Women empowerment is making women capable of taking their own decisions; decisions about personal life, and socio-political life. Empowerment is to be able to take decisions for personal development as well as social development. Women empowerment would mean encouraging women to be self-reliant, and independent, have positive self-esteem, have the confidence to face any difficult situation in the personal, social or academic field and have incited to actively participate in socio-political development attempts.
In ancient times women were treated very badly by their families and society. They were only restricted to household work and were not allowed to gain education even primary education. They were deprived of education and thus of literacy and liberty. The women were less confident due to their lack of education and less aware of their basic rights so the option left to them was to back out from their basic rights and accept the decisions taken by their family members.
They were not allowed to speak up for their rights or to make decisions about their own life. Somehow one of the main reasons behind not giving women dignity and freedom is the masculine ego. Some of the men cannot bear women getting equality in the family and society. Some parents don’t like their daughters to work and earn, they take it as a shame that why they use the earnings of a girl in the household.
The rate of early marriage was also very high in the past and that also left women in a serious situation. In Pakistan, by 2013-2014 about 80-90% of girls were forced into marriage without their consent at an age less than the age required for marriage. The girls of small age were innocent to understand right or wrong. And this an also a problem in the present era.
Early marriage harms education. One year of early marriage reduces the probability of literacy by 7.5%. A girl is more likely to drop her studies during the preparatory time before the marriage or shortly after. As a wife and then mother she is expected to pay her full attention to her family and children. Continuing studies is almost impossible for a girl after marriage and family extension. In Baluchistan, Thar and village areas child marriages are conducted at a high rate.
In underdeveloped areas of Pakistan, women are still not provided with their basic rights and are not allowed to gain education and do jobs. By an estimate, every 1 out of 4 women in Pakistan is suffering from domestic violence. They are subjected to physical, mental and emotional abuse. And women are quiet about violence because of the fear of society and for the sake of their children.
Domestic violence is not acceptable in any case, region or religion. There are laws against domestic violence and activists take action against the culprit. But the thing is most women are not raising their voices against domestic violence due to a lack of courage or awareness about their rights.
Being in a toxic relationship for a long time, they start thinking of this as an abnormal routine. Women stay in abusive relationships because of the fear and shame of divorce. Society and the people cooperatively make a life for a divorced woman hell living.
There are various ways in which women can be empowered. Education for women must be made compulsory so that women can have proper literacy and have the confidence and courage to make their own life. Awareness programs and seminars must be conducted at a public level so that common people can be made aware of the importance of women’s education. Only a well-qualified woman can take steps for her self-esteem, dignity and life. She can have a financial backup to face any crisis.
Education is that much important for girls. Women should go for a job not only for the difficult financial family times but for their sanity. Girls should be taught the legal process for filing any case or demanding any property in their heritage. Women must be given equal opportunities in every field of life irrespective of gender. Moreover, they must also be given equal salaries.
Early marriages must be eliminated to empower women. There must be some programs in which women are given the ability to defend themselves in case they face financial crisis, life threat, or domestic abuse. Most importantly, the shame of divorce and abuse must be thrown out of the window. Parents should teach their daughters it’s okay to come home divorced rather than to be in a coffin.
Concluding, women are half the population of the country so to make the country develop properly, women must also be encouraged to become successful, developed and empowered. Government and people both must come together to make this happen. Women empowerment in the truest sense will be achieved only when there is an attitudinal change in society about women folk and by treating them with respect, dignity, fairness and equality.