Empowerment by Women’s Education

Abstract-
Education is one of the most important ‘Fundamental Right’ of the citizens of a nation. It is a dialogue between the past, present and the future. It is an important investment in human capital essential to economic growth The Elementary Education system serves as the base over which the Superstructure of the whole education system is built up. It is observed that complete Literacy has not been achieved even 63 years after independence, and this has far reaching socio-economic impacts. The fact that almost half of our women are illiterates speaks of serious gender discrimination within the system Women’s education plays a very important role in the overall development of the country. It not only helps in the development of half of the human resources, but in improving the quality of life at home and outside. There is considerable evidence for the claim that access to education helps to empower women.


Education appears to improve women’s ability to process and utilize new information, although more rapidly for certain issues than others. It increases the likelihood that women will look after their own, as well as family, well-being. It may lead to a greater role for women in decision-making and a greater willingness on their part to question male dominance in the home and community. Further it may lead to a greater role for women in decision-making and a greater willingness on their part to question male dominance in the home and community. Educated women also appear less likely to suffer from domestic violence Enrolments in schools have improved substantially in recent years but the retention rates continue to be poor, and only a fraction of enrolled students completes even the Primary classes. Completions of Middle and
Secondary levels are still lower. Wide regional variation exists even within this sub-standard
performance of the Basic Education system. While few states have performed moderately, others have done abysmally, and continue to do so. As with India as a whole, many states have large rural-urban differences in female literacy. There are several reasons for the low levels of literacy in India, Factors like poverty, presence of a wide child-labor market, absence of assured employment after schooling, and infrastructural problems are identified as responsible for the ills plaguing the elementary education system in India. Providing incentives for attending schools, making the schooling process attractive to the children, streamlining the middle and high school curriculum to make it more vocational and job-oriented, and providing better infrastructure for the schools are some of the policies likely to improve the scenario. This paper tries to analyze the current trends, patterns and interacting factors affecting the quantitative and qualitative aspects of School Education System in India with a special focus on Women’s education that can lead to
their empowerment.

Empowerment by Women’s Education-

There is a gender dimension to all aspects of the world of work and the life cycle of human beings. If “money talks”, women do not have a loud voice. Pay differentials remain one of the most persistent forms of inequality between women and men. They vary from country to country and within countries, between the public and private sectors and between different
sectors of the economy. There is widespread belief that economic strength is the basis of social,
political and psychological power in society (Mayoux 2000). Therefore, women with a low economic status would benefit both socially and psychologically from economic strength.

Education is one of the most important ‘Fundamental Right’ of the citizens of a nation. It is a dialogue between the past, present and the future. It is an important investment in human capital essential to economic growth The Elementary Education system serves as the base over which the Superstructure of the whole education system is built up. Societies have become increasingly dependent on the printed word, and non-literate people are among the poorest and least powerful in the world. There is a close relationship between literacy, power, and
empowerment. The term ‘empowerment’ is a term often used but rarely well defined from the local to the United Nations (UN) bodies and the World Bank that it has become one of the most ubiquitous and the most maligned word . Though it has become a popular buzzword over the last decade and a half, there has been little informed discussion on the term ’empowerment’
(Beteille 1999).

According to Minkler and Wallerstein (1997), the word empowerment first appeared in the literature during the 1950s, a time of social action organization in which the emphasis was on addressing power imbalances. Empowerment rooted in social action became more influential throughout the 1960s and 1970s within the contexts of civil rights, the women’s movement, gay rights, the disability rights movement, and other community-based action. According to Servaes, (1999). empowerment is making sure that ‘people are able to help themselves’. During the 1980s in the psychology literature empowerment was viewed as a participatory process through which individuals take control over their lives and environment Rappaport, 1984).

We live in a world in which education is characterized by extensive gender inequalities. At a time of enormously expanded access to all levels of education, of high aspirations for political participation and huge growth of knowledge economies, it has been found that 77 million children are still out of school, 57 per cent of whom are girls (UNESCO 2006) and 64 per cent of
the seven-hundred and eighty-one million illiterate adults are women. According to Unterhalter (2007), nearly one billion people, one-sixth of the world’s population have little or no education, either because they have never been to school or have had less than five years of schooling and left before acquiring key areas of knowledge and many useful skills. Two-thirds of these people are women and girls.

When we look at India, it is observed that complete Literacy has not been achieved even 63 years after independence, and this has far reaching socio-economic impacts. The fact that almost half of our women are illiterates speaks of serious gender discrimination within the system
Women and men in India enjoy de jure equality. Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees equal rights and opportunities to men and women in political, economic and social spheres, Article 42 directs the State to make provision for ensuring just and humane conditions for work and maternity itself and Article 51 (A) e imposes upon every citizen, a fundamental duty to renounce the practices derogatory to the dignity of women. However this de jure equality has not yet materialized into a de facto equality, despite the efforts made in the Five Year Plans.

