Gender equality is, first and foremost, a human right. A woman is entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and from fear. Empowering women is also an indispensable tool for advancing development and reducing poverty. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and to improved prospects for the next generation. The importance of gender equality is underscored by its inclusion as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals. Though women have progressed in a number of spheres, yet looking from a wider perspective, the situation remains grim. According to the statistics by CARE, out of 1.3 billion people who live in absolute poverty around the globe, 70% are women. Reflecting on UNESCO’s medium term strategy 2008-13, gender equality has been assigned as organization’s global priority. Astonishingly, two third of the 774 million adults in the world who cannot read is women. The context in the developing and third world countries is worse. Women here are still subject to ‘honor killings’, they are still denied their basic rights to education and freedom, and face violence and abuse. It was observed in a CARE project working with adolescent girls in India, that these girls were considered as temporary people who would cease to exist, at least for their fathers, once they are married. In many places in India, domestic violence is acceptable to women, and cultural and ethical implications are imposed on their freedom. What does that mean? It would be wrong to state that nothing has changed as a number of local, national and international organizations are working together to mitigate the problems, yet there is a long way to go. Women's empowerment is the process by which women negotiate a more equitable distribution of power , a greater space in the critical decision making processes in the home ,in the community and in the economic and political life. The aim of empowerment of women is the...
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