“To call the woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant moral power, then a woman is immeasurably man’s superior.”
– M. K. Gandhi
A woman is the creative energy of cosmos. From giving birth to nurturing new life, she invests herself physically and emotionally. She is the first one up, and the last one to go to bed, every single day, in all the households all across, yet she faces oppression and discrimination. The deeply entrenched patriarchal mindset of our society is responsible for many of the problems women face. The millennium has witnessed some change in the status of women but this scenario is reserved only for the urban and developed regions. As we go to the rural areas the situation of women remains unchanged.
If we try to solve the deep-rooted social injustice that highlights this persisting problem by targeting women alone, we will not yield any results. An all-inclusive effort is required, where communities can be developed through sustainable and integrated programs that influence one and all.
It has to start with the sensitizing of boys. They have patriarchy ingrained in their DNA and consider violence against women, and various forms of oppressing women to be routine. This needs to be addressed at the grassroots level, and the older have to lead by example. This attitude must change now. Domestic violence is another bane of rural India. One stop help centers must be set up in villages for domestic violence victims where women can get legal, medical and psychological assistance, and police action can also be initiated. Sex ratio imbalance in villages needs to be given serious thought, and implementation of immediate prosecution of offenders of female foeticide is vital.
Macro, and micro level empowerment programmes must be implemented to provide a solid base to nurture the inner strength and self-esteem for the women in rural India. Education is the most powerful tool to progress in life, and attention to this aspect is crucial. Besides balancing inequalities, education also acts as a means to improve the status of women within their families. Training programs that equip women with the required skills to pursue new livelihoods should be started in rural areas. They must be taught to adapt technology so that they can get maximum benefit from the changing scenario of digital India. Leadership and participation of rural women in shaping laws, strategies, policies, and programmes on all issues that affect their lives must be promoted.
It is high time we realize that rural women are an intrinsic part in achieving transformational economic, environmental, and social changes required for sustainable development. There is no easy quick fix to this problem. The real answer lies in a holistic approach that can tackle the complex reticulate issues of economic welfare, social justice, education, health, and traditions. Multitasking and delivering multiple roles every single day, women are undoubtedly the backbone of our society. We just have to stand by her and support her to see her blossom because when we empower a woman we don’t just empower her we empower a family, a community and a whole generation.