CHALLENGES OF CHANGE
The process of change is not easy in any society but it is more complex in a society with multiplicity of cultures and religions, with different traditions. Challenges to creating change are numerous. The social framework and the traditions do not permit us to free ourselves of stereotypes of women. While legal provisions have been made to prohibit discrimination against women, there are deeply entrenched beliefs and social systems which have kept women in subsidiary position. Though employment is open to all irrespective of sex, many areas are still male dominated as women are either reluctant to join these occupational groups or are prevented from doing so. Another important barrier is that girls are not being trained to become assertive and develop self confidence to perform certain leadership functions and are therefore relegated to lower positions in the workplace.
Women are more easily stigmatized than men for actions that may not be reprehensible but which society considers to be unfit for women. Some religious traditions have imposed many restrictions on widows who are often treated as ill fated women and are not allowed to perform certain traditional functions. Another important barrier for women is that they are not given sufficient opportunities for economic empowerment, which is essential for them to safeguard themselves against violence and subjugation within their homes. Women often do not know their rights and do not make the difference between their roles and their rights.
Firstly, the education system should bring about a change in the mind set of the people by avoiding stereotypes and making children aware of the concept of gender equality. It should develop the assertiveness and self confidence of girls and encourage them to express themselves without inhibition. Secondly, there should be adequate support for grown up girls and adults in terms of training and development of their understanding of rights and responsibilities. This should be achieved through structured training and be made accessible to a wide range of women. Such a target can be achieved through the use of Information technology such as pulse wire network.
Women should be given the opportunity to acquire skills in fields that are still male dominated. Training programmes should be available through formal or informal channels to enable working women to acquire those skills. This could be done by using online training modules through the web.
Pulse wire is an interesting instrument which has enabled women to network and by so doing we can learn from best practices from our colleagues. It is an excellent platform for sharing of views and proposals and for online training possibilities. It can also give information on funding opportunities, and on role models that may inspire others. This is also a forum for voicing our feelings and our protests against certain practices that degrade humanity and for making our voices heard.