Although the world has come a long way in securing women’s rights since the Suffragette movement in the early twentieth century, the situation is far from ideal. Many countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have broken old laws in favor of women empowerment. Countries like India have started campaigns like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao which strives to improve the efficiency of the welfare services set up for the empowerment of women.
However, for all the good that has been done, the world still has not completely achieved Women empowerment. In a patriarchal society such as ours, women seem to always be given the shorter end of the straw. Violence against women is still very prevalent as over reportedly around 736 million women have been subject to violence. This number grows by each passing second as women are still subject to indiscriminate violence. The literacy rate for women still lag behind at a measly 70% compared to 84% for men. This is because several cultures around the world don’t deem it essential to educate women. They believe a woman’s role is to be a homemaker first, and education is secondary. Women have a right to vote in all countries of the world, yet some make it more difficult for them than others.
This disparity isn’t helped by the fact that women are in less positions of power compared to men. As of last year, only 29% of senior management positions are occupied by women. Only 7.8% of all CEOs are women and in India this number drops to 2%. It is a documented fact that men dominate the senior levels of management. It has been proven that a lack of women in such roles causes increased workplace harassment and unrest.
Equal participation and representation of women is essential to the functioning of any democratic system. However, there is under representation of women at all levels of decision and law-making worldwide, which has been corroborated by data. Women serve as Heads of State in only 22 countries of the world while a further 119 countries have never even had a female leader. At this rate, gender equality at the very top of the political process will not be reached for another 130 years. Only 21% of ministers in governments worldwide were women and only 14 countries have cabinets with 50% or more women. Though it has more than doubled since 1995, only 25% of national parliamentarians are women. For a country to develop, women and men need to be represented equally in the law-making process. Globally, there are still 27 States where women account for less than 10% of the parliamentarians in single or lower houses, including four lower chambers with no women at all.
Participation of women in political decision-making processes leads to their improvement so much so that their performances succeeded their male counterparts. For instance, according to a report conducted by UNHRC on panchayats (local councils) in India, it was discovered that the number of drinking water projects in areas with women led councils was higher than those with men led councils by a staggering 62 percent. Women of power, in administration and governments have always defended the evil of inequality and discrimination even under the most hostile circumstances.