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Empowering women by empowering men.

Posted by Abbas Shaikh
September 1, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women” – Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru
An era that helps us realise the opportunities and potential each individual represents to the best of his/her abilities. Women empowerment has become an important topic of discussion as far as development and economics are concerned.
  • When more women work, economies grow.
  • Evidence from a range of countries shows that increasing women and girls education contributes to higher economic growth.
  • Companies greatly benefit from increasing leadership opportunities for women, which is shown to increase organizational effectiveness.
Immense opportunities, a better future, economic development, a never ending list of good and yet we seek faults in the system.
According to the United Nations women’s empowerment mainly has five components:
  • Generating women’s sense of self worth.
  • Women’s right to have and to determine their choices.
  • Women’s right to have access to equal opportunities and all kinds of resources.
  • Women’s right to have power to regulate and control their own lives, within and outside their home.
  • Women’s ability to contribute in creating a more just social and economic order.
Why have we not been able to take a firm stand?
Have we been doing it wrong this entire time?
My take on the ideology comes from deep down within our Indian roots. Misogyny is something that is very prevalent in India. Men and women in our country hold extreme prejudice against women.
Though men are always said to have had an advantage over their female counterparts. They are also subject to an extreme amount of pressure which now in my perspective defies the very idea that all men are born and brought up with a substantial amount of rights and privileges in the society. It is only the actions of some that have tainted humanity.
Well, It is all true. The idea that men should be built a certain way, the concept of women having to restrict themselves from being competitive is all ingrained somewhere inside every being.
Why are men always asked to ‘man up’ when they breakdown? Why can’t men cry?
Empowering men to be able to empower women is my stand for today. This is where it all begins. We need to understand the beauty each one of us brings to this community. The values that reside within us need to adapt and be open to change. Try saying women empowerment out loud! Seems alright? Now try saying men empowerment? Something wrong? Did it not sound right?
Our culture has such an influence on the kind of people we become or the personalities we develop eventually, that it almost explains just about anybody’s attitude towards core issues of the kind. If only our generation sort to eliminate these ideas that were forced down upon us by our ancestors which require men/women to follow a pre-structured pattern of behaviour and their expected role in the society.
Gender equality would never need a brand ambassador. UNICEF would not have to seek ways of promoting it. Respect would originate from our spirits and not from an inspirational speech we just heard on television or any form of social media for that matter.
Men are always thought to be beings that do not require emotional support, someone who can get themselves back together despite of having faced every possible disaster. Men need to be educated about the fact that it is absolutely fine to seek help. At the end of the day we are all human. In order to be able to achieve equality for women, men need to act and be a part of this drive towards bringing equality and providing solutions.
One such group that strongly believes in this concept and has been active in voicing out this as their mission is MenEngage. MenEngage believes that, and I quote “Equality is only achievable if we work together”.
 It is necessary to understand that only with mutual respect and understanding can a proper partnership be built. It is based on these values and beliefs that equality shall co-exist with words like ‘development’ or ‘competition’. I strongly believe that the human mind in a way is very insecure about its existence. Therefore comes into picture the constant need for us to compete in order to progress.
Women and men are equal, yet different.
We are natural partners, not natural enemies.
We empower ourselves by empowering each other.
“Girls are one of the most powerful forces for change in the world: When their rights are recognized, their needs are met, and their voices are heard, they drive positive change in their families, their communities, and the world.” – Kathy Calvin, United Nations Foundation President & CEO.

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