WOMEN EMPOWERMENT (MALE PERSPECTIVE)
The word “empower” is an internal phenomenon that refers to endow one with a specific power. In the social context, the process of empowerment involves that power is endowed from the powerful entities to the powerless in the society and allows the marginalized and week to have access to the tools and the materials which are needed to forget their destinies. Gender is a primary way to signify power relations between men and women. Women empowerment is the process of enabling women to do what they want and enhance their self-esteem and confidence. In 1995, the National Report for the Fourth UN World Conference for Women admitted that;
“Women continue to suffer in the face of oppressive patriarchal structures, rigid orthodox norms, and stifling socio-cultural customs and traditions in Pakistan.”
Women empowerment is about lifting humanity, maintaining unique roles in life, honoring one another, access to opportunities, and ensure the respect of rights. The collaboration and interdependence of both genders is the basic need of society. The relational dynamics and interactions between elements are much important for the beauty of life. Nowadays women are influencing both internal external chores in a well-managed way. Their main responsibilities are household duties and childcare. Most of the women are not allowed by men to work outside the home and are, therefore, they are not economically independent. Men stood for economic responsibility and are head of household, mostly as a postcolonial effect. The empowerment of women is not about disempowering men but they both can remain in power simultaneously.
The increasing politicization of women’s role in social patriarchal cultures is increasing their influence in the economy of the country. Women are progressively acting and making demands in public and private sectors and increasing their influence on the local, community, and national levels. This developmental process of women empowerment is affecting both men and women in different ways and challenging the traditional structure and men as dominant partners in the household activities. It is referred to as women’s empowerment. An independent empowered woman can earn an income for living, has the right to ownership as she is educated and employed. It shows self-actualization, social influence, and movement. Empowering women by giving them their rights of ownership leads to the development of the country and contributes to the well-being of the household. Men and women plan their economies differently. When a woman earns an income, it is spent in modernizing the household, agricultural equipment, and children’s education.
While manliness is based on the dignity of father and husband. Men’s dominance is related traditional position of men in social and economic perspectives. Man is usually head of household. He is the decision-maker and controller of all wealth such as money, labor, and land, etc. today. Still, women are expected to obey their husbands, their work is ignored and as a wife, they are commonly beaten in the household by their husbands. Men don’t allow them to choose anything of their choice in their life. In the point of view of men, women are considered disloyal to their families. They consider women to handle household independently and uphold tradition and women independence. This needs a continued paid attention to the suffering and deprivation of women.
During past decades, women have changed tremendously and now stand for social transformations and have altered the lives of both men and women. Educated women are more skilled in a specific field than men. It makes women more powerful in family decisions. Women empowerment has reduced the deprivation of women and changed the role of men unconsciously. According to Sen,
“[Women are] no longer the passive recipients of welfare-enhancing help, women are increasingly seen, by men as well as women, as active agents of change” (Sen, 1999)
The influential role of women has been increased after they shared household responsibilities with men. This has challenged men’s traditional role as the head of the household and challenged the stereotypical role of women. There are also some additional issues which are disempowering men as western women are raising feminism continuously and woman of the east has started following woman of west. Feminism movements are gaining ground in Middle Eastern countries and also in some Islamic countries such as Pakistan. Religious interpretations have led women to be deprived of various basic rights such as education, wearing certain clothes, holding a personal bank account, and voting.
In Saudi Arabia, women are still not allowed to express their political opinion. Customs and traditions play a significant role in empowering women and determining their position in different spheres of life. The practice of Islamic law is needed to control flagrant violations and for the welfare of women. Some cultural and legal protections are either absent or unenforceable which in return is causing deprivation of women in different aspects of life.
For empowering women, different components are required such as better health care for herself and her children, equal ownership of resources, improved lifestyle, awareness of their basic rights, higher literacy rate and education, achievement of self-reliance, self-confidence, self-respect, and increased partnership in the economic and commercial sector. Moreover, employment, education, personality development, economic independence, legal and institutional support, contact with the outside world, promotion of women activists, and wings are important factors for empowering women.
Empowerment of women would establish equality between men and women. Women are less attractive towards political empowerment. As described by Jeanne Kirkpatrick (former UN ambassador for the United States);
“I tend to think that the patterns of interaction in high politics are particularly unattractive to women – as unattractive to women as they are inhospitable to them”
Women empowerment will surely increase the etiquettes of the society and the economy of the country will be well developed.