+2 LESSON 1 THE 3LS OF EMPOWERMENT Christine Lagarde
Video of speech
INDIAN WOMEN – FINDING A SPACE IN THE SOCIO-CULTURAL MILIEU
PREPARED BY SAJEENA SHUKKOOR, HSST (ENGLISH), TRIVANDRUM
CREDITS GIVEN TO THE HINDU DAILY FOR DATA
Finding a space for women in the socio-cultural milieu is not a country specific problem. It transcends across nations. The news surprises us that in total numbers the U.S. has more cases of rape and sexual assault than India does, including aggressive sexual assaults in university campuses, though after the Delhi Nirbhaya case, India is singled out on this issue.
It is paradoxical that the only country which produced woman President, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition, female executives in the national financial institutions, treats its daughters with the least dignity and honour. India ranks among the countries with the highest levels of infanticide, with millions of “missing girls”.
India has complex cultural attitudes to its women. For the large majority of women in India, life is both tough and uncertain. On one side media require women to tantalize men towards it. On another side, women’s success stories are not given enough coverage. It is worthwhile to cite here an instance when Prime Minister Modi gave a backhanded compliment to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for being tough on terrorism “despite being a woman”. Patriarchal attitudes are not changed even though the country had contributed firebrands of women freedom fighters.
Women in India are apt to be called weaker sex. They rank 140 out of 179 countries in the Mother’s
Index Rank while Chinese women rank 61. This is clear indicator of India’s poor maternal health.
According to the 2011 census, male literacy rate in India is 82.14% while female literacy rate is 65.46%. This low level of literacy has a negative impact on the lives of women and their families. Moreover it adversely affects the economic development of the country too. Numerous studies show that illiterate women have high levels of fertility and mortality, poor nutritional status, low earning potential, and little autonomy within the household. A woman’s lack of education also has a negative impact on the health and well-being of her children. For instance, a recent survey in India found that infant mortality was inversely related to mother’s educational level.
Educating girl child and retaining them in schools strengthens maternal health.
Education provides mental strength and mental toughness. It in turn multiplies the number in labour
force. Education and labour help women to break the shackles of exclusion. It helps them realize their potential. Actually it is a proven fact that women labour force raises the GDP of a country. Employed women tend to spend their money on developmental processes as against employed men.
But the work environment should be productive and harmonious. In India equal pay for equal work is still a distant dream while safety in the work place is a myth. Gender specific issues are not yet addressed in the Indian workplaces. Brutal working hours is another problem. In India, different NGOs and SHGs have proven that women on assuming leadership, become mentor and guide to other women. Prerna is one such organization working among rural women. In Kerala, we have the case of Rabiya who made her entire villagers literate despite being confined within a wheelchair. There are much more examples like Sunitha Krishnan, Sudha Murti etc. Government shows affirmative discrimination by giving scholarships to girl child in India.
Women have always played a pivotal role in Indian history in the form of Gargi and Maithreyi in the Vedic Age, Jhansi Rani, Indira Gandhi, Indira Nuyi and many more. But this parade of women does not relieve us from the greater blow. The size of the women population trampled is alarmingly high. Indian woman has to redraw her space in a wide canvass of inclusion. She has to cross many milestones towards achieving that.
PREPARED BY SAJEENA SHUKKOOR, HSST (ENGLISH), TRIVANDRUM
Focal Concept _ Importance of Women Empowerment
Learning Out Come
The learner demonstrates the ability to
• realise the role of women in the progress of a nation.
• understand the components that make up a speech and the context in
which speeches are delivered.
All men have a task,
And to sing is my lot –
No meed from men I ask
But one kindly thought.
My vocation is high –
‘Mid the glasses that ring,
Still – still comes that reply,
Chant poor little thing.
My Vocation, Toru Dutt
However, in our country, there is the need for a sea change in the mindset and
attitude of the people to truly understand the meaning of women’s
empowerment. (From Handbook)
THE 3 LS OF EMPOWERMENT
“The 3Ls of Empowerment” is a speech done by Christine Lagarde the first woman Finance Minister of France. She exhorts us to take the challenges of the 21st century.
She underlines the importance of women’s empowerment. She identifies the economic role of women. At the same time she wonders at the plight of women. According to her women should be given equal opportunity. She feels disturbed at the modern- scenario. He says today women are blocked to contribute their talents. Women are denied equal opportunity. According to her a concerted effort will surely open the door to opportunity. She strongly recommends the 3Ls of women’s empowerment. They are learning, labour and leadership. She believes in the power of educating women. It will enable them to realize their power and break the chains of discrimination.
Next the speaker is confident of the labour to achieve women- empowerment. But she is not optimistic with today’s economic- scenario. Women are getting low payment, low status and low security jobs. She emphasizes an immediate change. The prime objective should be equal pay for equal work. She hopes for a change by eliminating gender gaps. She is optimistic that this would promote an increase in per capita income.
