Earlier role of the women used to be limited to household management only. Men wanted that woman should only beget children and nurture them. She had no say in the matters relating to business, state or in world affairs.
In India the education and Western influence has raised in women a new kind of awareness. They began seeking empowerment. This had caused many to think that women in seeking equality with men are seeking more power. Neither, men nor women knew what exactly they were seeking.
This new awareness calls for redefining the role of men and women in society. Men thought that this new demand coming from women would be an encroachment on their authority. They would lose their status of being the sole provider and breadwinner in the family. They thought maybe women would expect them to share in the domestic duties and responsibilities. They feared it would impinge on their freedom. Another fear they had at the back of their mind that they would lose the right to dominate women.
From time memorial men had been in a way using women. For ages they bore the burden and she played a second class role in family. They had no voice whatsoever in family affairs. Man used to be the sole head and woman had to bear everything silently. Women even endured beating at the hands of their husbands.
Men did not realize that the role they had assigned to women was detrimental to the development of society. Men always thought that only they have the talent. This was perhaps the reason they preferred to assign a menial role to women.
The fast changing environment has given a new meaning to the word family. The family is no longer nuclear, but global. It encompasses the whole world. In this changing world we have to delegate more power and authority to women. We have to create an environment conducive enough to enable her to function.
Before we begin, the men will have to change their outlook towards women. Hitherto, they viewed her only in the role of mother, wife, sister and daughter. A woman is no longer an object of sex. She is much more than the women of bygone age that she used to be. In the times of gender equality she could be your business partner, your boss, the CEO or even the president of a country.
The countries must take stern measures against societies who deny rights to the women to live. They must deal with the cases of female infanticide harshly; and mete out suitable punishment to those found guilty.
For long the society has denied women the right to education. The state must extend to them a right to free education.
The government must identify specific areas to give women an opportunity to seek employment. It must also encourage women entrepreneurs to organize their own business ventures.
Empowerment of women would bring forth a broadest pool of talent. It would also advance competitiveness. This would help to extend a model family behavior to larger organizations as well. This would foster a sustainable development in the country. The government and society should therefore encourage economic and social conditions that would provide equal opportunities to men and women both.
The equality and empowerment of women should not remain a mere slogan. The society must translate it into a meaningful endeavor that would show some results in time to come.