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Empowerment of Muslim Women in India: A Study of Socio-Economic and Political Disparities

Sanu, Md Sahnewaz (2018): Empowerment of Muslim Women in India: A Study of Socio-Economic and Political Disparities.

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Abstract

This paper investigates the empowerment of Muslim women in India, vis-à-vis their male counterparts as well as women belonging to other major five religious communities, namely Hindus, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain. The study is based on secondary sources of data primarily obtained from National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), All India Census Report, 2011 and Statistical reports, Election Commission of India. Based on these data sets, various indicators of women empowerment- participation in household decision making, freedom of movement outside the home, political participation and access to education and meaningful employment are used to measure the different dimensions of empowerment. The findings of the study indicate that the Muslim Women in India are relatively disempowered and they enjoy lower status than that of men and women belonging to other communities, no matter how empowerment is measured, be it in terms of the indicators of the evidence, sources or setting for empowerment. The study reveals that in terms of educational attainment and access to employment, the gender gap is highest in Muslim amongst all major communities in India. The information regarding women’s household decision making power and freedom of movement also shows that Muslim Women are the least empowered and one of the disadvantaged sections of the society in two ways, one being as a woman and two as a member of the minority community which is both educationally and economically backward and religiously orthodox. The study concludes that an improvement in educational level would directly influence Muslim Women’s socio-economic and political status, but achievements towards this end depend largely on the attitude of the people towards gender equality.

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