Kofi Annan once said empowering a woman means empowering a community. Gender Equality is one of the sustainable development goals that various countries aim to achieve with their collective strength. Empowerment for women is a crucial aspect of gender equality where the proper emphasis is on identifying and maintaining power imbalances and giving women more autonomy to manage their own lives.
Empowerment enables rightful access to opportunities for women that allow them to comprehend their optimum potential. Empowering women is also a crucial tool for advancement towards development and reducing the poverty level. These empowered women can participate as numerous professionals in different fields of society and contribute to improved productivity among communities and families.
Since the advent of the Vedic age to the present advanced age, the concept of women empowerment has gone through numerous stages. Modern feminist scholars wish to indoctrinate awareness about it to each individual without discriminating between the well-off or others who live in distant and underprivileged regions. Women Empowerment has become an infamous conversation throughout pan-India. The union government invested its time and efforts into various schemes to improve the status of women in India. They tend to provide skill training for employment and entrepreneurship, promote education, government-backed saving bank accounts, convenient accommodation, knowledge and information through measures like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Working Women Hostel, Mahila E Haat, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana and Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP).
Various Schemes like the One Stop Centre Scheme, UJJAWALA, Mahila Shakti Kendras, and Mahila police volunteers to protect women from different forms of harm such as violence, commercial sexual exploitation, female feticide and their safety.
Literacy is an ingredient in empowering women to decision-making positions in the private and public sphere and proving their worth in society. Educated women can eloquently influence their household negotiation. In addition, she can provide the requisite amount of attention to the schooling process of her child. They can get better access to resources and entitlement to legal rights and authority for their development.
Raay Foundation advocates gender equality through their initiatives in which women-centric causes are very prominent in importance. Around 150 women in Bengaluru through a livelihood program by creating an environment where those women can make decisions for the well-being of society and themselves.
Through the implementation of empowerment programs, they can reach out to women most in need, often by engaging with grass-roots and non-governmental organizations. This program focused on providing necessary assistance to various marginal groups such as rural women, domestic workers, some migrants and low-skilled women. There is still a long way to go in achieving gender equality by making stringent gender equality programs as need of the hour.
In 2016, Raay Foundation collaborated with Asha Sadan NGO and Kurio Designs to provide pre-vocational training to adolescent girls in designing and manufacturing utility of accessories made from felt (fabric) as well as in sales, inventory management, accounting, customer management, setting up stalls at exhibitions as well as managing the stalls and accounts. The program encouraged the girls to become entrepreneurs and set up their businesses or a group business by forming a cooperative.
-Contribution for RAAY Foundation by Prakriti Didwani