Women empowerment is one of the hottest topics of today. The following is a speech on the need and importance of women empowerment in the present scenario.

From my younger days I have always been fascinated by myths, and the magic world of gods and goddesses they opened before me. Today I know that they are more than fairy tales. Instead, they are magnificent lies that tell the truth. And whenever I think of gender difference and women empowerment, my mind hastens back to Greek mythology.

According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.

Well, I don’t think anyone would like to be a human with four legs any more.  But the story reveals the one ultimate truth regarding man-woman relationship. Man and woman are complementary to each other. When they unite and go hand in hand, they become gods themselves. But history shows how one half has mistaken becoming one with conquering.

So the fairer half today is denied facilities of education, compelled to marry before leaving childhood, forced to maternity even before leaving school, kept under subjection during marriage and forced to live a life of misery during widowhood. The fairer sex is kept vigorously secluded behind the purdah in many parts of the world. And many of them get killed even before they come out of their mother’s womb.

Women are treated like lesser human beings. They are marginalized, sidelined, humiliated, and kept away from all sources of power and freedom.

Most women do not have access to higher education. Even the parents believe that they are destined to end up in the kitchen.

Most women cannot claim equal rights to their ancestral property. Most women do not have any role in decision making. Not in their state. Not in their village. Not in their family.

Most women are not paid well though they are made to toil for hours like slaves. They are not given any top jobs.

When women are not paid well, fifty percent of the population is not paid well. When women are disrespected, humiliated or exploited, a major chunk of the world population is disrespected, humiliated or exploited. And the entire human race will lag behind, unable to realise its true potential.

That’s why we speak about empowering women – for a better tomorrow, for a better humanity.

Education is the key to women empowerment. If a girl is educated, she will have confidence. She will have employable skills. Employment will lead her to financial independence. Entrepreneurship will make her stronger and daring to take up new challenges.

As Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner says, “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” And nowhere is it truer as in the case of women.

They – I mean, the educated women – will become leaders with the right mindset, making the right decisions at the right time. When women are put at the helm of affairs, conflict has an unnatural way of decreasing. As mothers, they care. They care about the future generations. They care about this earth. If a male leader takes you where you want to be, a female leader takes you where you ought to be.

That’s why in the Manusmriti, which in ancient India, was considered a divine code of conduct, it is said, “Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata, yatraitaastu na pujyante sarvaastatrafalaah kriyaah”

Where women are respected, there the gods make their home; where they are not respected, all human action remain unproductive.

If empowered, the hand that rocks the cradle can surely rule the world; complementing, contributing, creating a better tomorrow for everyone.

United Nations on Empowering Women How do women make homes? Agonies of a mother

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