The empowerment of a person or group of people is the process
of giving them power and status in a particular situation (Collins
Holistic (Political, Social and Economic); Universal (equal
opportunity and level playing field); Participative and Inclusive
(Anjali Goyal 2005)
Awareness/consciousness, choice/alternatives, resources, voice,
agency and participation (Charmes & Wieringa 2003).
Power implies ability to make choices (Kabeer 2001:08)
The principle of gender equality or equal right for women is
enshrined in the Indian Constitution
The Constitution empowers the State to adopt measures of
positive discrimination in favour of women.
One-third reservation for Women in the urban and Local SelfGovernment.
Free and compulsory education- a justifiable right for all
children between the age group of 6-14 years.
The National Commission for Women ,1990
National Policy for Women Empowerment (2001)advancement, development and empowerment of women
The Global Gender Gap Index 2012 (World Economic Forum2012)
indicate that the current situation of gender gaps as alarming
Economic Participation and Opportunity
Details of Gender Gap
(Out of 135 countries)
Health and Survival
Source: World Economic Forum (2012) Global Gender gap Index- 2012. p10-11)
33% Reservation for Women - The Women's Reservation Bill,
passed by Rajya Sabha in March 2010, is currently pending in Lok
The disproportionate sex ratio at birth has not changed over the
past years (WEF,2012).
Women comprise 48.3% of India’s population but only 26.1% of
employed persons (Indian Census 2011;)
80% of rural women are engaged in agricultural production but
only 9% own land (Ministry of Rural Development; 4b: Indian
National Sample Survey 2002)
On equal economic opportunities and women’s participation
in the labour force, India ranked 127th and 122nd
respectively (WEF 2012)
Only 10% of ministerial positions and 11% of seats in the
Parliament are occupied by women (UN Women’s Progress of
the World’s Women, 2011-2012)
Trapped in Social & Cultural Practices
Powerless to make essential life-choices, dominant behaviours and
mindsets , inequalities within households (deep-rooted patriarchy, early
marriage and pregnancy, household chores, elderly care, son preference,
violence against women, discriminatory attitudes, compromised general
and reproductive health, years of suppression and deprivation
borne by women across communities.
Education• Poor infrastructure; lack of non-formal educational systems
Economic Participation and Opportunity
• Denied autonomy, mobility, informal sector, low skill, double
burden of labour, risk of exploitation, labour intensive, invisible,
Inequalities in Political power
• Access to decision-making, representation, governance, differences
in legal status and entitlements etc.
• Inclusiveness - measure/assess and absence of latest as well
as sex/gender disaggregated data.
• Significant gaps In spite of the effective implementation of all the above
schemes and programmes, between policy achievements and
actual practice at the community level.
understanding the needs of the women- evidence based,
context specific effective practices.
• Lack of coordination- Between different government bodies
Economic Inclusion: increasing income generating potential; vocational training,
Social Achievement: delayed marriage and pregnancy; encompass reproductive and
Increasing access to Education: for e.g.: the Zomba cash transfer scheme in Malawi for
increasing girl’s attendance at school (World Bank)
Changes in institutions and legal frameworks,
Changes in political decision-making structures.
Promoting girl’s agency: a sense of self worth or self-efficacy
Engaging youth- appropriate information and support
Mobilizing communities: Kenya, ChildFund international program to book girls for
Training Public workers: teacher and public health workers
Enhancing access to existing government support: increasing awareness of support
programs, promoting co-ordination between ministries and departments; creating a
referral system; generating demand for services.
Strong tracking mechanism: foundation for effective policies; further developing a long
term impact for e.g.: MAMTA, Pathfinder.
Building network and consortia: spread best practices among geographies, account
specific needs of the community, develop & strengthen network with relevant partner
Ministries/Departments, Commissions, and Civil Society Organizations to
facilitate convergence at different levels.
Creating an enabling environment.
Behavioral change communication
Changes in attitudes and relationships: redefine gender roles and relational
Gender equality and women’s empowerment: two sides of the same coin.
Institutional changes: Needed in civil society, the media, political parties, legislatures
and the judicial system in order to support women’s policy agendas and to make the
transition from policy to practice.
Honour constitutional commitments.
Long term process: We have to accept the fact that things are not going to change
overnight; we cannot stop taking action.
A wide gap: between the goals enunciated in development measures and related
mechanisms on the one hand and the situational reality of the status of women in
India, on the other.
Need for society changes its attitude: instigate a behavioural and attitudinal change in
the larger society towards women.
Stringent Execution: No doubt the government of India has many weapons to fight for
women empowerment, the prompt and strict implementation is quite essential. Unless
the Acts, Policies, Rules, Regulations etc, are strictly implemented the idea of women
empowerment remains unachieved. Hence the efforts of the government are still
inadequate and the process of empowering women in India is long way to go.
Awareness, Understanding and Action: The best way to do so is to educate the
children, orient the teachers, examine the text books and teaching-aids and ensure
that the next generation grows up with new thinking