Women's empowerment is the watchword of the new era. With more and more women joining the workforce, India is geared to financially and socially empower its women like never before. Women are joining the workforce and are also embarking on entrepreneurial ventures and heading small, medium, and large businesses. Creating an environment, friendly for all genders to access resources needed to be successful and to access resources needed to be successful and make significant contributions to national and economic development, is of prime importance.
Women's Empowerment in the Context of Microfinance Services
Microfinance plays a considerable role in empowering women, particularly from economically backward strata. Access to formal financial services or microfinancing opportunities can be just the impetus women from rural regions need to become self-employed and achieve financial independence. Furthermore, microfinancing can make insurance, healthcare, education, and skills development possible for the country's women.
Organisations employing women must resolve to adopt a three-dimensional model that will change the dynamics of operations for women in the workforce. These include -
Personal empowerment – Empowerment of the women in the workforce or businesses comes in the form of self-esteem building, organisational inclusion, and availability of equal opportunities. In the context of microfinancing, personal empowerment can come from the availability of credit, savings, and investment opportunities. In organisations, this could come in the form of support from business leaders and co-workers. The role played by an organisational leader in empowering women can be significant. Some of the top financial leaders in the country, such as Sanjiv Bajaj, motivate both the men and women equally in their organisations to take ownership of products, processes, and plans. This psychologically empowers the women in the workforce.
Relational empowerment – Relational empowerment looks at the position held by women and their myriad roles. As a daughter, mother, employee, colleague, boss, and more importantly, as a spouse or partner, the amount of power held by a woman can often define her effectiveness in decision making and defining the change. If we speak of women empowerment in a professional sense, this cannot come about without empowering her in a relational sense. A woman supported by her family, partner, friends, etc., displays immense strength and self-confidence in all areas. These are the women who make it to the list of top entrepreneurs in India.
Societal empowerment refers to the larger, more significant role society plays in grooming women to be financially independent and successful. From financial literacy to the availability of microfinancing and credit options, from the role played by organisational leaders in empowering women employees to administrative policies, from the availability of insurance to security, there is a large role played by society in empowering women.
Role of Time and Culture in Women's Empowerment
The evolution of women's empowerment is a result of time and culture. Coming from an age when women were not considered eligible to vote or own property, we have seen a major change in global values and attitudes towards women. Much needs to be done, particularly in developing countries of the world. While time is an important factor, cultural changes can be accelerated with education and government policies. Women entrepreneurs and business leaders come from a space of gender equality and egalitarian values. Also, such egalitarianism needs to reach across different economic classes.
Businesses and organisations must adopt the three-dimensional model of women's empowerment to make the country gender-neutral when it comes to business opportunities and professional development. While some of the top transformational leader in india have already implemented such a model in their workplaces, there is still much that needs to be done at the individual, family, and social levels. Awareness, education, and opportunities are the trifecta that we must now look at for women's empowerment in the true sense.
Women's empowerment in the true sense can only come from a space of equal opportunities and inclusivity. While several many business leaders in the country, such as Sanjiv Bajaj, are true champions of women’s women's empowerment in the workspace, most organisations now need to consider adopting the three-dimensional model of women's empowerment. Empowerment of women must be personal, relational, and societal for it to translate into egalitarianism.