WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND REALITY
Ever heard this about Women Empowerment? Eventually, every one of us has had.
In this article, we are going to examine the status of women in various aspects and discuss the major problems of society. We will also focus on psychological aspects and the perception of men on women empowerment, based on real survey data. Then, we will present some possible solutions and motivate people to take a step towards awareness.
Making women stronger and assured, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights is defined as empowering women. The government had stipulated its policy of increasing women’s participation and promoting gender equality but still females in the country are not aware of their rights while only a few are in the process of achieving empowerment. Empowerment can be social, psychological, educational, economic, and political. A nation cannot be labeled to be a woman empowered nation only by having a female president unless the majority of females within the country are authorized to a meaningful life.
Present Situation of Women Empowerment:
Women empowerment has much to do with education, economy, society, politics and psychology. According to CBS, 2011, 51.8% of the overall population are Women while only 44.5% of them are literate. However, the literacy rate is predicted to rise during this decade due to increased awareness amongst people and growing educational campaigns nationwide.
Having said that, considering the current scenario in employment, Women are often restricted to equal access to the market place. Their contributions and roles are hardly acknowledged and appreciated. As compared to Men, the remuneration is additionally pathetic despite their continuous struggle.
Based on Political sectors and social participation, the participation of Women is less compared to men. The government has allocated 33% of reservation to enhance women’s participation in society. Only 13.8 % of females are administrative workers (2001) while 48.8 % are engaged in agriculture. Meanwhile, there are women, young girls today who are proving themselves to be at top positions, making the state proud. Sushila Karki, former chief justice of the Supreme Court played an important role during her tenure regarding anti-corruption. CNN heroes from Nepal, Anuradha Koirala and Pushpa Basnet have made motivating contributions in the campaign against human trafficking and strengthening child rights. Also, there are appreciable transformations in the society where men support in empowering women.
On the contrary to the women’s upliftment , the prevalence of social taboos, and stereotypes like Chhaupadi, menstruation restrictions, forced marriage, dowry issues, gender discrimination, targeting the ladies have created the nuisance and hurdles to be proscribed. Women in rural areas are still deprived of access to proper health services in Nepal. Girls’ mobility to travel and body shaming has always been a heated topic for discussion resulting in a psychological trauma and confidence critic. Women speaking for ladies’ upliftment and girls’ issues are sometimes misled to controversy as a fake feminist. Furthermore, this lock-down and isolation amid the crisis of pandemic COVID-19 has increased more domestic violence in society.
Survey on Psychological Empowerment
The majority of females encounter harassment, torture and domestic violence in their lives which has an immense impact on their psychology. You may be wondering what psychological trauma has to do with women empowerment. Recently, a survey was taken over a group of girls to observe the prevalence of discriminatory practices and violence against women in actual basics.107 of the girls aged 17-25 from a reputed university of Nepal, participated in an internet survey where some questionnaires associated with women issues were asked.
Source: Online survey
The result shows the high prevalence of threats to girls in society. According to the survey, 42 in 100 girls face molestation at public places and transit while 9.2% of them have been traumatized with suicidal and destructive thoughts. Besides, 14.2% are unaware of domestic violence in their homes. The statistics itself is disappointing. It can be analyzed that such threats entail some serious consequences. If no action is taken to solve this issue, the crime rate is likely to increase massively soon.
Mental torture can take place in any form resulting in a severe scenario. Street bullying, unreasonable restrictions, judgments, cyber harassment, and emotional violence have severely affected the growth of an individual. All available evidence points to the fact that these scenarios have created self-doubt, humility, insecurities, and discouraged females from social participation with the fear of being judged. How can women empowerment achieve success when the preliminary right of safety is not available?
When asked upon the greatest problem faced being a woman, the participants replied as follows:
- “We are quickly judged based on gender rather than talent regardless of whether or not we are good at work.”
- “Evil look and urge to the touch which makes me so uncomfortable.”
- “I think the matter is not being a woman but the stereotype mentality of the society that ruins our life.”
- “Sick mentality of individuals that ladies should have limits once they try to lead or talk loud on social issues.”
- “If you talk on the equity you’re given the tag of a feminist which is anti- boys’ movement for boys nowadays in social media.”
- “Personal insecurity which isn’t only mentally traumatic but it also hinders my performance.”
- “No one deserves to go through harassment that haunts you lifetime.”
We can analyze the condition of women in large research picture overall the country based on this quantitative survey approach. From the graph below, we can see, 75% of the participants consider the role of both men and women at the issues behind women’s safety.
Both men and women equally have a role in facilitating safety within a society. Women’s crimes can be reduced somehow if men are also actively involved in women empowerment seminars and discussion forums. This can probably aware people with real-life problems and also the consequences faced by women.
Perspective of Men on Empowerment
After the results from the girls’ survey, it was realized that the perspective of men on these issues is also equally important. So, the second survey was conducted among the boys of a university where 67 of them showed their participation. A few questionnaires were prepared and the results are as follows:
The result depicts the insights of men on social issues and perception regarding empowerment. As can be seen, 92.2% of boys favored the need for women empowerment. It can also be generalized that 16 in 100 boys have dealt with harassment. Although the commonly accepted assumption is that the risk of harassment is only limited to women, investigation indicates that men also have to encounter violence in their lives which may even include false allegations, alimony injustice, and child custody cases.
