Rights of women being trampled and the difficulties being faced by them have always been a hot topic of discussion. People discuss these and forget it after sometime and life goes on.
The need of the hour is to take stock of the progress women have made so far in terms of education, economic empowerment, social and political empowerment and on top of all human empowerment. Empowerment is a multifaceted and multilayered concept. It could be described as a process in which women gain control over their lives, material and human resources and equal share in decision making in the home, community, society and the nation. It means giving voice to the voiceless, in short it is associated with women’s struggle for social justice and equality which challenges basic power relations which makes them worthless, powerless, invisible victims of violence at various levels.
While Kashmiri women could take some satisfaction in the progress women have made in education and even in the availability of equal opportunities for economic empowerment, there is a grey area so far as human empowerment is concerned. The structural inequalities by which women are subjected to systematic injustice and violence have not been eliminated. The never fully articulated false postulates by which society operates have not been destabilized which are the main culprits. Women continue to be subjected to physical, mental and psychological violence in the domestic space, in public and by the state actors. There is a need of coordinated efforts by academia, media and the civil society to change the mindset and defeat the ideology that tolerates and perpetuates violence against women.
The State and the Central Government have established various welfare schemes which have the objective of promoting their education and empowerment. But most women are unaware about these schemes and the benefits of these don’t trickle down to the deserving women.
We should not forget that the struggle is far from over and the empowerment of women should never be reduced to individual success stories. It should be about their collective growth and well-being. The people who can make a difference need to focus on the women living in rural areas as they suffer without being heard.