Women Empowerment through Skills Development

Women Empowerment through Skills Development

Written By: / Articles / Wednesday, 21 September 2022 17:52

“You can tell the condition of a Nation by looking at the status of its women” – Pandit Nehru
According to Brigham (1801-1877), if you educate a man, you educate that man only but if you educate women then you educate a generation. The Indian Constitution provides same platform for both male and female. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution views that state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection by the laws within the territory of India.Women form a significant proportion of work force in India.The census 2011, counts women population @ 48.5% of the total population in India. In the changing dynamics of the society women empowerment is much relevant and very important. Equal opportunities and facilities are available to all. But in reality all women do not get equal status. Women empowerment is largely depend on three factors i.e., their economic, social and political identity. Women can be truly empowered only when all these three factors are made positive and compatible to each other. Again all these three factors are correlated with skill development. Various awareness programmes among the women for development are taken by India government and other social workers in this field for which present picture has become better. According to the Annual Report for the year ended 2017 which was issued by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation, total number of establishment owned and managed by women entrepreneurs were 8.05 million and 34.3% out of such establishment belong to agricultural activities. Women entrepreneurship can be upgraded by increasing their skill and promoting their entrepreneurial qualities.
Women participation and empowerment are fundamental women’s rights to enabling women to have control over their lives and put forth influence in society. Women often face discrimination and gender inequalities, with some women experiencing multiple discrimination and exclusion because of factors such as background and caste. Skill is the bridge between job and workforce. Women often have different training needs than men. Since they are more likely to work as contributing family workers, subsistence farmers, home-based micro entrepreneurs or low-paid seasonal laborers, in addition to handling their domestic work and care responsibilities. Skill development is a key to improving household productivity, employability and income-earning opportunities for women and also for enhancing sustainable rural development and livelihoods.
The key strategy for women’s empowerment and gender equality is to combine policy and institutions at the local level.Empowerment of women is necessary for socio-economic development of any country. Women helps in better development of children and hence an increase in their literacy rate among them is the need of the hour. Women if given the opportunities and the right exposure can excel themselves in any field. Since girls and women represent 50% of the world population, enabling them to participate in their local economics help broaden the employment pool. The aim of skill development, particularly in case of women, is not only to prepare them for jobs, but also to improve the performance of women workers by enhancing the quality of work in which they are engaged. There are few major challenges, which need to be addressed for building a conducive ecosystem, of skill development for the women workforce. It has become very important to ensure women empowerment through skill development in the development programmes and thereby strive to have a conducing atmosphere for their effective participation.
India’s demographic curve arches towards the young. In developed countries, the working population is decreasing due to ageing factors. However, India’s median age is merely 28 years. Viewed from an economic lens, a younger workforce translates to an advantage, energizing fast-paced development and growth. But even as a section of India’s youth propels the country towards becoming a global power, many are left behind in the process. The participation of women in the country’s workforce has been woefully inadequate, and this need to change for India to reap its demographic dividend.Capactating our women is also the key to generational social transformation. While 37.1 % of youth are in the labour force, there is a large difference between the participation rate of men (57.1%) and that of women (12.7%). India’s jagged labour structure and gender disparity means that 3 out of every 4 women do not take part in any recognized economic activity. In such a scenario, when more than half of our youth do not participate in the formal labour force, it is difficult to realize India’s demographic advantage. One solution to narrow the gender gap in India’s labour force is to focus on the country’s 253 million youth, of which 48.5 per cent are young women. Why is this mandate? Because, women in the workforce not only means a more powerful economy, but also lasting social change and welfare. Gender equity and the consequent “opportunity to work” trickles down to eradicating injustice, disparities and deep-seated disadvantages of women in Indian homes. Here lies the root to a better future for all.
Empowerment of women is a critical part of a nation’s development and it is a balanced equation of her education, health, employability and decision-making power. Availability of agency and removal of constraints faced by women is imperative for sustainable and equitable development of both the community as well as the nation. India needs to adopt a gendered lens in education and skilling programs to overcome the challenges of an under represented section of youth in the workforce, as well as support women in securing and retaining jobs. An increasing number of women hold degrees, but still have no jobs. Women unemployment rates increased to 65 per cent in 2018 from 46 per cent in 2005.This suggests that there are other issues to be addressed  — literacy does not translate into relevant skills for employment and there exist social, historical and cultural hindrances. Empowerment of women, which can, to an extent be addressed by integrating life skills coaching into skilling programs, and interfacing with their families and communities to change backward mindsets - are critical aspects of helping women reach their potential. One of the most common obstacles for women to enter employment is the stereotypical gender biases, which put women at a disadvantage compared to men. Covid further exacerbated this situation, having a disproportionate impact on working women. The convergence of gender, poverty and marginalisation has played out during the pandemic, to render women, and specific categories amongst them, especially weakened. 
Innovative thinking and social restructuring needs to be undertaken to make a shift by bringing young females to formal education and training programmes and, thereby, workforce. Raising women participation in the labour force can boost India’s GDP by 27 per cent (WEF). The use of technology, promotion of incubation space, funding opportunities and setting up of up skilling centers would nudge women to participate in the ongoing fourth industrial revolution. However, as data exposes, only 35 per cent of Indian women are active internet users. It should be taken into consideration that skilling programs today need to enable access and include digital training, aiming to become equalisers bridging the digital divide. In addition to vocational training, foundational and 21st-century skills are crucial to empower women in building a strong base for employment. Programmes such as those by NSDC, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), Sewa Bharat, ”Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign and The/Nudge Centre for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (CSDE) take such a holistic approach to skilling and employment.Empowerment of women requires strong efforts on multiple fronts for true financial and social inclusion.
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About the Author

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He writes about Science and Technology and Environmental issues. Jugeshwor can be reached at: [email protected] Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

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