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Empowering Women

Kashmir Humanity Foundation

Empowering Women

Empowering Women

Education is the most potent weapon to empower women



Women are one half of the sky. They are the most beautiful creatures in this universe. They give birth and perpetuate human race on this blue planet. If the life support-system on the Mother Earth is sustaining life, women are perpetuating it. They are the epitome of beneficence, graciousness, benevolence, compassion, affection and altruism. 

They have been oppressed throughout the ages. Their freedom has been snatched and their wings clipped by the patriarchal society. They have been described as 'The Second Sex' or 'The Other Sex'. The famous line: 'Frailty thy name is woman' used by William Shakespeare in his famous play 'Hamlet', has often been used by men to denigrate women. They have always been the victims of gender stereotypes and gender bias. The birth of a baby girl is still unwelcome in our society. They are mercilessly aborted in the womb simply for being the fair sex. 

The relation between women and their oppressors, men, is the only form of bondage that has its origin in a biological fact rather than in a historical process. The women have accepted their second-class status and have not challenged it because they cannot break the bond which connects them with men (their oppressors).The bond that unites her to her oppressors is not comparable to any other bond in the universe. Male and female stand opposed within a primordial bond and woman has not broken it. 

Humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being, she is simply what man decrees. She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the absolute, she is the other. 

In our country women are being denied their rights. They are mistreated, molested, harassed, lynched and their chastity being violated with every passing hour. Honor killings, sexual harassment of women at workplaces, heinous crimes like acid attacks and domestic violence against the daughters of Eve define India of twenty first century. 

Women empowerment is a pre-requisite for development of a nation. Women have to be equal stakeholders in every sphere of life. Their capacities and capabilities, their skills and abilities, their talents and aptitudes and their resources have to be developed and properly channelized to ensure social, political and economic progress of our nation. A conducive atmosphere has to be created for their holistic development. The atmosphere should be free from patriarchal restrictions. It is only in a free environment that the women can manifest their immense potentialities which are inherent in their genes. 

Education is the most potent weapon to empower women. Only educated women are free from the bounds of the patriarchal world. Education can surely liberate women from the shackles of the male-dominated world. Education can give them the wings to soar higher and higher and touch the heights of excellence. Education can become their ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. Educated women can create their own space. They will not beg for their rights; they will snatch them. 

What makes woman 'The Other' and 'Inessential Being'? Does she have less cerebral matter as compared to men? Isn't she made of flesh and blood? Why can't she tread a different path or take the road less traveled? Haven't women proven their mettle in every field of human endeavor? From Marie Curie to Kalpana Chawla or Sunita Williams, women have brought laurels to their class. 

This question stares us all in the face. Why can't girls be like boys? Why can't they enjoy life as boys do? What makes them frail? Surely our mindset, which has been shaped by the patriarchal society over the years. 

Of late, Indian women's movements have ushered in a new era in India. Today we have women in every field of human endeavor. We have women in positions of power. We have women chief ministers, we have woman Lok Sabha speaker, we have women editors of national dailies like Malini Parthasarathy (The Hindu). In news channels we have women editors like Barkha Dutt (NDTV), and we have women writers of international repute like Arundhati Roy. But women empowerment is still a distant dream in India. 

It is a great irony that women's rights are being debated and discussed in our country even in the post-modern age. Amid the din of the male chauvinistic society, their voices are still unheard. Let women express themselves and speak their minds because they have been oppressed for eons simply for being human beings with an XX combination of sex chromosomes. 

In this context, the following lines of Kamala Das are cathartic: 

'It is I who laugh, it is I who make love 
And then feel shame, it is I who lie dying 
With a rattle in my throat, I am sinner, 
I am saint. I am the beloved and the 
Betrayed. I have no joys which are not yours, no 
Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I.' 

Kashmir Humanity Foundation


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