“There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.” 

- Swami Vivekananda

When our countrymen were struggling and fighting to attain the freedom, the women folk also fought shoulder to shoulder and whole heartedly supported the struggling freedom fighters. During India’s struggle for freedom, the position of women took a favourable turn. After India became independent, it was realised by most of the national leaders including Nehru, Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, that emancipation of women was necessary and also realised that so long as the condition of women was not improved, and they were not granted equal status with men India could not progress. The role of women in the freedom struggle cannot be undermined. Sarojini Naidu, Mira Ben, Sucheta Kripalani, Vijay laxmi Pandit, Aruna asaf Ali, all played very crucial and enthusiastic roles in the struggle for attaining freedom.

“Woman is the builder and moulder of a nation’s destiny, though delicate and soft as lily, she has a heart, stronger and boulder than that of a man, she is the supreme inspiration for man’s onward march.” 

- Rabindranath Tagore

Women constitute approximately 50% population of a nation. If they are given the task for the development of their country they can do wonders. They are more dedicated, more hard working, more sincere and generally more devoted to the cause. Many social evils such as dowry, illiteracy among women, killing of girl child in the womb, ignoring the hygienic values, polio, etc. can well be tackled by the active involvement of women.

Many women have proved themselves dynamic, vibrant, sincere, and perfect in many fields. Smt Indira Gandhi, Vijayalaxmi Pandit, Sarojini Naidu, Aruna asaf Ali and Mahadevi Verma proved themselves in all manners better than their male counterparts. These names made both the society and the women folk proud of them. The myth that certain fields were only meant for men has proved wrong by women. Modern women in the present age occupy top ranks and have attained immense success in all the fields such as politics, police, administration, medicine, services, etc. Mother Teresa, PT Usha, Mrs Mohsina Kidwai, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, Medha Patekar, Kalpana Chawla, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Mrs Pratibha Devi Singh Patil have become well recognised names in their respective fields.

Today, the educated women have come out of their inferiority complex and are shouldering all kinds of responsibilities, as CEOs, managers, officers, TV and radio newsreaders, pilots, ministers, anchors, musicians, doctors, professors and so on. There are veteran MPs and Ministers in the centre and the state, Ms Mayawati, Ms Jayalalitha, Ms Sushma Swaraj, Ms Mamta Banarjee, Mrs Rabri Devi have proved to be astute politicians.

The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts passed in 1992, lay upon the women of our country more responsibilities in accelerating the development of the country. These amendments provide 33% reservation for women in the Panchayati Raj. Women elected to Panchayats and Municipal Councils, because of the reservation, have started asserting themselves. Now, women in local governments are taking up the basic issues such as water, health facilities, family planning, polio eradication, etc. more seriously and more sincerely. Now they can play a better role in the development of their areas whether villages or cities, which in turn will result into the overall development of the states and the country as a whole.

It is believed that women are more dedicated and devoted to their duties and have more patience and politeness than men by nature. There is no doubt that women have played a very important role in nation building, but the man is still not in favour of giving them the due. One example is that of the Women’s Reservation Bill for 30% reservation in State assemblies and Parliament lent the same has not been made a law so far. The bill was introduced several times since 1996, but has not taken shape for an Act so far.

The empowerment of women by itself cannot place women on equal footing with men. The need of hour is to change of social attitudes towards women. Many social evils, like dowry, illiteracy among women, infanticide of female child, elimination of girls fetus, are required to be fully rooted out. The crime against women like, eve teasing, rape, are to be dealt with a strong hand. Though several measures, but half hearted are being taken by government in this direction, yet a change of social attitude and honesty, on the part of politicians, is must to make women participate in nation building at grass roots level.

Delhi Police has started its transformation into a gender sensitive force by placing an order that rape cases will now be investigated by women officers and only women cops will be allowed to interact with victims, a pioneering move, which should be followed by all.

‘Rightly’ said by Dr Rajendra Prasad, “Our women have a very great part to play in the progress of our country as the mental and physical contact of women with life is much more lasting and comprehensive than that of men.”
What can’t be done by a woman? If men can help in nation building, women can do much better ! Women, undoubtedly, can play a very important role in our country’s development if men give them a chance.

Infact, it was rightly said that “the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”