Diksha Singh Rathore talks about the need for gender sensitization in India for the empowerment of women in the country.
Women are enjoined to be of service to their husbands”
The difference between male and female is a natural difference which is created biologically but the distinction drawn between man and woman is a societal difference and accepted by our societies. In this societal difference a tag is associated with the identity of man and woman. It is considered that man is our saviour; he will protect the state, his family and will work for them and woman will raise children, cook food, and work in home and many more. This differentiation was not always prevalent in our Indian society but with invasions and rule of different countries on India, the condition of women has rapidly diminished whereas in other western countries their condition is prospering with the passage of time.
“Gender sensitization refers to the modification of behaviour by raising awareness of gender equality concerns.” This is necessary as we the people of India have accepted freedom but we are giving equality of freedom to every strata of society. Indian society is stratified in various sections and gender stratification is such devastating in effect that it is hampering the development of women and nation on a whole. We can achieve it by education, workshops, campaigns etc.
The most important question arises in our mind as to why we need “Gender Sensitization?” The answer to this question is women in our society have suffered many setbacks and they are considered incapable of working, getting education, and sometimes even to the extent that they are not considered to live. This condition was not always the same as it is today, for understanding the need of sensitization we have to look through the condition of women in India and it is divided into 4 stages-
First stage is the Ancient India, here women enjoyed equal rights as given to men, and they participated in political affairs. Even in educational institutions they were given equal opportunity to study. They also had right to choose their own husband but there was a decline in their status from around 5th B.C. the practices of child marriage became prevalent during this period and this marked the beginning of 2nd stage, that is, Medieval India. The sufferings of Women in India started from this period, all their rights were snatched and various systems like Purdah system, Sati Pratha, restriction on widow remarriage, child marriage, prostitution, sex slaves and polygamy became prevalent. They had no political rights and were just treated as slaves of the men, but with the arrival of 3rd stage i.e. British India, women were given some rights, Britishers brought with them education which helped the underprivileged strata of the society to a little extent. Keeping aside the Drain of wealth by British they have given to our society many things, with their help Sati Pratha, Child marriage were given to a way to be stopped and widow remarriage concept was started.
Now came the 4th stage and it is Present India and in our India women participate in every field such as education, politics, art and culture , media, sports, service sectors, science and technology, etc. but with the increase in development of India there is a remarkable decrease in the condition of women. Even though large participation of women in above mentioned categories, yet the number of dowry deaths, honour killings, rapes, acid attacks, eve teasing, female infanticide, female foeticide, sexual harassment and trafficking in women is increasing at a rapid pace.
By going through data and earlier mentioned information it can be said that the condition of women is improving but it is also decreasing rapidly. Women those who are privileged are getting better resources but the large number of women is the sufferers.
So, we need to sensitize our society as it is necessary for our coming generations to realize that everyone is equal. It may be possible that there may be some differences between us but each difference should be made functional and should be made towards the betterment of society. We all know that women are the 50% of our population and development of our country is not possible unless those 50% are equally treated, there will be increase in crime against women if they are considered to be weaker sex. For social, economic, political betterment of a country women need to be developed and it can be done by sensitizing our society by various ways.
“To overcome the various disparities existing in lieu of gender equality the following aspects have to be developed:
- Individuals need to be more open-minded, rational and unbiased in their thoughts and actions.
- There is an urgent need to shatter the load of our Orthodox Beliefs and Biased Values to accentuate the Progressive Existence of both the genders.
- Better reconciliation of work and private life for both women and men is essential to gender equality.
- There is a need to provide steps to safeguard women’s safety and for men to be assured that such measures are not an indication of discrimination against the male population.
- Training and awareness-raising in educational set- up, at workplace and in society can eliminate gender-based prejudice and thereby change stereotyped working cultures as regards to the roles and abilities of women and men, including attitude towards women in leadership positions.
- Better knowledge and understanding of gender issues at all levels of society, including communication activities, role plays, dramas, documentaries, various other audio visual aids will raise awareness among both stakeholders and the general public.
- Both the genders need to take stand at their own level, to support and promote the upliftment and wellness of their own and the opposite gender, so as to overcome any sort of differentiation or harassment.”
But the most basic way to remove the concept of gender bias is by imparting correct knowledge to the students in the schools. As schools are the most basic medium for education, there it can become possible to escape our medieval mindset. Our society is diversified and different families have different opinions regarding the position of women, so, in school where equality prevails there those diversified mentality can be changed to a single gender neutral mindset. Not one or two individuals can bring this change but a whole lot of society needs to open the horizons of their mentality to get rid of our rigid medieval mindset that women are less equals.
The women of India have showed their capabilities in enormous ways and they are ready to fight the world for taking what belongs to them.
 TRYAMBAKAYAJVAN, The perfect wife: stridharmapaddhati (guide to the duties of women) (trans. Julia Lesli), Penguin 1995.
 Jatinder Kumar Sharma, Understanding the Concept of Sensitisation in Humanities and Social Sciences : An Exploration in Philosophy of Mind, 3 IJSR 298, 308–310 (2014).
Jayapalan , Indian society and social institutions 145( Atlantic Books 2001).
 K M Baharul Islam, A Practitioner’s Resource Book, NRCW (Oct. 8, 2016, 6:34 PM), http://nrcw.nic.in
 Danny Shaw, Rapes increase by 29% as overall crime falls, bbc news (Oct. 11, 2016, 11:26 PM), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29642455
 Indian census 2011, (Oct. 9, 2016, 8:40 PM), http://goo.gl /Q2nV6m
 Manjula Thakur, Importance of Gender Sensitization, LinkedIn (Oct. 11, 2016, 10:54 PM), https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-gender-sensitization-manjula-thakur.