By Sareha Shah
Special to The Times Kuwait

For centuries women around the world have suffered at the hands of men and been treated unfairly in society. Every country, no matter how much progressive or regressive they are, have in the past usually treated women as secondary to men.

They had no say in the politics, economy, or education of the country. They were confined to doing housework and were considered unfit for any role outside their house. They had no right to vote, no freedom to move freely, and no right to pursue higher education. In some countries, women were also not even considered worthy to participate in religion and religious rites.

Women were killed for giving birth to female children, with female infanticide and feticide deeply upsetting the gender ratio in many countries of the world. Physical violence outside and domestic violence within homes is rampant in almost all countries of the world. Women generally being the weaker gender in terms of physical strength is often taken advantage of.

The systematic oppression of women made their position weak in the society not only physically but also psychologically. The atrocities and subjugation to which women were subjected over the centuries led to women in some parts of the world accepting their inferior status as the norm, and when women in certain parts of the world started raising voices against gender subjugation and equal rights they faced some of the strongest opposition from women.

The steps taken by governments, civil society organizations, and people around the world to improve the social, economic, political conditions of women, and to put them in the position of power and decision-making equal to men is often termed women empowerment.

Things have no doubt improved in the last few decades, with women these days enjoying a lot more freedom and rights than before. They have proved their mettle in all fields be it medicine, politics, aviation, space, education, scientific discoveries, even religion. But a lot more remains to be done even now.

The first and foremost tool for women’s empowerment is education. Women should be educated. Education helps in a better understanding of world affairs. Education helps in awareness of rights among women. Educated women not only help themselves but also help other women to become empowered.

Second tool is awareness. Making women aware of the unjust treatment that they have been subjected to is an important task. Making them aware of their political, educational, economic, legal rights helps in changing their mindset.

Also, women should be economically independent. Their financial independence helps them to survive free from men in society. If a woman is financially independent she can break free from shackles of subjugation and ill-treatment from men in society and can face the world more confidently.

But financial independence for women can be achieved only when there are ample opportunities for them in terms of work. That is why women reservation in education, politics, workplaces and elsewhere remains very important. There should be laws made to ensure reservations are implemented and to protect women from any kind of mistreatment in workplaces, as well as at home or in public places.

Though a lot has been done for the upliftment of women and things are much much better than what they were in the past, there remains still more to be done in order to put men and women on an equal footing. Though women can work in any field now, there is still a significant difference in wages between the two genders. Women are invariably paid less for the same work that a man does. This has to change. Also, although there are many women in politics today, still the percentage of women’s representation in parliaments worldwide is appreciably small. Women’s representation in space, in technology, and in research is even less.

We as a society have to encourage more and more women to undertake jobs in these fields. Though a lot of laws have been made for the security of women in the past few decades, their implementation has often been slow. Cases of rape, harassment , violence against women often goes unreported or falls short of evidence. This too has to change.

While the above empowerment measures are necessary and should be promoted, it is equally important to ensure greater sensitivity on this issue, among both genders, especially from men. Support from family members and the wider society is needed to ensure greater women’s empowerment. This is a very deep and sensitive matter, and it requires cooperation across both genders for its successful implementation.

We all have to remember, women are an inseparable part of our societies. They give birth to us, they feed, clothe and take care of us as children. Women are also the first teachers. of children. If Women remain oppressed and denied dignity and respect, our success and advancement as a human race will remain incomplete.

Read Today's News TODAY... on our Telegram Channel click here to join and receive all the latest updates