Half the Sky: Ideas for Female Empowerment

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Gender inequality and female abuse is a global problem. Violence, inadequate facilities, and sex trafficking are only some of the many issues that women have to go through. And what’s more? The implementation of ideas for female empowerment keeps failing. But why?

One of the reasons can be the prevailing gender bias. The book, Half the Sky, digs deep into this global problem of female abuse. It talks about the causes of gender inequality, why female abuse takes place, and how can empowering our women can solve those.

Pulitzer Prize-winning couple – Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn – wrote this book. Both worked as journalists in Asia and had a close encounter with society and the prevailing conditions.

Listen to the summary at Blinkist or listen to the book at Audible.

Eradicating sex slavery

Gender inequality in India is a huge reason why India has the largest number of sex slaves.
Gender inequality in India is a huge reason why India has the largest number of sex slaves.

Sex slavery isn’t the same as prostitution. While prostitution is voluntary (one enters the business by free will), sex slavery is a forced act. And India has the largest number of sex slaves. Those humans are locked in a room, often unpaid, devoid of food and have to face ruthless beatings. Gender inequality in India can be a significant reason behind the ongoing sex slavery.

Even the officers allow traffickers to get the slaves in and out. Why? They think sex as a way to keep the men happy. Sex slaves are considered as discounted humans. And many die of AIDS at a tender age. But aren’t there people who are working towards having equal rights for men and women?

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There are. The acts, however, lack unity and follow-up. While everyone agrees that forced prostitution is wrong, the views on consented prostitution are divided. Some believe it is okay for adults, while others think prostitution overall breaks the women involved. Without unification in thoughts, the ideas for female empowerment won’t see success.

Drug rehabilitation, job training, and business opportunities for women are only a few female empowerment examples. But, rescuing them is easy. What’s difficult is stopping them from going back. And educating them is probably the best solution.

The problem of sexism

Sexism and misogyny hinders the development of ideas for female empowerment.
Sexism and misogyny hinders the development of ideas for female empowerment.

Another hindrance in propagating the ideas for female empowerment is the deeply embedded sexism and misogyny. What does empowerment mean to you? It doesn’t mean having a greater social presence, higher authority, or more power. The process of empowerment ensures equal opportunities for both halves of society – men and women.

By the way, sexism and being biased are something not entirely to be blamed on the male population. Even women promote this. Acts like feeding their son before the daughter, and taking better care of his needs, promotes misogynism.

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And such misogynistic activities break people’s spirit. A female can never feel valuable when one gets such treatment in her family. And once you break someone’s spirit, they can never be whole again. Misogyny can only be taken care of by proper education. Education also has many other sociological benefits.

As per a study, a new uniform every 18 months is enough to get the girls to be regular in school. More years they spend at school, the lesser the chances of getting married earlier. In case you don’t know, early marriage and thus, early pregnancy is one of the main reasons for the high maternal mortality rate.

Better education, better healthcare facilities, and not regarding women as discounted are the various types of empowerment measures that the world needs right now.

The role of religion

A specific religion may segregate the roles of males and females in a highly visible way.
A specific religion may segregate the roles of males and females in a highly visible way.

Yeah, religion also plays a role in the failure of implementing various ideas for female empowerment. Abortions, for example, don’t go well with some religious leaders. And if a spiritual leader berates abortion, chances of unsafe abortions will grow.

Not only does religion affect people in general, but also the policy makers. Lack of awareness about abortion by the government is one such incident. If only people know about abortions and get proper facilities, unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions will start decreasing.

Read more: How is Inequality in the World Measured?

Moreover, religion also affects gender inequality. Among such gender inequality examples are women being more oppressed and abused in one religion than the others. Men try to dominate them forcefully in every field.

The times, although, are now changing. The leaders have started realizing the potential of this resource and why is empowerment vital for them. But, there’s still a lot to do.

Educating both halves of the sky is the first and the most important step in curbing gender inequality. But it doesn’t only mean opening chains of schools. Quality education is what the need of the hour is. And then there are other things like –

  • Provide them with healthy and nutritious meals.
  • Take care of hygiene by providing pads and tampons.
  • Provide them with adequate finance to start projects and thus, making them independent.

Those ideas for female empowerment, however, will only work if both men and women work together. One cannot have the women feel empowered if the females are taught, and the other parts of the society can’t think about the bright side.

Unless people believe we all are equal, no women empowerment measures are going to work.

Abhijeet Kumar a freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

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