Women Empowerment: A Key to Attain Sustainable Development


  • Dr. Radhika Dev Varma Arora


Women empowerment, rights, security, sustainable development.


be raised. Women were held in high esteem during the Vedic period of Indian civilization. They were encouraged to study scriptures and were initiated into learning as they were regarded as the source of purity and perseverance.  However, with the passage of time, the position and status of women gradually got downgraded because of many reasons; thereby adversely affecting the overall wellbeing and development of the society as a whole and women in particular.  

In the modern time the idea of women empowerment emerged in the 1980s-90s for a radical action to bestow power on to the women so that they can exercise their rights and ensure equality with men.  Although a few women held positions of authority in the recent past or are still in power, yet the position and condition of majority of women remains far from any satisfaction; especially in the developing world. India has launched many schemes for the upliftment of women; however, progress is rather slow as patriarchal mindset is deeply engrained in its culture; more so in Northern India. India thus, have a ‘long way to go’ to see its women exercising their “fundamental rights and enjoying freedom” at par with men; notwithstanding the facts that these rights have already been guaranteed by the ‘Constitution of India’. Unless the country attains ‘equality for women’ and ‘empower’ them, it may not be possible to achieve ‘social, cultural, economic, political and environmental’ security that works as the foundation and forms the basis for achieving an “inclusive and sustainable development”.

This paper proceeds to examine the causes for degradation of status and position of women in India and suggest how their empowerment can help the nation to achieve sustainable development. The study is based on the available literature including the grey material of civil society statements and the personal experience of the author.