When we talk of women empowerment, we generally tend to hit at the symptoms and ignore the real issues. ‘Empowerment’, as is generally seen, does not mean to give some ‘powers’ to women by some external agencies. We talk a lot about women’s liberation and movements discussing the issues that are in fact not the main issues. We talk about their ‘freedom’ without really understanding what ‘freedom’ means.

If we want our women to be ‘free’ and ‘empowered’, they need not lay the blame with this agency or that for their poor lot. They have to make their own efforts to empower themselves if they really want to feel self-dependent, self-reliant and strong.

If women lay the blame on others, it will only create a feeling of bitterness among them and even women will feel hollowness within themselves. ‘Empowerment’ should come out from within and not from without. No external agency can make them feel empowered if they don’t work on themselves.

If they start working slowly on empowering themselves, it will create a feeling of fulfilment among them. It will raise their self-confidence and self-esteem. Although as an individual one woman alone cannot change the government, the society or the education system, she can still become an instrument for bringing about a change in the society in her small way.

I know many of my sisters who despite all odds against them refused to succumb to the pain and suffering they were subjected to. They instantly were looked upon as a role model and changed the way we look at women. Women have to make their own efforts, if they want permanent relief from the atrocities they are subjected to; something which enables them to enjoy freedom, by cutting their chains.

They will have to stop blaming the government, their parents, the society or siblings for their plight and work on a daily basis to awaken their own powers that are lying within themselves. Being ‘empowered’ is not about begging for their rights or the freedom to go out in short skirts’ or be draped in ‘burqas’. It is about feeling free from the inside.

It is about the freedom to say a firm ‘no’ when they are asked to do something they would not like to do; it is about to live and move out gracefully; it is about the freedom not to allow to be seen or sold as a commodity. If women want to be as strong and as powerful as the deities we worship, they have to stop looking at external agencies for help. They have to help themselves.

If women want to live a dignified life, they will have to devote a few moments of their life to strengthen their inner powers, however busy they might be in their lives. It is about priorities. Once they develop self-confidence, outside help will also come in. They will have to believe that they are not weak individuals but capable of doing whatever they decide to do.

Such a self-empowering process will not divide the society into two belligerent halves, each fighting for his/her supremacy, but will create a society that teaches them to live with co-operation and respect. Self-empowerment is not such a difficult task for women if living a dignified life is a priority for them.

Even a small amount of time devoted constantly in the right direction can bring about great results in the long run. If only a few women are able to nurture themselves and feel strong from inside, slowly they will work as torch-bearers to lead the way for other women also.

Then women will not have to fight for their rights; they will come to them naturally. If our women are strong, the children they nurture will also be strong and we will be able to have a race that is strong not only physically and mentally but spiritually also.

The Brahma Kumaris organization is the greatest proof of women-empowerment. Brahma Baba played a vital role in nurturing and harnessing women-power as a means of world transformation, through self-transformation. Such inspirational and motivational leadership is the need of the hour if we want to have a better world where both men and women play a complementary role aimed at mutual development.

Source: The World Renewal magazine

Brahma Kumaris is the largest spiritual organisation in the world led by women. It was the founder, Prajapita Brahma Baba, who chose to put women in the forefront. Founded in India in 1937, Brahma Kumaris has spread to over 140 countries and has had an extensive impact in many sectors as an international NGO. However, their real commitment is to helping individuals transform their perspective of the world from material to spiritual.

Featured Image: Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian woman in space