Education is important for everyone, but it is especially significant for girls and women. This is true not only because education is an entry point to other opportunities, but also because the educational achievements of women can have ripple effects within the family and across generations. Investing in girls’ education is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty. Investments in secondary school education for girls yield especially high dividends. Women’s education plays a very important role in the overall development of the country. It not only helps in the development of half of the human resources, but in improving the quality of life at home and outside. There is considerable evidence for the claim that access to education helps to
empower women.

Education is a cornerstone of women’s empowerment because it enables them to respond to opportunities, to challenge their traditional roles and to change their lives. Educating women benefits the whole of society. Educating girls is not only important because it gives them an opportunity to earn but the most important reason of educating women is because they are the one who develop the whole family It has a more significant impact on poverty and development than men’s education. It is also the most influential factor in improving child health and reducing infant mortality. Education appears to improve women’s ability to process and utilize new information, although more rapidly for certain issues than others. It increases the likelihood that women will look after their own, as well as family, well-being. Women’s education also has an effect on family size. The more years of education a woman has, the fewer children she tends to bear.

The education of parents is linked to their children’s educational attainment, and the mother’s education is usually more influential than the father’s. An educated mother’s greater influence in household negotiations may allow her to secure more resources for her children.
Educated mothers are more likely to be in the labor force, allowing them to pay some of the costs of schooling, and may be more aware of returns to schooling. These educated mothers, averaging fewer children, can concentrate more attention on each child. Besides having fewer children, these mothers are less likely to have mistimed or unintended births. This has implications for schooling, because poor parents often must choose which of their children to educate. Empowerment through education is ideally seen as a continuous holistic process with cognitive, psychological, economic and political dimensions in order to achieve emancipation.

Studies suggest that girls with some years of secondary schooling are better able to use what they have learned than those with only primary schooling and that post-primary education provides girls with the greater benefits. Wide regional variation exists even within this sub-standard performance of the Basic Education system. While few states have performed moderately, others have done abysmally, and continue to do so. As with India as a whole, many states have large rural-urban differences in female literacy.

the economic empowerment of women is fundamental to their overall empowerment and brings a better quality of material life through enterprise owned and managed by women. Women’s education and development strategies are often evaluated according to their efficacy in reducing poverty and vulnerability. Advocates of education for empowerment have argued that education
needs to go well beyond mere “enabling”. It has to view women as society’s active members who need education to participate, effectively and meaningfully, in any activity and as equal partners of men. When education is not related to a labor market and social environment which provide better opportunities for educated individuals it gradually loses its importance. Higher levels of education have greater economic returns for women than men. In India, for instance, a recent study found that the wage benefit for women with secondary education was double that for men. Studies show that the benefits of education in reducing domestic violence are greater in the less patriarchal state of Tamil Nadu in southern India than the more patriarchal state of Uttar Pradesh in the north.

Empowerment is better defined as a concept than in practical terms, which leaves many questions unanswered. This is particularly true with education for empowerment.
How does one educate to empower? How does learning for empowerment differ from other programmes for women? How should learning be structured? How can its impact be measured?
The concept of empowerment, as it has been developed so far, is, at best, incomplete and possibly dangerous if it is not oriented more clearly towards the service of society. Empowerment needs to be explicitly located within a broader framework of commonly agreed upon parameters of human and social equity. Empowerment may be the answer in terms of an immediate response to a situation, but we need to see how this strategy has worked over a longer period of time. We need to see if we are arriving at universal respect for all
human rights throughout the society.

The Constitution not only provides equality for women but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination for women. Empowerment of women is an important program in development efforts. The philosophical concept of women’s empowerment and its practical implications, has matured and developed considerably over the years; the most far-reaching step in this direction is clearly the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution of India, which reserves a third of seats for women in all elected local government bodies.

Traditionally Indian culture does hold woman in high esteem which can be seen in the concepts of “Sakthi”- the mother as the fountain of all living, the “Ardha Nareesawara” or half woman god and to various rituals where the lady of the house has an equal and important role. Bu then some where we have lost them. The conquerors of India and colonizers of India of have made us to move away from that and the current western concepts of empowerment with more focus on economics have made us confused. Are we really developing ourselves? Our value system has been eroding and the “family” is breaking. Children are finding themselves more vulnerable and are missing their childhood due the ambitions of the parents.

We find that the educational level has not helped us to do away with our dowry or honors killings but has helped us to liberate to dine and wine in the pubs and not looking after the elderly. Education is generally seen in monetary terms in the capitalist economic theory. Although research has shown that higher education among women leads to significant decreases in child mortality and fertility rates, mainstream economics still talks about education in terms of market skill value which accrues higher monetary dividends. All these does not suggest that empowerment is bad but the way of empowerment seems to be more artificial than real. Women’s education is extremely important intrinsically as it is their human right and required for the flourishing of many of their capacities It is time we think again what is development and what is empowerment and for whom and do we need to imitate the west? One thing is clear; empowerment education will not make a difference in women’s status on a large scale without supportive political will. However, the trend is changing, and the qualitative dividends of women’s education are increasingly discussed in development theory.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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