Seeing as the older era, a woman has been treated as inferior citizens of all across the world. The position is more or less the same universally irrespective of the urbanized nation. Women have been consigned to inferior position regardless of the fact that they numerically represent about 50% of the world population today. In perspective of sound and qualified ability, this situation has lowered the woman’s self-esteem, autonomy and pride as human beings. Therefore, women empowerment is a compelling issue in the present world. Women empowerment is the course of actions taken by women to have ownership and control of their lives through extension of their selections (Khan & Awan, 2011). Now this paper will discuss about the factors i.e.; gender inequality, lack of education and that hinders women empowerment and also several recommendations to promote it.
In the extremely commencement of evolution, women enjoyed a highly regarded position in society at equivalence with men. They dynamically indulged in social, religious dealings as well as in competition. Moreover, the traditional ceremonies were considered imperfect if women do not participate. Though, it was their considerable constitution which became hurdle on the approach of doing a variety of different complicated tasks. Gradually, they start becoming dependent on men for their food, work and other necessities. During the development of society, the position of women changed because of the establishment of patriarchy i.e; male dominancy. Gradually, male dominancy enters in society and the caliber of women is been thrown up, who surpass the skills on men. Women have made great progress in different areas of life and got achievements like teacher, doctor, engineer, pilots etc. This achievement should really appreciate as they have achieved these things by passing through highly worst situations and at the cost of severe social criticism.
According to the Fourth UN World Conference for Women, “men-controlled society, firm traditional standards and inflexible socio-cultural customs makes women to suffer” (Awan, 2012). Although, a lot of effort has been done by civil society organizations, microfinance institutes, governing bodies, different international bodies like CARE, UNICEF to uplift women but the status of women is more or less same in the present circumstances.
Women are discriminated and more subjected to problems in many aspects because of gendered social structure. The fact is evident that women are among the vulnerable segment in society (Naz, Ibrahim & Ahmed, 2012). Gender inequality influences women empowerment in a negative manner. In today’s world, although females are working in many fields of work but they are still considered weak in comparison with men. Many cultures and societies question woman’s ability to work in certain tasks. For instance; in Africa, politics and economics are believed to be fields for males. Moreover, in Nigeria, it is a tradition that males will not participate in domestic work but it’s only a responsibility of women. According to the Liberal Feminism theory, society believes that women are by nature less intellectual and physically less capable which excludes women from political, economical and academic domains (Bimolain, 2013). In Pakistan, women discrimination is very apparent in every aspect. As there is a male dominant society, women are restricted to have participation in jobs, properties and even they do not have the right to raise their voice. A study was done in Faisalabad and Rawalpindi to measure the empowerment level of women in study area and to identify the socio-cultural factors that influence women empowerment in domestic aspect. Results showed that majority of women had lack of resources and low education, their paid job involvement was negligible, low level of awareness about their rights, less decision making ability, less mobility and lower level of participation in family discussions (Khan, 2010).
The need for women empowerment came through minor position they were getting for so long. The empowerment is a tool that can bring change in their socio-economic condition. It has been known that no society can progress without the women lag behind. Empowerment needs to start on with women involvement in different aspects of life. Education contains a huge value in this view but education for promoting women empowerment is still not fully understood. To attain empowerment women have to have education about their rights with in a modern society. It is the education that can convey knowledge in them associated with their social status, prejudice and discrimination for them. According to International Center for Research on Women (2005), women with higher
education have more control over their destinies. Moreover, higher education also plays a pivotal role in reducing violence against women, female and infant mortality and risky behaviors. Studies done in Africa and Latin America showed that education lowers risky behaviors and risk of sexually transmitted diseases (“A second look,” 2005). Besides this, financial autonomy is the most important factor that contributes in empowering women. In Pakistan, women are getting educated but still there is a great discrimination. According to Islamic teachings; “It is a duty of every Muslim man and woman to seek knowledge” (Tariq, n.d.). Usually, it is observed that if the family affords to give education only to their one child, they always choose male to be their bread earner. In Pakistan, 69% men are literate whereas for females literacy rate is 45% only which indicates a great gender gap.
To improve women empowerment worldwide, people need to change their own perspectives, norms and values. Women and men are equal in all respect and there must be some effective work to be done to make women to work equally with men in every aspect of life. There should be some comprehensive framework for women on the national and international level and effective ways for its implementation and monitoring. Women right should be protected in every aspect on governmental level. For Instance, discrimination and abuse against women would lead to jail immediately and have to pay cash penalties. Health resources should be made accessible and affordable to reduce female mortalities but on the other hand women should be given enough freedom to go for their checkups without their husbands as well because humanity comes first irrespective of any culture. Western countries instead of raising voice for the violation of right of women in Pakistan should help them to make the standard living of women by building schools for their education and some vocational training should be there so that they can groom their abilities and to provide the opportunities of earning especially for the women living in rural areas. The main cause of violation of women rights is the lack of earning opportunities and education. If empowerment of women will be their then next coming generation will be more educated and then women will be secured and less hesitated to raise the voice against their rights. Moreover, effective higher education should be provided to poor women with low fees or there must some financial assistance from different governmental bodies. According to one study done in Egypt, it was found that women with post-secondary schooling were about 25 percent more likely to be formally employed (“A second look,” 2005). Participation in politics and decision making on broader level should be in cooperated so that women can raise their voices and opinions and fight for their rights. Biasness regarding sexes and stereotypes against women must be taken under consideration to save women from violence. There must be counseling sessions for women in both the rural and urban areas so as to make females aware of their rights, needs and risky behaviors and their consequences. This crucial insight suggests that strategies for change need to be targeted at specific groups of girls and women and significant others such as fathers, husbands and sons, taking into account their particular circumstances (David, 2012).
In Islam, women have given huge respect as it can be proved by the sayings of Prophet Muhammad that “PARADISE LIES UNDER MOTHER FEET”. Whether it is a Pakistani society or western, women should get equal rights and respect from every aspect. The chore is not too complex to accomplish. Two things that are honesty and sincerity on the element of those concerned are required. If the change occurs in lots of women then definitely it will provide a constructive impact on society. Hence, the women’s empowerment is the need of the hour. Word count: 1379
The task is not too difficult to achieve. The honesty and sincerity on the part of those involved is a must. If the lots of women change, definitely it will have a positive impact on society. Hence, the women’s empowerment is the need of the hour.