Women Empowerment Programmes in India

Dr. R.V. Gangshetty Lecturer Dept. of Economics Karnataka State Women’s University Bijapur E-mail: rvg_shetty@rediffmail.com

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Introduction Definition of Women's Empowerment Role of women in economic development Need for Women Empowerment Women Empowerment Programmes Conclusion

I. Introduction Women can play a decisive role in the economic development of a country. Her contribution to economic development is great and is both in the visible and invisible form. If she is transformed from being primarily a vehicle of human reproduction, producing biological goods, to a vehicle of social, cultural and economic good, she can certainly create wonders.

II. Definition of Women's Empowerment The Oxford American Dictionary defines "empowerment" as "to make (someone) stronger and more confident, esp. in controlling their life and claiming their rights." It means to give women power and help them face the challenges of being a woman in society.

III. Role of Women in Economic Development
Chief architect of family The first teacher Supply of labour power Main role in agricultural development Contribution to Industrial labour force are women  Service sector development     

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Socio-cultural development Efficient administration Progress of handicrafts Political Development Supply of Skill and Intelligence Creation of civilized society Improvement in production efficiency

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Chief architect of family: She works in different capacities in the family like mother, guide, mentor, counselor, friend, and philosopher. Creation of happy homes is her unique contribution. The first teacher: Mother is the first teacher. She teaches her children the basic elements of life. Supply of labour power: Women supply necessary labour power for the production of goods and services. Main role in agricultural development: Women till the field, bring water at irrigation, cook the meals and do all sorts of work. They lend helping hand during the busy agricultural season.

Contribution to Industrial labour force are women: labour force have achieved tremendous industrial development. Nowadays women are active in various types of industrial activities. Service sector development: service sector like health, education, trade, banking, insurance, tourism, telecommunications, transport, research and development etc., Socio-cultural development: In the socio-cultural development of a country, a crucial central position is assigned to women folk. They are the real ambassadors of art and culture.

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Efficient administration:women generally are more efficient and less corrupt than men. Their devotion of work is certainly unquestionable. Progress of handicrafts: skill, intelligence, creativity and artful mind will certainly be helpful for the development of handicraft industry. Political Development: Women can be involved well in the policy and decision making process. local bodies like village panchayats, municipalities, city corporations and district bodies and also in various other bodies like cooperative institutions, milk societies, self help groups etc.

Supply of Skill and Intelligence: Women can also supply necessary skill and intelligence for economic development. She can work as a labourer manager, entrepreneur and as industrialist. Creation of civilized society: Women can play a role in the creation of a civilized society. Women not only perform the tasks well but they lend grace as well. They are capable of moulding the very character of the society. Improvement in production efficiency: Women can contribute a lot to economic development by improving production efficiency of a country.

IV. Need for Women Empowerment
• Our constitution, in its Fundamental Rights, has provisions for equality, social justice and protection of women. These goals are yet to be realized. Women continue to be discriminated, exploited and exposed to inequalities at various levels. By empowerment women would be able to develop self – esteem and confidence, realize their potential and enhance their collective bargaining power. Women empowerment can be viewed as a contribution of several inter- related and mutually reinforcing competent.

Awareness building about women’s situations, discrimination, rights and opportunities will act as a step towards gender equality. Capacity building and skill development,

especially the ability to plan, make decisions, organize, manage and execute will enable to deal with people and institutions in the course of business. 6. Participation and greater control and decision making power in the home, community and society will develop leadership qualities. 7. Action is needed at all levels to bring about greater quality between men and women.

V. Women Empowerment Programmes  Swayamsidha  Swa-Shakti Project  Support to Training and employment Programme for Women (STEP)  Swalamban  Creches/ Day care Centers for the Children of working and Ailing Mothers  Hostels for working women  Swadhar  Rashtriya Mahila kosh (RMK)

Women Empowerment Programmes Introduction As per the 2001 census, women constituted about 48 per cent of the total population of the country. Women suffer many disadvantages compared to men. Education, Labour Larticipation rate and Earnings. The Government has been implementing various schemes for the socio-economic advancement National Policy for Empowerment of Women ( 2001) ensuring women their rightful place in society by empowering them as agents of socio - economic change. Now, it is an important approach adopted for development of women under Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12).

The major strategies of women empowerment is
Economic empowerment and Gender justice. Two important schemes in the areas of education i.e., Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Mahila Samakhya.

Policy and Programmes
1. Swayamsidha:

It is an integrated project for the development and empowerment of women through Self Help Groups (SHGs) with emphasis on covering service, developing access to microenterprises. allotted so far and about 10 lakh women have taken membership. 2. Swa-Shakti Project: Earlier known as the Rural Women’s Development and Empowerment Project, was sanctioned in October 1998 as centrally sponsored scheme to be implemented in the states of Bihar. Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh.

3. Support to Training and employment Programme for Women (STEP): The programme seeks to provide updated skills and new knowledge to poor assetless women in eight traditional sectors of employment, agriculture, animal husbandry, dairying, fisheries, handlooms, handcrafts, Khadi and Village industry and sericulture. Eleven projects were sanctioned during minimum period of three years. Eleven projects were sanctioned during 2003-2004, which is estimated to benefit 16,350 women.

4. Swalamban:

The objective of this scheme is To provide training and skills to women to facilitate them to obtain employment or self employment on a sustainable basis training like computer programming , medical transcription, electronic assembling, consumer electronics repair, radio and television repairs, garment making, handloom weaving, handicrafts, secretarial practice, community health work and embroidery. During 2003-04, 463 proposals were approved, benefiting 71,240 women.

5. Creches/ Day care Centers for the Children of working and Ailing Mothers: Scheme aims to provide day care services to children (0-5 years) of parents whose income does not exceed Rs.1,800 per month. 6. Hostels for working women: The scheme of assistance for construction and expansion of hostel buildings for working women, with day care centers, is being implemented since 1972. The scheme envisages provisions for safe and affordable accommodation to working women ( single working women, Women working at places away from their hometowns, working but husband out of town, etc.).

7.Swadhar: This scheme was launched in 2001-2002 as a central sector scheme for providing holistic and integrated services to women in difficult circumstances . 8. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK): Also known as the National Credit Fund for Women was set up as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 on March 30, 1993. Credit support or micro-finance to poor women to start income generating activities such as in
     Dairy Agriculture Shop-keeping Vending and Handicrafts.

In 2003-04, an amount of Rs.25 crore was sanctioned through RMK benefiting about 32,765 women.

VI. Conclusion
Women plays important role in the socio-economic development of country, but since generation she has been neglected a lot. So in 21st century there is a need for the women empowerment to attain highest level of socio-economic growth. In this direction several policies and programmes have been introduced by the Government of India. So these programmes play important role in the women upliftment. But, the effective implementation part has to be taken care of to make women more independent.

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