Empowerment of Women through Education, Skilling & Micro-Financing
The census 2011, counts women population @ 48.5% of the total population in India, In the changing dynamics of the society women empowerment is much relevant and very important. Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji has also spoken for women empowerment on 82nd edition of Mann Ki Baat. Education plays an important role in building self-confidence among women it also enables to change she/her status in the society. Education enables and builds confidence to take decisions in a better way. Skilling and Micro Finance can get women financially stable and therefore she is no longer dependent upon on others in the society. Giving education to women means giving education to the whole family.
The Constitution of India has certain provisions that specifically focus on women empowerment and prevents discrimination against women in the society. Article 14 talks about equality before law. Article 15 enables the state to make special provisions for women. As the progress of humanity is incomplete without women therefore successive governments have launched number of schemes for empowerment of women in male dominated society.
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Andolan has been launched for creating awareness among the people to educate all girl children in the country. Government is successfully able to promote this scheme by forming District Task Force and Block Task Force. The scheme was launched in Panipat district of Haryana on 22 January 2015 with an initial funding of Rs. 100 crore. Before launching of this scheme, Child Sex Ratio of Panipat was 808 in 2001 and 837 in 2011. After launching of this scheme the Child Sex Ratio of Panipat is improving day by day. Massive publicity is made about the program in print and electronic medias, the logo of this scheme is very common in government buildings such as pillars of National Highway 44, Panipat District Court, bus stand and railway station of Panipat district etc.
Both earning and education are important factors for women empowerment. It might be possible that a woman is involved in unskilled work (for example: maids) but she is still not empowered. On the contrary, it might be possible that a woman is educated. But still she is not empowered because she is not earning. So, financial independence is important for women empowerment. Women, who are educated and earning, are in much better position in our society as compared to uneducated women worker. Therefore, a scheme called working women hostels has been launched so that safe and convenient accommodation should be provided to working women. The benefit of this scheme is given to every working women without any distinction of caste, religion, marital status etc. In order to take benefit of this scheme, the gross total income of women should not exceed Rs. 50,000 per month in case of metropolitan cities whereas in case of small cities, the gross total income should not exceed Rs. 35,000 per month.
United Nation General Assembly adopted the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women’ (CEDAW). CEDAW establishes an international bill of rights for women. Article 10 of CEDAW talks about providing right to education to women. India has ratified CEDAW for upliftment of women.
The focus of the government has shifted from women development to women led development. In order to achieve this goal, government is working around the clock to maximize women’s access to education, skill training and institutional credit. MUDRA Yojana ( Micro Units Development and Refinance agency Ltd ) is one such scheme which was launched on 8 April 2015 in which loans upto Rs. 10 lakh are provided to women entrepreneurs, without any collateral. For instance: A woman namely Kamla daily wage labourer from Panipat has taken a loan of Rs. 45,000 from State Bank of India in order to start work of beauty parlour and she is engaged in gainful employment with dignity now.
Earlier a lot of women left out their job after giving birth to children, due to which lot of working women unemployed. The government has passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 increasing the maximum period of maternity leaves from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. The landmark law has given a new life to the vision of women-led development as propagated by Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi.
Increased knowledge, self-confidence and awareness of gender equity are indicators of the empowerment process. These components get develop through education. Educated woman aware about their rights and when women aware about their rights then she/her will not face discrimination.
Though the successive Governments have come up with various measures for the welfare and empowerment of women but still women are facing hurdles in our society. Therefore, there is a need to do much more, to protect women. Also, there is a need to uphold their dignity at par with the status of men in the society.
- The education policy needs to be more inclusive to ensure girls right to education and their right to be free from discrimination within educational institutions. Also, education policy should target young men and boys to positively change their attitudes towards girls and women.
- In order to curb higher dropout rate among girls, there is a need for providing relatively higher financial incentives for girls education until Class XII.
- Post Graduate Indira Gandhi Scholarship should be extended from Single Girl Child Scheme to families with two girl child.
- Reward should be given to villages/districts that are able to attain equal child sex ratio through education, information and communication campaigns.
- There is a need for strict implementation of statutes that emphasise on women empowerment through education.
- Additional emphasis should be laid on e-governance so that there is a timely check on the expenditure released by the centre and various state governments for scholarships for girl students.
- For security purposes, gender-friendly facilities should be provided in hostels.
- In order to make women self-dependent, there is need to promote skill development among women in non-traditional works like electricians, plumbers etc.
- Women can be organised into different professional groups so that there is improvement in their bargaining power.
- Platforms like Digital India should be used for marketing and branding purposes and to establish linkages with corporates, markets and consumers.
- In addition to government efforts, NGOs and other institutions should provide employable skills & training to women to help them find alternative and dignified occupations to earn decently.
- NGOs working for the empowerment of women need to take interventions on livelihood development options related to the market and value chain.
- Policies and guidelines should be made in such a way that it is easy for women entrepreneurs to get credit facilities.
- Government should promote creation of Self Help group by women.
- There is need for industry-specific targets for women’s employment and motivate their implementation by firm.
- Tax benefits should be given to companies that provide employment to 30 percent women workers.
1. Strategy for New India, https://www.niti.gov.in (last visited Apr.23,2022)
2. Women Empowerment Schemes, https://wcd.nic.in (last visited Apr.24,2022)
3. Jugal Kishore Mishra, Empowerment of women in India, 4, The Indian Journal of Political Science, 867, 872-878,(2006)
4. Mudra, https://www.mudra.org.in (last visited Apr.26,2022)
5. Working Women Hostel, https://wcdhry.gov.in (last visited Apr.27,2022)
6. Indian CONST. art 14,15(3)
7. Census of India, https://censusindia.gov.in (last visited Apr.29,2022)
By: Dr Muniraju, SB, Deputy Adviser and Ms Urvashi Attri, Intern
Views expressed are personal.