Woman is in no way inferior to her counterpart, man. Read what Ruchi Sharma has to say on this issue.
A major civilization transformation has taken place throughout the 20th century: the evolving empowerment of women together with the recognition of women's rights as human rights. 8th of March is universally acknowledged as International Women's Day and 26th August is observed as Women's Equality Day which means that the woman of today has come of age and wants to lead a dignified life of equality with man. The slogan raised today by the women of the world is: "Equality, Dignity and Self-Respect is what we want". This slogan is indicative of the new awareness among women the world over. Modern women have raised their voices against the male dominated and feudalistic society.
Level of consciousness, emergence of successive generations of women at the forefront of knowledge, growing numbers of women with enough education to investigate the conditions, aspirations and perspectives among the poor - all this was an impulsion to react to the need for change in societal patterns. Other factors also contributed to this process: the growth of women studies in many universities throughout the world supplemented by burgeoning networks of the cross fertilization of ideas, approaches, tactics and strategies. Added to these was the active role played by women in the struggle for democracy against oppressive regimes in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The role of women as a separate issue of more than merely token significance entered international debate at the first UN Conference on Population and Development, held in Bucharest (Romania) in 1974. The United Nations Conferences on women and other development and socio-economic issues, held since 1975, have helped to heighten the visibility of the role, the plight and the potential of women on the international scene. To quote United Nations Development Program (UNDP's) Human Development Report "human development is impossible without gender equality".
Woman is in no way inferior to her counterpart, man. From time immemorial, woman represents history in all its grace and distress in terms of time and space, social ups and down, political subjugation and freedom. In religion, social intercourse, education, literature, art and culture, her status was never in doubt.
As a significant measure towards initiating women's empowerment, equal-pay legislation should be adopted and expanded in all countries so as to incorporate the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. This would allow for a re-evaluation of women's professional and 'pink-collar' occupations, with increases in both pay and status. Affirmative-action measures might include the provision of day-care centres, flexible working hours, women's quotas in retirement, promotion, and retraining; and outlawing and prosecuting sexual harassment in the work place.
Labour laws need also to be expanded to provide better conditions, benefits and job security for domestic and agricultural workers, part-time, temporary, and miscellaneous workers in the home, and employees in export-processing zones. More research should be conducted on the contribution of women's unpaid work to family and national economies - including work in subsistence agriculture, livestock husbandry, domestic work, child-care, and care for the elderly, the disabled, and this time. This analysis should incorporate time-use data, and should be used in the design of future policy. All new development initiatives and economic and social planning should be subject to a 'gender audit' to assess their effects on women's quality of life as well as on the inequalities persisting between men and women.
The majority of the world's women are poor citizens of the poor countries; they are 'deprived' and 'backward'. About 40% of females worldwide are children under the age of 15. The World Health Report 1995 highlighted the grim prospects facing a baby girl born in one of the least developed countries, where one-sixth of all births occur annually. Equity demands that the conditions of such deprived infants and children be improved without delay.
There is a need to formulate a comprehensive global action plan for girls and adolescent females. It will redress many of the prevalent injustices suffered by women.
The greatest need of the hour is to change the social attitude to women. Women's empowerment means a lot, but the ultimate goal of the equalization of man and woman would materialize only when her complimentary role is recognized by the society.