Book Review*:Women Empowerment: A System of Sustainable Development
by Shukla Mahanty,
Gyan Geeta Prakashan, Pp.312, Price: Rs.110.0]

Books in Brief

I Satya Sundaram

There have been attempts, both at the national and international levels, to revamp the economic and social status of women. There have been international conferences too. Yet, there are miles to go to ensure full empowerment of women.

In most developing countries, women spend much of their time on household management. Some women take up agricultural operations and activities relating to mini and small enterprises. They mostly work in the informal sector.

The *book [Women Empowerment: A System of Sustainable Development by Shukla Mahanty, Gyan Geeta Prakashan, Pp.312, Price: Rs. 110.0] under review, containing eight chapters, deals with issues like gender equality, women organisations, rural women, and women and panchayati raj.

 Political empowerment of women is important even to get economic gains. India has Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to ensure decentralisation of power and empower local bodies. However, the levels of awareness about panchayat -related matters continue to be low for both men and women (p, 282). Gram Sabha should be revamped.

Where structures of patriarchy and caste are more oppressive, empowerment of women through PRIs faces formidable obstacles (p, 289). The real challenge is that in most cases, women sarpanches entrust their functions to their husbands. Instances of surrogate representation are found all over the country (p, 292).

Women’s organisations have to play a key role in enhancing women’s status. Public awareness of women’s real issues such as gender equality and equal rights, has been enhanced with the emergence of self-help groups (SHGs) and support from mass media. Rural women should become active partners in the modernisation of agriculture. Some believe modernisation in reality has led to worsening of women’s status in society (p, 141).

Writing is an art. The author has touched on various aspects of women empowerment. But, she should have reduced the size of the book by 100 pages. The first chapter “Introduction” contains 44 pages. Reading thus becomes a tedious and cumbersome exercise. Also, the chapters are not rationally arranged. However, this book is a comprehensive one on women empowerment.

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Vol 55, No. 31, Jan 29 - Feb 4, 2023