Women and Society – Part II
It is appropriate to mention here about Mahatma’s views on women as observed by Madhu Kishwar in his ‘Gandhi and Women’:
“Gandhi’s attitudes to women and his understanding of their status in society are worthwhile. Any approach to understanding Gandhi on women must include:
a) an evaluation of Gandhi’s general understanding of the nature of women’s
oppression in India and his views on the role of women in society;
b) an evaluation of Gandhi’s role in bringing a large number of women into the mainstream of the national movement and of politics and
c) the place that women found in his life
Such is the fame women’s.
Most importantly, they have their own culture, their serious attitude towards discipline and education. Government can think over certain areas for effective implementation:
- Counseling cell in educational institutions for women
- Increase age limits for jobs
- Encourage women working in rural and tribal areas
- Action plan for the betterment and enlistment of women especially widows and women in distress
- Starting voluntary organizations to implement mass programme like literacy education, medical facilities, enlistment of rural women etc
- Despite all facilities and schemes being offered by various government agencies and voluntary organizations, the position has not improved as desired. This is mainly due to ineffective monitoring system, improper implementation, malpractice at various levels, and unawareness of programmes and schemes of governments, traditional ignorance etc. to quote a few. Proper public interest is not created on issues concerned with Health and Family Welfare by the authorities. If the present policies and strategies which are already in force are implemented with meticulous care and effective monitoring system, it would yield good result and bear fruit which is what expected all the while apart from evolving new strategies.
Following are the few ways and means suggested to improve the role of women in the health and welfare of society.
- Women should be educated at all levels about the need for their role in health and family welfare programmes.
- Every village should be brought under intensive role awareness programme.
- Women volunteers should visit every door and educate the women individually about the family planning.
- Government should offer immediate employment for those who have gone family planning operation after 2 children irrespective of age and without any reservations at the choice of centre.
- Concession may be offered in ration items for those undergone family planning programme.
- Compulsory free education up to higher secondary level be offered to the children –for those who had undergone family planning operations.
- Liberal promotion policy be applied and effectively implemented for working women.
- Women should be given half-pay salary for two years to look after the health and upbringing of children after the delivery of first two children as is practiced in few foreign countries.
- Central government should create a Monitoring Board for Health and Family Welfare Activities at apex level to have an effective follow up and vigil over the implementation of concerned activities.
- State governments should also form such boards at district levels, taluk levels and village levels. It would facilitate all concerned to play a vital role in all respects.
- Illiteracy and ignorance of women should be eradicated among women folk at any cost.
- Individual woman be educated in such a way that she herself voluntarily comes forward to participate in welfare of family and health.
- All marriages should be registered in village level Family Welfare Board as suggested above.
- Women who conceived should also be registered by such boards.
- From the date of their conceivement, they should be given all medical care and advice on health care till the delivery of child so as to bear a good fruit to the world.
- After delivery, care has to be taken to bring up children in an ideal situation. Family Welfare Board should monitor the after delivery health programme.
- After two children, Family Welfare Board should see that no women go in for more children. This can be done by effective oral education. The economic implications should be drawn to the attention of those women in having more children. This is possible by persistent conduct of awareness programme.
- The Family Welfare Board should also check and keep effective watch in the marriage of women so that no woman enters into marriage before the age of 21.
- Women should feel pleasure being in a vital position in the health care of family.
- Women should be made resourceful in knowledge, pleasing in their manner, soft in their talks and dutiful and diligent in whatever they undertake to do.
- Government should see that there is no corruption in implementing the welfare activities.
- Government should evaluate the programmes at periodical intervals so as to get feedback about the policies thus far implemented and to create any new one to plug the loopholes in the existing strategies if found any so.
- After thorough analysis of the local situation, village level organization should submit their innovative ideas to government for effective implementation to take care of family welfare and health activities.
- Apex level Family Welfare Board should assess all local situations and problems and evolve strategies accordingly. One plan suitable for one region may not suit other
- region. Therefore, plans should be prepared after taking into account the regional and cultural sense of concerned people.
- Women should not feel themselves suffocated in the atmosphere of sycophancy around them.
- Women should grasp daily what is going on around them as also the country.
- At every village, a library exclusively for women should be opened.
- All women should be made to visit daily the library and go through dailies, magazines and other periodicals concerning women welfare in particular.
- As far as possible, all women should be covered under the Adult Education Scheme. If that scheme is not coming through successfully, an alternative arrangement should be made to educate the womenfolk.
- For illiterate women, some books containing photographs should be made available in the village library so that they can be educated to some extent through this media about their role.
- Indian women lack in necessary depth of understanding and breadth of vision in establishing a viable basic for any welfare activities. Such situation must be eradicated.
- Women should be made to mentally acclimatize themselves to the new atmosphere and change the pattern of socio and economic life of simple living and high thinking.
- Health and Family welfare programmes can progress if its beneficiaries are composed of women of outstanding talent and virtue in true spirit.
- Right women should evolve strategies and proper programmes for the welfare of downtrodden women.
- Women have to develop a well integrated personality of their own displaying as an unfailing ability to take bold decisions in implementation of family welfare activities.
- Literary education is of no value, if it is not able to build up a sound character – Mahatma Gandhi asserted unmistakably long back which is relevant to date. Therefore, mere education of women is not sufficed but to see how they react to it is an important point.
- The worst thing prevalent is the divisive tendencies i.e. caste, region, religion, rich, poor etc among women. This completely rubs of their identity as gender. This confused cloud should be crushed to pieces.
- Women should be cautious, alert, vigilant and realistic enough to think over the problems around them, common issues pertaining to them.
- Present day petty position of women will never be overthrown unless they are voluntarily willing to look for betterment to their own welfare without any negligence or ignorance.
- It is worthwhile to put Daniel /Webster’s words here ‘Nothing will ruin the women, if they themselves will undertake their safety and nothing can save them if they leave that safety in any hands but their own’.
- Women should remove the illusion in their minds ‘Take it for granted anything happens around us’.
- Women have to think about their responsibilities otherwise welfare activities in reality would still be a distant possibility to women.
Above are the only observations. There are so many things which are in vogue cannot be put in words.
In conclusion, one point should be made that whatever the strategies or policies being implemented by the government, there should be some follow up mechanism right from top to bottom. There should be review of the policies in place at periodical levels. Flexible analysis of women’s problem should be made. Unless these things are not done, even if government implements new strategies, policies for the sake of health and family welfare for women, they will not bear or yield any fruit. Another important point is that women at gross root level should be educated in all programmes and policies of government concerning women. This is very important because unless the illiterate or ignorant women come to know what are there for them, they will not try to utilize the same for their welfare. Therefore, government while educating the women at all levels, should monitor the activities closely and effectively to bring about the expected result.