Some voices of boys on “What would be your immediate action when you see harassment to a Men/Women?” during the survey can be observed follows:
- “While I was being harassed, I didn’t stand up for myself. I regret that and I’ll try and stand up with the victim probably.”
- “Ask people to stop harassments and inform concerned ones i.e. elders or police depending upon situations.”
- “Have a nap for a few minutes.”
- “I would immediately write down what happened and what that person said so that it may be a strong proof to carry out a current investigation and some other people might read at some time. I would immediately report this case to the concerned authority to take action as fast and as strong as possible.”
- Will react to the analysis cause and consequences of harassment.
Similarly, opinions for “Have you played a role in women empowerment? Please give a few options of women empowerment.” are as:
- “Giving opportunities as per their strength and talent…”
- “No, I haven’t. The society must be provided information about women empowerment.”
- “Yes, I have. I did not leave the seat on the bus for a young girl because both are equal.”
- “It should all start from their family and the very childhood stage.”
- “Today’s condition and government, has given a lot of focus and rules on women empowerment now the things must be done is psychological upliftment for utilization of their resources”
Analysis of survey
This survey emphasized the psychological problems faced by youngsters. As a result, it can be assumed that society is gradually boosting up the feeling of mutual integrity. At the same time, we can not ignore the results from the first survey as well.
It is an imperative need to consider women’s safety first to empower the nation. Why is society unsafe regardless of people with positive minds? After all, women are still criticized for the ladies’ seat reservation system which is just 2-4 out in 30 in number at the general public vehicles, probably the sole safe mark to travel on a crowded bus.
Perhaps, now it’s the time to speak for empowering men for education and awareness as well. At this point, we should realize ourselves if we are keeping our sisters safe from evil eyes, or are we acting like one of them? At the same time, we should also be independent enough to protect ourselves from being a victim of these issues.
Many of us are not able to share it on an open platform. More problems could have been noted through this survey but the brief questionnaire andthe inactive participation of males to talk on this issue resulted in less acuuracy.Meanwhile, we noted the existence of both wrongdoers and change-makers in the society. For maintaining harmony, the second thought to the Right to Equality and Right to Freedom is essential, otherwise, people misuse it in the name of liberty and privilege.
Empowerment for all
Empowerment could be a tool for both males and females. Both men and women may be victims of threat therefore the solution may be achieved when each of us break the silence when we counteract the violence. This will exert far-reaching influence than we have imagined.
Unknowingly a clash has been created between young boys and girls when it comes to gender issues. At this instant, Men have the fear of being discriminated by women in the coming days since the topic of women empowerment is highly being focused these days and at some places, women empowerment is pretty much misinterpreted. We don’t speak up in the fear of being judged by our peer culture but deep down we can analyze what’s actually happening and what resulted in women coming up on the roads speaking up for rights and why the other doesn’t have to deal with this situation or what is stopping them from speaking at a public platform.
From what has been discussed above, we may conclude that not only women but in many instances, men also even have to deal with social insecurities and harassments but the number is perhaps less compared to women in the case of Nepal. It is equally important to comprehend the root of the cause and so act accordingly. It is important to create harmony by maintaining an equal level, pushing up the privileged ones first, then work together for the entire human race. Else the comparison will always occur when one is seen dominating others.
As our country is still fighting for basic needs such as access to health services, eradication of social taboos, social insecurities, we don’t expect sudden empowerment results as it takes a long time to eradicate this problem from the roots but we can expect the future generations to be raised with a sense of equality in case of gender, race, color, ethnics and everything else.
Relating the present scenario of long duration of lockdown with the opportunities of empowerment, the progress rate is likely to fall down. Since the economy of nation will have a huge drawdown resulting economic crisis, it can cease the girls from going to school for further education. To prevent this situation, ease environment should be created by the government for educational enhancement. Elder aged women and alone women should be employed in small scale industrial sector and modernized agriculture for income generation. Furthermore they should be encouraged for entrepreneurship and skilled based work which can ultimately generate the earnings and uplift the lifestyle.
Furthermore, government laws are invalid when they can’t punish the rapist and turn a blind eye to the gender inequality cases. One person alone cannot change the wrong perspective of society. At this instant, Technology and Innovations can somehow control the situation as a precaution to an event but human involvement is a must. The concerned authority should prioritize solving these cases. Reachable helplines should be made available as much as possible.
When we break a traffic rule, we are given lecture classes at the police station then why not take an initiative by the government to educate people to change their minds for their ill- behaviors.
Meanwhile, wouldn’t you favor a partner who supports the house financially and raises your children with the right ethics and moral integrity? If yes, wouldn’t you join your hands to empower women to grow without fear and conspired favor then let her bloom with a sense of respect, self-esteem, dignity, and responsibility?