2. In her speech 'The 3Ls of Empowerment', Christine Lagarde speaks about the importance of Learning, Labour and Leadership in empowering women.  Do Indian women get an equal space in the society?  Prepare a write-up on the social, cultural and economic status of Indian women.

Sample answer:


Though there are conflicting arguments about the status of women in Indian culture, we know that in reality Indian women have faced a lot of discrimination.  But the situation today is not as bleak as it used to be.  There is an increasing awareness in people about women's issues.  Governments have become more sensitive to the difficulties they face.  However, there are still more actions to be taken to make women feel really empowered.

As Christine Lagarde suggests, Learning, Labour and leadership are the three L's that would help women to get empowered.  Examining these three aspects in the Indian context will tell us about the status of Indian women.  To understand the Indian situation better, we must also examine the themes of patriarchy and government initiatives.

The Vedic culture believed that men and men were created equal.  We have as many Goddesses in India as Gods if not more.  But during the course of history, many cultural practices and rituals that subjugate women entered into the system.  Especially in the rural areas patriarchal attitudes are prevalent.

Governments have taken a lot of steps to improve the educational opportunity for women.  Some states including Kerala have achieved great progress in this.  But there are still places in India where girl children do not get equal opportunity for education. 

Women in India still face discrimination at workplace. Unequal wages is a big issue.  This disparity is present not just in the case of poor daily labourers.  For example, in the film industry, female film stars get paid much less than their male counterparts.  This shows that the practice is widespread and it is present across the spectrum. 

The number of women in leadership positions is also not enough.  The efforts to bring women to decision making bodies are still continuing.  The parliament is yet to pass a bill reserving 33 percent seats to women.  In the managing boards of business firms there are some women who have proved their talents.  But they are few and far between.  SEBI had issued an order recently mandating 10 percent of board members of the listed companies to be women.  Such steps, if pursued diligently will surely help to change the scenario.

Empowering women is not just the need of our women, but it is the need of the country.  As Christine Lagarde points out, it impacts the per capita income of the country and thereby help the country to develop faster.  Policy makers and the general public should have this in mind when they take their decisions.

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