“Literacy and Women’s Empowerment” by Sushama Sahay is taken from her book entitled Women and Empowerment: Approaches and strategies (1998).
The author presents her views on women’s empowerment and equality through education. Education can elevate women the height of making decision along with men in the society. Literacy can help women in rural and deprived sectors to exercise choice in the monetized sector.
The prestige and position of women can be enhanced in all spheres of activity through higher education. Women can take part in politics and management they are educated. Education helps women to become better mothers with better family health perspective. Women can equally contribute to the income of, the family too.
Literacy among women leads to better hygiene, improved nutrition practices and greater effectiveness in caring for family health and seeking timely medical intervention. This not only leads to better health status for the women herself but improved maternal competence which lowers infant mortality. Better health status of the woman makes a more productive worker both at home and outside leading the way to her equality and empowerment.
Educated women can also make better use of their time. Education helps women to move from non-monetized to monetized sectors, invisible to visible and unpaid to paid activities and thus allowing them to participate in the household economy. This in turn enhances their status and decision making power in the family. It is a major step towards their equality and empowerment.
Making women literate and educating them are pre-requisite not only for their equality and empowerment but for the development of the nation. Despite strong linkages between women’s education and their equality and empowerment female literacy remains very low in India.