The Journey to Female Empowerment in India

The Journey to Female Empowerment in India

Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje, Hon’ble Chief Minister of India.

On April 7 2015, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of India, Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje brought a delegation to Japan and gave a speech on women empowerment at the Embassy of India in Tokyo.

The scheme aims to give women a larger financial independence so they can stand on their own feet and not be dependent on men.

Ms. Raje talked about her family’s history and the root of her political motivation. Her mother, the late Vijayaraje Scindia, rose to political prominence after taking a stand for women’s rights. She wanted to use the opportunities she had to create opportunities for women that had none, and once she entered politics she never lost a single election. Ms. Raje understood the importance of empowering women in India and of allowing women to be financially independent. A newly implemented scheme gives women identity cards linked to banks to operate their own accounts as leaders of the family. The scheme aims to give women a larger financial independence so they can stand on their own feet and not be dependent on men. Another initiative was to focus on education because a large number of girls between the ages of 9 and 12 tend to drop out of school due to a number of reasons including the lack of female toilets at school and problems with transportation. Ms. Raje has introduced initiatives to encourage girls to stay at school, but the problem with toilets remains present and is one of the major areas to target during her tenure.

Her Excellency Ambassador Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa hosted the event at the Embassy. Before Ms. Raje’s speech, the Ambassador took center stage to introduce the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Ms. Wadhwa talked about the difficulties of being a female politician in India, mentioning that India, much like Japan, had a patriarchal system that made it quite difficult for women to enter politics. The process, she mentioned, was less difficult for female ambassadors because one only required the right credentials and skills to move through bureaucracy and achieve the rank whereas politicians had to work the people and deal with critics and biases.

Other prominent women accompanied Ms. Raje and spoke at the event, including Member of the House of Councillors Ms. Kuniko Inoguchi. Ms. Makiko Takita, a journalist at The Sankei Shimbun served as the event’s master of ceremony.

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