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Women and Economics

Feminism teaches to break down the current patriarchal power relations and rebuild gender relations in more equitable ways. Women’s lives are mostly affected by that patriarchal power. Among various initiatives(i.e. education, health care, and civil rights, etc.), a woman’s ability to earn a wage is significant part of her ability to exercise power. Women’s economic independence facilitates ‘a greater opportunity to live in more self-determined ways.’ They also are able to be better champions for their children because they have their power to decide how their children’s material and educational needs will be met. And they have their financial resources to back it up. It can change their social locations in their daily lives.

Poor and less-educated women have no knowledge about teachings of feminism. They only know that their economic independence may change their life pattern. The women as domestic help of Kolkata are from marginalized community and majority of them are just lettered. They are victims of early marriage, and they have to face cruelty daily.  To know their changing status, a study was deployed. For this purpose, 100 women (domestic help) deserted by their husbands along with their children were purposively selected. Their early lives were in threat. They had to face torture. They used to live in hunger and ill-health. Their husbands were addicted by various bad habits. They were irresponsible about their duties and responsibilities towards family members.  Their agonized lives had no alternative. But they came out from their relationship and joined as wage earner as domestic help(only source of income) in the city. They usually leave their home at early morning and return from their workplace at evening. Their children usually look after their relatives/neighbours whose maintenance is born by them.

From this study, it has been noted that these women live in and around of the city (suburban area) within 20 km radius. Among them, 20% was from the Muslim. All of them have two children. About 88% of these women live in good social and economic condition. About 62% of them have their own shelter with modern amenities. About 75% of them were supporting for their children education.  Although 32% of them had high school and more education, 30% of their children were graduate/under college education and 8% of their children were post graduate/under technical education/under higher education. Their social locations have been changed for their urban affinity. Further, they are the members of SHGs. It as an agency of social, economic and political empowerment establishes their social position in their community for different works for women’s justice and right.

This study explores that economics of these women make them free from male dominance and dependence. They save themselves from male torture and violence. They lead a new life. They become the true champions for their children. So, it is a fact that women’s earning might rebuild their family and it promotes their children’s education and healthy future hood. Need of fathers’ support and care is less important. Women’s meaningful employment/earning will be expedited women’s justice, equity and rights.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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