the mother in her ripe old age. In our male-dominated society, women are still regarded as inferior to men. The birth of a daughter in a family is regarded as a matter of misfortune and the birth of a son is honored. Daughters are treated as a liability and soon as assets.
The women enjoyed quite a high status in the family and society during the Vedic Age in India, They were treated, mothers and goddesses. It was believed that gods abide where women are adored. They lost their esteemed position, later on, the males started exploiting and ill-treating them. They were considered as the weaker sex and the tools of satisfying theirs! sexual lust (passions) and the child producing machines. The j; widows were then treated worse than the dumb animals. The ‘Sati’ system was vague. The widows were forced to immolate themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands. This evil system has now been abolished by law. The constitution of free India guarantees equal status to men and women. Sex discrimination has altogether been eliminated.
Though the present-day India women are fully protected by law yet they are still exploited at will. Their plight is quite miserable in rural areas. They will have to organize themselves and fight tooth an4 nail for their emancipation and permanent improvement in their lot. They should reject the dowry system outright and fight against their exploiters. They should no longer endure social and economic injustice. They should raise their voice against those who are found guilty of eve-teasing, raping or abducting them. The women of India can stand on their own legs only when they become economically independent.
They should not depend on anybody for financial help. It is a matter of regret that the husbands, in-laws, and sons of even the highly educated and profitably employed women in India impose restrictions on them in spending their earnings according to their own sweet wilL They should condemn such inhibitions and social taboos. They should come forward and assert their equality in every walk of life. More and more highly educated Indian women are employed now as teachers, doctors, judges, engineer, and lawyers. our country is proud of Mrs Indira Gandhi for her political achievements.
The social movements are contributing a lot for improving their position, There has been an appreciable awakening among Indian women since the dawn of independence. With their intelligence, they are securing their status in the world. The day is not far when they will be honoured like men by virtue Of their strength and service to the nation.
JOBS FOR WOMEN
About half of the world is that of women. There were 934 females for 1000 males according to the census conducted in 1981. There were more females than males only in Kerala. Though the women constitute a great work-force yet they do not enjoy equality with men. The male-dominated society considered it unmanly to utilise their work-force. They were not considered fit for gainful employment and economic activities. It was considered degrading to live on the earning of women.
They were not given proper education and training facilities due to a lack of social awareness with regard to their role. They were economically less privileged. They were thought to be inferior to men, both physically and mentally. They were kept at home like the captives to serve as house-maids. There has been a social awakening in the post-independence era. The number of middle and upper-middle-class women seeking employment is increasing in recent years. Women are proving more successful than men as doctors, teachers, receptionists, secretaries, salesgirls, nurses, clerks and stenographers. Some professions like those of engineers, judges, lawyers, executives and administrators are still dominated by males.
The government of India has started many schemes to encourage women to take up gainful employment. Both men and women are given the same wages for the same jobs Without any discrimination to make the women economically self-reliant. Many centers have been set up to give training to destitute women in marketable skills. Such women (18-50) and their dependent children are provided residential facilities and Care during the period of training. This scheme of rehabilitation is implemented through voluntary but aided organisations and rural agencies.
The government also gives grants to public sector undertakings and autonomous organisations for the training of women. The rural poor women belonging to weaker sections of society, and war widows are the beneficiaries. The government has opened separate hostels for women from low-income group to provide them safe and cheap accommodation. There are many industrial training institutes and polytechnics exclusively for women. Women are not contributing effectively to their work because the support services like child care centres, hostels etc. are still inadequate. The number of I.T.I.’s and polytechnics for women is still insufficient for the increasing number of women seeking training facilities. The problem of unemployment among women can be solved if they are given liberal loans to start their factories, workshops and enterprises.
Women are no longer satisfied with traditional roles but are aspiring to step up in the corporate hierarchies by virtue of their aptitudes and skills. Some meritorious women are joining the all India Civil Services and the Indian Administrative Services and are discharging their duties heroically. The women seek employment in order to be economically self-reliant and to supplement the income of the family. Many women fail to take on full-time jobs because of strong family obligations. Half-day jobs should be provided to such women.
The women of today are both career—conscious and family conscious. Their work-force can be utilised to the maximum in various sectors of banking, management and industries etc. More and more employment services should be explored for women. If the Indian women are given a chance in defence services, they would effectively contribute towards our national security as do men. All the professions should be opened for women for India’s better progress and development. They have proved better writers and politicians than men as well.
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EDUCATION FOR GIRLS
Women play an important role in the development of society. By giving proper education to one woman, we educate the whole family. It has rightly been said that an educated man can only make a better life for himself, but an educated woman educates her children and thus improves the entire family for generations. Ever since women have received an education, children have learnt the importance of nutritious food, hygiene, co-operation and self-reliance. Since many of the educated women prefer to stay at home and look after the household, their children become the beneficiaries of their education.
People hold different opinions about the quality and the type of education a girl should receive. Some say that since she is to get married and look after her household, she should be trained in the essentials of running a house. Others feel that she should be educated in such a manner that if required she should be able to contribute to the family income. However, both these opinions arise from the basic assumption that a girl has to be married. And that her identity is because of her father and her husband. What is overlooked in these premises is that the woman contributes a great deal to the society besides looking after the house and children.
Today the largest sector of unorganised labour is that of girls and women. A large section of them, start working at homes and in factories, from a very tender age. There they look after their younger brothers and sisters or roll bidis, match sticks, etc. By teaching them how to read and write they can improve their lives and contribute in a positive manner to society. Many social improvement drives have been launched by women who until recently were illiterate. Ban on alcohol, the introduction of new agricultural methods, revision of land laws and enhancement of the status of women in society have all been made possible by women’s education. Many studies have time and again proved that women make better administrators.
There is no industrial unrest if women form a major part of the workforce. Productivity and profitability of an enterprise increase with women worker and managers. Another factor that goes in favour of women is that they do not suffer from the vices of drinking and gambling. The earning of a woman are all utilised profitably and positively. They are known to be more honest and sincere at their works. Therefore by encouraging women to study and develop their full potential we not only pave the way for a better society but also lay the foundation for peace and development.
The girls are outpacing boys in studies, officials and administrative duties. They are proving better teachers and doctors than their male counterparts, They are no longer confined to the four walls of the household. They are seeking employment in every field. They are getting high education and equal status with man in society. They also supplement the income of their in-laws and are not treated as a burden. Educated girls have broad outlooks. They believe in the concept of a small family. They take an active part in all the activities of the society. They are good counsellors in all matters of serious concern.