I believe woman empowerment means financial independence and self-reliance for women. Education, of course, is the most important aspect. Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate an entire family.”
Yes, in a developing country like ours, education of women is of utmost importance, especially in rural areas. In fact, education helps highlight a woman’s strength and how much she can do to better the life of her children. I believe it would help to improve the quality of life of women in rural areas, paying particular attention to education and healthcare of women and children.
In fact, I feel special attention should be given to extracurricular activities for girls and women in rural belts. An exercise and diet regime would help both mental and physical health. Great emphasis should be given to every mother to empower her financially and mentally, so that she can educate her girl child of her rights and also inculcate the values of good health, nutritious diet and education.
If women are encouraged to go out to work, the family can benefit from the earnings of two members. The quality of life of their children would definitely improve. I believe the development of skills and vocational training are very important for financial independence.
I have been committed to vocational training of the speech, hearing and visually impaired, through my free beauty training courses for them. We have contributed to various government projects and trained 40,000 underprivileged women in the beauty and wellness sector and given them free toolkits to carry out home businesses or to freelance.
Today, I feel proud that women have achieved so much but we still have a long way to go. Woman empowerment is not just about a day in the year. It should be an ongoing process, so that each of us can focus on the areas that need change and do our bit. The woman has to realise her own potential and strength as an equal member of society. In fact, the educated and self-reliant mothers can also bring about change in the mindset of society and teach their sons to honour and respect women.
Empowerment is also about women realising that they should embrace change. Creating awareness is so important, drawing public attention to instances of injustices towards women. Educated women and professionals can work together to focus on issues like literacy, learning of skills and opportunities for entrepreneurship, through kitchen and cottage industries. They can also participate in programmes on social issues and healthcare.
Changes cannot come from outside and by force. It has to come from within society. The change can be complete when society recognises that the woman has a separate identity, her own dreams and ambitions and every right to fulfill them. To women, I also want to say “Believe in yourself and your own abilities. Keep learning. Do you dream of being successful? Don’t stop! It is important to dream. Then have the faith and courage to take the first step towards realising the magic of your dreams.” Indeed, let each woman redefine her place in the world, giving it her own colour and fragrance. It would make this world a better place.