What is women’s empowerment? We all often hear various programs taking place on the issue of women empowerment. But what is women’s empowerment? Women’s empowerment is the process in which women elaborate and recreate what they can be, do, and accomplish in a setting they were previously denied.
But which women need to undergo this entire Women’s Empowerment process? Women who stay in the slums, or women who come from villages or women who are educated and well brought up from educated families? If you look closely, you will get to see that women from villages or women who are not educated are the last ones in need of empowerment – because they choose to be empowered without waiting for the “right circumstances”. It is the women who call themselves educated and have the ability to earn bread and butter both that need help most of the times.
When I met women from various villages, it really surprised me that women over there have such better skills, be it managing things within daily routine or whether it is fighting domestic violence. One of the women said, “When my husband didn’t earn money and would drink and come back home every night and only wanted to have sex, I kicked him out of the house, I don’t need a man to live my life. My husband was nothing but a burden and there was no chance I would let him hit me or my children for some extra money. Now when I have left him I work more independently and both my the daughters go to school”. Another women I met told me that she left her husband when her daughter was two and her parents and siblings refused to accept her or support her. She said “ My brother hit me, they wanted me to go back to my husband. I denied. I didn’t agree, I had to leave the house, I started working in 5 shifts, I worked for hospitals, houses and picked garbage on the streets as well.” What astonished me was now she earned 25000 rupees every month and sometimes more.
After this visit I was really curious about what women in the city or the women who called themselves modern. I met a lot of women of different ages and what brought me to the conclusion was that women in villages didn’t require empowerment as women in cities did, women who are educated and whom we call the bread and butter earners would go crying to their parents when in trouble or would take all the pain and suffering and not complain, simply adjust.
Women who are alone and have no fear of losing anything but themselves had better understanding of making a new life, compared to the women who are more socially active or are depended on their husbands or parents directly or indirectly. The fear of being looked down upon would stop many of them from venturing out and starting from scratch. Many times, they would make the excuse of catering to the child and stay on even in an abusive environment. And sometimes, sadly, a complete lack of confidence in oneself stops these women from being more empowered. They forget what they were before the man in question. Even the word WO-men itself proves that we are before men. We don’t need men to complete us. We are above them.
To all the women: please try remembering the last time you smiled, the last time you laughed your lungs out and the last time when you felt your fingers slipping through your hair and feel beautiful. To all the women out there go, take a vacation, visit a village or observe or sit and talk to your maids and then see – you’ll find vibes around yourself to make yourself empowered.