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Abstract

The urge to empower is a human quality and a multidimensional phenomenon. It allows individuals or groups to participate and prosper in households, communities, and countries through political or development processes. Numerous studies have associated empowerment with many developmental outcomes. In the past decades, significant advances have been made among women in many fields like health, education, and employment. However, increasing incidence of violence against women, under-representation of women in decision-making, discriminatory laws governing marriage, land, property, and inheritance hinder women’s empowerment. It is further blocked by new challenges that have emerged over the last decade, such as tackling HIV/AIDS and dealing with trafficking of women and young girls. The present study is an attempt to measure to what extent women in urban Bangalore feel empowered in critical areas such as educational achievement, economic opportunity, health and well-being, decision-making, and autonomy in all matters. The research methodology involved the study of a sample population of women in urban areas of Bangalore City, India. Different women’s empowerment indicators were analyzed using a structured questionnaire which was distributed randomly to the female population in urban Bangalore. The main emphasis was on indicators such as women's decision-making power in household affairs, financial autonomy, freedom of movement and access to education. Data analysis revealed that decision-making power in households and freedom of movement of women vary considerably with age, education, and employment. Very few women had the final say on how their earnings were spent. Control over cash earnings increased with age and education. The study also indicates that educational qualifications and access to employment are the essential factors that promote women’s empowerment, but the degree of achievement of the goal depends mostly on the attitude of the general population towards gender equality.

Note on the Author

Sangeetha Menon holds a doctorate in Microbiology and is currently an Assistant professor in the Department of Life Sciences, Kristu Jayanti College, Bangalore, India, and is a member of the Women Empowerment Cell of the College. She holds more than 13 years of experience in teaching and research and is actively involved in the empowerment of girls and women. She believes in gender equality and equal employment opportunity to women. Authors can be contacted at sangeethamenon@kristujayanti.com.

Ranjitha M, a Faculty in the Department of Computer Science, Kristu Jayanti College, Bangalore, India has a doctorate and is a passionate researcher and academician with more than 20 years of experience. She continually works and strives to develop and empower young girls to be the future empowered women. She also coordinates the Women empowerment activities of Kristu Jayanti College, Bangalore, India.

Shweta Sharma has a doctorate in Biochemistry and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Life Sciences, Kristu Jayanti College, Bangalore, India. She has over two years of research and teaching experience.

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