Women empowerment is a global issue and discussion on women’s political rights are at the forefront of many formal and informal campaigns world wide. The concept of women empowerment was introduced at the international women’s conference at NAROIBI in 1985. Education is the milestone of women’s empowerment because it enables them to respond to the challenges, to confront their traditional role and change their life . So that we can’t neglect the importance of education in reference to women empowerment India is poised to becoming a superpower, a developed country by 2020. The year 2020 is fast approaching, it is just 13 years away. This can became reality only when the women of this nation became empowered.
India presently accounts for the largest number no of illiterates in the world. The literacy rate in India has risen sharply from 18. 3% in 1951 to 64. % in 2001 in which enrolment of women in education has also risen sharply 7% to 54. 16%. Despite the importance of women’s education, unfortunately, only 39% of women are literate among the 64% of the man. Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, plan, and programs have aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres. From the fifth five year plan(1974-78) onwards has been a marked shift in the approach to women’s issues from welfare to development. In recent years, the empowerment of women has been recognized as the central issue in determining the status of women. The National Commission of Women was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the right and legal entitlements of women. The 73rd and 74th Amendments (1993) to the constitution of India have provided for reservation of seats in the local bodies of panchayats and Municipalities for women, laying a strong foundation for their participation in decision making at the local level. The purpose of this paper to focus on women’s empowerment through education and this study based on secondary data.
The world of humanity has two wings one is a woman and another man. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. The Baha’i writings This statement clearly focused on the importance of women in our society. Women constitute an important segment of any community and perform multiple role as a mother, housewives, and wage earners. Women are important productive workers in India’s national economy despite the fact that much of their work falls in the indivisible or un-organized category. In reference to Women, the concept of “EMPOWERMENT” is a global issue and discussion on women’s right are the forefront of many formal and informal campaigns world wide. The concept of women empowerment was introduced at the international women’s conference at NAROIBI in 1985. Women Empowerment has five components :
(1) Education is the milestone of women’s empowerment because it enables them to respond to challenges, confront their traditional role, and change their life. Empowerment is an active and multidimensional process which enable women to realize their full identity and powers in all sphere of life. The empowerment of women is very much essential to achieve sustainable development. Quoting UNFPA report, “the state of world population 1992”, the News of Bernard Van Leer Foundation says, that there can be no sustainable development without the development of women because it is women who contribute most to development for children.
(2) Education is a milestone of women’s empowerment because it enables them to respond to the challenges, to confront their traditional role, and change their life. So that we can’t neglect the importance of education in reference to women empowerment. Education is the first step towards empowerment and the most crucial factor in the overall development of the individual as well as the nation. Literacy sets one free from ignorance, exploitation, and poverty. It liberates the minds, opening up a new horizon, new hope/ opportunities, and self –confidence further equipping them with the knowledge, skills, self-respect, and freedom to participate sustain and excel in their life. Illiteracy on the other hand breeds ignorance, which, leads to exploitation, poverty, neglect crimes, and a number of social evils. Literacy deprives women of all opportunities and further prospects of leading a meaningful life and enjoying a good standard of living. Education is an effective instrument for social and economic development and national integration. Education enables women to understand their social and legal rights, become economically independent, acquire a voice in the affairs of the family and the community. Education is a gateway to information, opportunities, and empowerment.
The main objective of this paper to focus on the importance of education in reference to women empowerment and identify the major weakness in women’s education in India. India is poised to becoming a superpower, a developed country by 2020. The year 2020 is fast approaching, it is just 13 years away. This can became reality only when the women of this nation became empowered. India presently accounts for the largest number no of illiterates in the world. The literacy rate in India has risen sharply from 18. 3% in 1951 to 64. 8% in 2001 in which enrolment of women in education has also risen sharply 7% to 54. 6%. Despite the strong linkage between women’s education and their equality or empowerment, female literacy remains very low in India. This is especially the case in rural areas. Unfortunately, only 39% of the women are literate among the 64% of men. In this reference, our government also focused on education to the empowerment of women. The National Policy on Education (1986, revised in 1992) states: “ Education will be used as an agent of basic change in the status of women. In order to neutralize the accumulated distortions of the past; there will be a well-conceived edge in favor of women. The National Education system will play a positive, interventionist role empowerment of women. It will be foster the development of new values through redesigned curricula, textbooks, the training and orientation of the teacher, decision-makers, and administration, and the active involvement of educational institutions. This will be an act of faith and social engineering. The removal of women’s literacy and obstacles inhibiting their access to, and retention in, elementary education will receive overriding priority, through the provision of special support services, setting their time target, and effective monitoring.
Some Positive Signals The Census 2001 provisional reports indicate that India has made significant progress in the field of literacy during the decade since the last senses in 1991. A comparison of 1991 & 2001 census figure shows that:
Adapted from information is given in figure in figure 17 census of India 2001. Reason for increasing Gap between male and female literacy in India. Poverty is attributed as one of the main causes of the deprivation of girls from education. They need to either take care of their siblings at home and do household work and work outside and contribute financially to the family. A recent report on the extent and depth of child poverty in the developing world found there be some 135 million children between 7 and 18 years old without any education at all, with girls 60% more likely than boys (16 % compared 10%) to be so “educationally deprived”. Inadequacy school facilities is another barrier. According to the PROBE report,44% of the school do not have a playground. 54% of the school did not have drinking water, 72% of the school did not have a library, 84% of school did not have a toilet, and 2% of a school have a single teacher. Parents are hesitant to send their girls to schools that have only male teachers. Lake of qualified female teachers is a major barrier to girls’ education. Fear of sexual harassment is another aspect in deterring girls from attending schools and a factor contributing to the high drop out rate. Fixed schooling hours do not suit girls in rural areas, as they are needed for domestic work at home or in farms and fields during these hours. This is one of the causes of the lower participation rates of girls in education. (3)
At present when we talk about the 21st century, and women’s empowerment, we feel very embarrassed when we see women in a very pitiable condition in our society on the other side we feel very proud when gaining the highest position to represent our nation. If we want to realize women empowerment Firstly we will try to minimize the literacy gap between men and women and give priority to educating women. So that education plays a crucial role in accelerating women’s empowerment. Thus education is seen as a “Unique investment” in the present and future in reference to Women’s Empowerment. The National Policy on Education states that Education will be used as the driving force of basic change in the status of women in society. Access and equality are the two most important components to empower women and to facilitate the delivery of social justice to them. If we want to achieve and sustain a high growth rate must have educated women without any discrimination.
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