“A WOMAN IS LIKE A TEA BAG – YOU NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG SHE IS UNTIL SHE GETS IN HOT WATER” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Women are God’s most beautiful sculpture existing on earth. From ages, she is the epitome of strength, power, knowledge, perseverance, humility, sacrifice, love and the list is endless. To quote – THERE ARE TWO POWERS IN THE WORLD; ONE IS THE SWORD AND THE OTHER IS THE PEN. THERE IS A GREAT COMPETITION AND RIVALRY BETWEEN THE TWO. THERE IS A THIRD POWER STRONGER THAN BOTH, THAT OF THE WOMEN. Let’s look below to have more insight into the topic
Why is International Women’s Day celebrated?
Every year we celebrate 8th March as INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY with a vow to provide a safe and secure environment and equality in all spheres. International Women’s Day is celebrated with a resolution to commemorate women achievements, to acknowledge the special status they deserve in society. International Women’s Day is a global celebration of women’s achievement in the social, economic, cultural and political sphere. The Women’s Day celebration objective is to embrace every culture and ethnicity of appreciation, respect and love towards women. This year too women’s day will be celebrated with the theme- I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights, thus marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.
International Women’s Day Origin
International Women’s Day celebration traces back to February 1908, when thousands of garment women workers went on strike and marched through New York City to protest against their working conditions and environment. To honour the anniversary of those strikes, a National Women’s Day was celebrated on Feb. 28, 1909, for the first time in the U.S., by the Socialist Party of America. The idea to turn the day into an international movement advocating universal suffrage was impetus by German campaigner, revolutionary and socialist Clara Zetkin in 1910, at the International Conference of Working Women. Ever since, this day has been celebrated as International Women’s Day or International Working Women’s Day by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted by the feminist movement in 1967. The United Nations started celebrating International Women’s Day in 1975.
Women Status in Society
With the passage of time, women’s status has undergone multidimensional changes, in an alternate fashion form revered status in the pre-Vedic period, as a pariah during post-Vedic/Medieval Period to strongly independent dynamic gender in the present scenario and is still on her journey. Worship of Goddesses depicts the respect women had in society. Indian Government celebrated 2001 as the year of women empowerment. National policy to empower women was also passed in 2001. On March 9, 2010, Rajya Sabha passed the Women’s Reservation Bill, ensuring 33% reservation to women in State Legislative Bodies and Parliament. All these beautiful data decipher, the status of women has changed but still, a lot has to be done for their empowerment. Child marriage, eve-teasing, harassment, exploitation, deteriorating maternity rate, anaemic pregnancies, molestation, rape, trafficking etc. are impediments in their empower journey which is still prevailing at an alarming rate.
Indian Government Steps to Empower Women
Women are not a sign of weakness. Her soft and tender heart and cold blood (patience) is not a sign of delicacy. From giving birth to a child, she is now walking hand in hand with men and even conquering jobs that were solely felt to be men’s dominating field. The world has realized that no nation can progress if women lack behind because they are the backbone and real architect of society. The Indian Government is also working to provide various platforms and opportunities to empower women. Women’s issues and their contribution to the country’s economy has been realized so the Central Government is working on various parameters for gender equality. Given below are some of the women empowerment initiatives available to women in India:
Some Important Women Empowerment Schemes
- Yashaswini– Recently, Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles launched Yashaswini Scheme for Women entrepreneurship in Goa where interest-free loan up to Rs 5 lakh with a tenure of 5 years to self-help groups will be given by the State Government with repayment starting from the second year and the loan to be paid in four instalments.
- STEP– stands for The Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women, aims to provide skills and competencies that enable women to become self-employed/ entrepreneurs. The project will have a duration of 5 years depending upon nature, kind of activities and the number of beneficiaries undertaken.
- Swadhar Greh – launched in 2002 by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, the schemes works for the rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances, by providing shelter, food, clothing and care to the marginalized women in need. Implemented mainly through NGOs, the schemes beneficiaries include prisoners women released from jail and without family support, widows deserted by their families and relatives, women survivors of natural disasters, terrorist/extremist violence etc.
- One-Stop Centre – Popularly known as ‘Sakhi,‘ the scheme was implemented on 1st April 2015 with the ‘Nirbhaya’ fund. Centres are established at various localities in India for providing police help, shelter, medical, legal and counselling services to violence victims under one roof integrated with a 24-hour Helpline.
- Working Women Hostels – This scheme aims to avail safe and conveniently located accommodation for working women, with day-care facilities for their children, in urban, semi-urban, or even rural areas where employment opportunity for women exist.
- Mahila E- Haat – Being part of ‘Digital India’ initiative and a direct online marketing platform it aims to support women entrepreneurs, Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Non- Governmental Organisations to showcase products made and services rendered by them. It was launched under the aegis of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Women are a treasure house of precious things and way more powerful and strong than what we assume them to be. No nation can progress without empowering their fair sex. To quote – THE EMPOWERED WOMAN IS POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE AND BEAUTIFUL BEYOND DESCRIPTION. THEY ARE THE LARGEST UNTAPPED RESERVOIR OF TALENT IN THE WORLD. We as women do not want superiority but equality from society.