Finally the speaker points out that leadership is another important thing in empowering women. She firmly believes that leadership will enable them to rise and fulfill their inborn abilities and talents. It will really help them to fulfil their ambitions lin life. She is optimistic in women’s power of making good decisions with common agreement and long-term sustainability.
She concludes her speech emphasizing the fact that women must have confidence to come out of their comfort- zone. She should be ready to face any challenges and make difference in the society. She is really positive-minded to dream a world where women will reap the benefits with the above 3Ls of empowerment.
IMPORTANT POINTS FOR THE EXAM…..BY HEART IT TO SCORE WELL
- Christine Lagarde in her speech highlights the need for the empowerment of women.
- She speaks of ‘learning’,’ labour’ and leadership as the three essential factors for women empowerment.
- If you educate a boy, you train a man. If you educate a girl, you train a village (African Adage)
- Basic norms of the society should be ‘equal pay for equal work’.
- Researches show that ‘eliminating gender gaps’ will bring an increase in per capita income.
- Women often get low pay, low status and low- security jobs.
- In some countries per capita income lag significantly because women are denied equal opportunity.
- Women represent half the world’s population.
- We can ensure changes in society only with education, because education is the foundation of any change.
- We should not show any discrimination against women in the case of property and inheritance laws.
- Women can achieve greater economicindependence by education and health care.
- Women should be confident and they should change the mindset and reset again to make changes in society.
- Women should be ready to ‘dare the difference’ by taking risks.
- Women should go outside their comfort zones.
- It is time to create a world where all women can meet their potential without impediment or prejudice.
SOME IMPORTANT POINTS FOR ANY ESSAY QUESTION FROM THIS UNIT: (From Source Book)
Pearl S Buck has said, “Men and women should own the world as a mutual possession”. We know that there are several challenges that Indian women face today, gender inequality is one of them. In order to build a healthy and prosperous nation, there is a need to mainstream women’s perspectives in all developmental processes as catalysts, participants and recipients.
The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian constitution in its Preamble. From the Fifth Five Year Plan onwards , there has been a marked shift in the approach to women’s issues, from welfare to development. The Government of India declared 2001 as the year of Women’s Empowerment (Swashakti). According to United Nations, “Women empowerment is a process by which women take control and ownership of their lives through expansion of their choices”.
Empowerment of women needs to be operated at different levels-Economic, Social, Political, Psychological and Familial. Economic level includes poverty eradication, women and economy, globalization, women and agriculture etc. Social level includes education, health, nutrition sanitation, rights of the girl child etc. Political level includes ‘gain political power and execute political responsibilities. Psychological level includes facing situations without fear and secure moral satisfaction. Finally familial level includes making independent decisions in the family, avoid domestic violence and relationship battle among family members.
Subrahmania Bharathi, the Indian poet and social reformer has once saidempowered, enlightened women can take the lead in building a good family, a compassionate society and a more tolerant world.
The literary world too has strongly been advocating the struggle for women’s liberation and equal rights through prose and verse. The post-independent India has witnessed the emergence of zealous women writers who have been successful in expressing their independent identity.
Pandit Jawahalal Nehru says, “The emancipation and empowerment of women was a major principle of our national freedom movement. But still women face numerous challenges and discriminations emanating from social prejudices. The worst manifestation is female foeticide. I hope we can all join hands and work together to make society a safer and more secure place for women. We need a fundamental change in our mindset. Society has to be made aware that a girl child is a boon and a gift.
Empowering women requires a multi level approach- a three E approach. This approach involves enabling environment, education and equality. So women who wish to pursue education should be supported through scholarships and loan facilities. They should also be encouraged to build entreprenurship as a career option and to look at self employment options. It is equally important for women to be motivated to fight against discrimination and to march towards equal status. Physical education for girls should be made compulsory to girl students from a very early age to make them physically strong and to build their confidence.
However, in our country, there is the need for a sea change in the mindset and attitude of the people to truly understand the meaning of women’s empowerment.
Smita Patil was an active feminist and a member of the Women’s Centre in Mumbai. She was deeply committed to the advancement of Women’s issues in her films. Almost all of her films explore the role of women in traditional Indian society.
Helen Boaden is the Director of BBC Radio, which provides the national radio stations. She covers local news, current affairs, etc to empower women and the whole society.
Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom is also known as MC Mary Kom or simply Mary Kom. She is a five-time World Amateur Boxing Champion. She is nicknamed “Magnificent Mary”. She is the only Indian women boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics. She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014, In Incheon, South Korea.
J K Rowling is a British novelist, best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantansy series. Rowling was named the “Most influential Woman in Britain” by leading magazine editors. She has supported charities including Comic Relief, One Parent Families and in politics supports the Labour Party and Better Together.
Prepared by Joy Peter
HSST English, St.Joseph’s HSS Pavaratty, Thrissur
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