Source: Pixabay
“A nation where women thrive is a nation that always strives. “

Now it has been more than a decade talking about the importance of gender equality in the society and women empowerment. But have we ever considered the fact that merely issuing laws in favour of women will not ensure gender equality in the society . For gender equality to prevail in the society we require a collaborative and participative sustained approach that would lead to true economic development in the society .

With rapid innovations and vast technological improvements, the status of women has uplifted in the society but still there are crucial areas we need to work upon as family laws are still not in the favour of women. Women are not allowed to work outside their houses or take up occupations of their choice and even the firms discriminate against women in providing equal wages for the equal work they do. According to the Indian statistical data of 2020, women account for only 19.9% of the total labour force in India which means that half of the total women population is unemployed in India due to lack of skills, safety issues, or family customs.

Moreover, as per the data provided by the National Commission for Women, there has been a 46% rise in crime rates against women in the first half of 2021 which proves to be a major hurdle in preventing women to take up a no. of occupations in the economy as security of females is still the primary concern in each family. Another major factor that can help in ensuring gender equality in the society is education. Though every year we celebrate Literacy Day on 8 September which has immensely helped in improving the literacy rates in India but still there is lot more to be done. According to the India stats, the literacy rate among females is 70.3% which is very less in comparison to the male literacy rates.

Even today in backward areas of India, while the girls are taught household chores only the male children in the family are sent to schools to acquire education. In urban areas despite earning a decent amount, women are not given the freedom to spend as per their choice or take independent decisions. Studies done by EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality) show that by restricting women and discriminating against them we can never achieve an inclusive growth.

Therefore, we need to understand that gender equality and economic development in the society are interdependent and to have high growth rates in the economy we need to work for uplifting the status of women in the society. Since childhood girls and boys should be given the same treatment so that when they grow, they are more aware of their rights and can contribute more to the GDP of the country by providing skilled labour in the economy. In schools and colleges, sex education should be imparted on a primary basis among the students and since we are living in an era of digitalization so more movies like Dangal, Neerja, Chak De India, etc. should be released in order to empower females in society, we need to, first of all, empower the mentality of the male folk in the society.

Records have shown that countries with greater equality among males and females have economies that are fast-growing and more competitive. We need to learn from other nations’ experiences like that of Scandinavian countries particularly Norway and Iceland as these countries have impressive growth rates because it provides equal wages for equal work and due to higher participation of women in the public-private sector industries. Japan and Singapore are small nations but have high GDP because the crime rates against women in these countries are negligible and males and females are provided with equal opportunities in every field.

Source: Pixabay

Our government has also tried to ensure equality among all through reservations, UAF, and the recent decision of the supreme court to let girls appear for exams for recruitment of army officers is really a noble task in this dimension. More of govt schemes like the Ladli scheme, Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao, etc. should be introduced and rigorously practiced in our country. So, in my opinion, it is clearly visible that a nation can prosper only when women are provided education, protection, and a healthy environment to live in. When gender equality would prevail in society, women would be able to work in a better manner, earn and contribute to the national income, moreover, she would be able to educate her children who can later become an asset for the society and lastly, she would be aware of her rights and would be able to confidently raise her voice against the injustices done. Hence, striving for gender equality has long-term positive impacts not only on the economy but also on the life of all individuals as a whole.

“Let girls become equal to all
in every country big or small,
Let the girls show their might
and spread their light
because Mahatma Gandhi once said,
be the change you want to see in the world“

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