Find The Domain Of The Function Expressed By The Formula: Empowerment of Women

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Empowerment of Women

Introduction:

“Nature has given woman much power, law gives little.” — William Henry

Introduction:

India is a democratic and political country with a well-organized administrative structure, and a pre-existing mixed economy, with rich experience of private sector operations. India also has a vast pool of skilled manpower and an entrepreneurial class available, reasonably good basic infrastructure and a good track record of meeting past international obligations.

In this highly competitive world, the development of society is highly influenced by the productive contribution of each member. The contribution of women in various fields of life cannot be ignored. But experience has shown that the benefits of development have not been shared equally by all levels of people.

Status of Women in Indian Society:

Since time immemorial, women have had to face the challenges faced by a patriarchal society. Even after many years of planned development in India, the status of women in our country is low and their socio-economic condition is more depressing than that of men. The most important factor influencing women’s non-participation in decision-making and governance is the private-public divide between men and women. The place of women in the private sector is connected with the household. Whereas, the public sphere is associated with political authority, public decision-making, productive work and masculinity. Such assumptions have always hindered women from negotiating in the public domain and they are either criticized for their inadequacy or patronized by men. Recent experience of structural adjustment shows that women are the most marginalized class. They are destined for a disproportionately large share of burdens, illiteracy and unemployment.

Challenges faced by women:

o Gender disparity in school enrollment and literacy rates

o Gender inequality in wage rates

o Employment and livelihood opportunities for women

o Causes of gender poverty

o Infant and maternal mortality rates

o Restrictive birth control practices

o Violence against women

o Vulnerability of women in crisis situations

o Portrayal of women in the media

Serious disappointment in some areas:

Marginalizing women as a special species has placed women on the basis of hereditary handicaps. It is now generally accepted that unless women constitute a ‘critical mass’ of at least one-third of decision-makers their presence makes no difference to governance outcomes. Experiences from various countries have shown that the struggle continues, but gender mainstreaming must continue as an institutional and cultural transformation process to eliminate gender bias in development and governance structures.

Impact of Education and Technology:

The challenge of development in the broadest sense is to improve the quality of life, which generally demands better education, higher standards of health and nutrition, a cleaner environment, greater equality of opportunity, greater personal freedom and a richer cultural life. It is natural that development is a human-centered process, but until women reach the same level as men, special attention should be paid to empowerment. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional process that enables a person to realize his potential. Looking at the above background, it is clear that women empowerment will change the destiny of the nation.

Education is the most important tool through which human resources can be developed. Education enables people to acquire basic skills and develop competencies that help raise the social and economic status of women. Education helps expand economic opportunities for women. Higher female literacy is associated with better hygiene, lower infant mortality, better family nutrition, lower fertility and lower population growth rates. Education as a major program for women’s development has been included in successive five-year plans.

Today, women are an integral part of the new economic order and play an important role in the economy. In India, lower income group women were the first to enter the labor market to earn their living followed by middle class women. Due to the development of education and technology, middle class women have got more priority in white collar jobs. The economic and social empowerment of women in any society is influenced by their involvement in income-generating activities outside the home. Self-help groups play an important role in uplifting the economic and social status of women in society.

A self-help group is a homogenous group of rural poor who voluntarily save whatever amount they can conveniently save from their income and contribute to a common fund with mutual consent to lend to members to meet their productive and emergency needs. The basic principles on which self-help groups work are group approach, mutual trust, organization of the poor, organized small groups, group cohesion, sense of savings, demand-based credit and women-friendly credit. SHG is fast emerging as a powerful and alternative banking structure to cater to the needs of its members mostly women.

Overall the image of women as a respectable source of self-reliance improves significantly within and outside the family, their improved income they spend on their children’s education and improved nutrition, thereby paving the way for human resource development in villages.

* Impact of women’s participation in SHGs

(After two to three years) …..(results of some independent studies)

The average value of assets (livestock, consumer durables, etc.) per family is Rs. increased by 72.3% from 6,843 (ex-SHG) to Rs. 11,793

o 59 percent of the sampled households reported an increase in wealth.

o Housing conditions improved

o All members have developed saving habits compared to only 23% of households previously

The average annual savings per family has tripled from Rs. 460 to Rs. 1,444

Average borrowing per family per year is Rs. 4,282 to Rs. 8,341.

The share of consumer credit has fallen from 50 percent to 25 percent.

70% of loans taken by post-SHGs were for income generation purposes.

The average net income per household is Rs. increased by 33% from 20,177 to Rs. 26,88

Impact on Empowerment

Related to financial issues

% members

Contribution to family income

65

o % share of contribution to family income

40

Hoping for an improvement in the economic situation

89

Affil has increased his contribution to household income after joining the group

74

offeeling Consultation on finance related decisions

60

Related to self development

O (she) could not write before but is able to write now

Their names (after joining the group

100

Formally educated, now read forms in banks

42

Read newspapers regularly or occasionally

41

More confident in making decisions for yourself

66

Recognized in the ofeel family

59

Ofeel is increasingly recommended by other women

44

More confident in dealing with people

75

More confident in dealing with others

Organizations with which they regularly interact

59

Attend village meetings regularly

41

He voted in the last local elections and 96

Interaction with others and local decision making

*Source: SHG – Bank Linkage Program Status as on 31 March 2004, NABARD.

Recommendations:

o Empower women to overcome obstacles and barriers to their economic productivity.

o Addressing the gender gap in governance

o Establishment of various institutions for good governance

o To form and strengthen women’s groups to play an active role in social change.

o Eliminating illiteracy through women’s participation in education

Empower women to use modern science and technology

o Flood rural areas with quality SHGs

Encourage NGOs

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