Women Empowerment refers not only to strengthening the social, economic, and educational powers of women, but also the ability to take part in a greater decision-making process. It refers to an environment where there is no gender bias and women have equal rights in every sector. When women contribute equally along with men for the benefit of society in general, the world would indeed become a better place to live in. To "empower women" means to authorize power or increase the overall position, status, and condition of women in every aspect of life.
In other words, women from all over the world have been rebellious to reach the status they have reached today. Therefore, it is extremely salient for us to understand the need for women equality in the society. Before we identify ourselves on gender basis, the greater fact is that we all are humans and hence we all deserve equal human rights.
It is not only the sole responsibility of a woman to single handedly try and raise herself as an empowered woman; the family's responsibility towards the female's development also plays a vital role. A female is known to have two families one, her father's and another, her in-laws. I personally believe that both families have a distinct and individual responsibility for her development. The father's side of the family should aid the girl in discovering her true potential, educate her about her fundamental rights and responsibilities which in term would result in greater self esteem and the ability to maximise her potential & self confidence. Whereas the husband & in-laws should support in building an environment in which the female can show her true potential which would be beneficial for the family and the society. Women must also learn her responsibilities towards the family & society to follow a balanced approach that will result in complete wellness & development.
Women population constitutes around 50% of the world population, among which a large number is unemployed. The world economy suffers a lot because of the unequal opportunity and social barrier for women. Moreover in Bangladesh, freedom and the job scenario is very regressive. The society still wants women to stay back home and take care of the children only rather than having the freedom to develop herself and pursue with their desired career.
Being a working woman, I can unquestionably say that women are equally as competent and intelligent as men in job sectors as well. Hence, it is time society should change its perception, it is not to be given but earned so that it truly is empowerment and nothing can change it. At the individual level, we should start respecting women and help ensuring equal rights, we should start it from our own family.
I also believe that it is time to eliminate the persistence gender pay gap between men and women that continues to affect the national economy. According to a Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) study, women working in Bangladesh are still paid 12.2 percent lesser than men. Change in wage distribution in favour of women is possible if policymakers incentivise women's access to formal jobs in greater numbers. So, after attaining a tremendous achievement in women education, employment and other indicators, now pay equity should be given top priority by the policymakers until the gap is eliminated.
Shaila Abedin is the Executive Vice President and Head of Segments at Prime Bank Ltd.