Role of women in nation building | Essay

Role of women in nation building

Role of women in nation building | Essay

Our scriptures declare that gods dwell in a place where women are respected. Our ancient society honored women and considered them at par with men in every respect. They enjoyed all rights and could occupy even the highest positions in society. They had access to knowledge, power and wealth. It was a period of India's glory.

Unfortunately, women lost their position of equality during the Middle Ages. Our country became the victim of repeated invasions. Physical strength began to be viewed as more valuable, it became the mark of superiority. Feminine delicacy and softness became the symbols of weakness. Masculine strength and ruggedness began to be considered great assets. The entire outlook of people changed. The invaders brought with them their culture. The woman lost her equal status in society and became dependent on the man. As male domination led to the submission of women, they became second-grade citizens. They were deprived of their fundamental rights. They were denied basic freedom and were now confined to the four walls of the house. Outdoor activities were completely banned for them and their role was confined to the bringing up of the family, helping and pleasing men. In the male-dominated patriarchal society, women had no way to realize their potential. They were considered inferior in every way and, therefore, there was no hope for them.

Far-reaching reforms to improve the condition of women were introduced in India during the 19th century. Evils like 'Sati Pratha' — burning of widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands — was banned. But, it was the Indian constitution enforced in 1950 that made the greatest difference. Our constitution guarantees complete equality for women. Effective laws have been made under this constitution to protect women against all kinds of exploitation. Our constitution recognizes woman as an equal partner of man in social and national resurgence. Simultaneously, a worldwide movement to improve the condition of women started. The movement usually called the Feminist movement has heralded many significant changes. It started as a revolt against male domination and today it has restored to them the position of honor to a great extent.

Indian women are contributing to the development of the country in a significant way. They are breaking the shackles of slavery. They no longer regard themselves as inferior to men. Armed with the education they are ready to take up even the most difficult challenges of life. They exude great confidence. Today, we can find women occupying top positions in every walk of life. One of our most powerful prime ministers has been a woman. There are hundreds of women who have done well in politics. Women work in offices in all positions, right from the low-grade peon to the powerful IAS officers. They are successful bank¬ers and teachers, police officers and entrepreneurs, doctors and engineers, sci¬entists and artists. They have demolished the myth that they cannot do well in challenging positions. They have already made their presence felt in many of those fields which have been traditionally male-dominated. Their contribution to the task of nation-building is in no way less than that of men.

It is true that women feel liberated today. They have access to education and they can be independent. But, the winds of change can be seen only in urban areas or some progressive villages. A very large percentage of women continue to face discrimination. Girls in the backward villages of Rajasthan, Bihar, and U.R still remain deprived of education. They are denied the benefits of healthcare. They continue to remain victims of neglect and exploitation. True emancipation of women will come only when each one of them gets equal opportunity. The outlook of men and women must change completely. They must realize that the denial of freedom and equal opportunities to 50% of the population is bad for the country. Since women have been a deprived section of society they need to be given special privileges and concessions so that they may get their rightful place. Indian parliament, for instance, has only 8% of women members as against a population of 50%. There has been a powerful demand for 33% reservation of seats in parliament and legislative assemblies for women. Similarly, the demand for affirmative action for women in other walks of life has been raised. There are vested interests in the society who try to scuttle all such progressive measures. It is indeed necessary that women get their due place in society. They must get opportunities to progress and realize their potential. All kinds of discrimi¬nation against them must end. It is only when they get the same rights and access to the same opportunities as their male counterparts India will achieve true glory.

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