Women Empowerment & Social Entrepreneurship: A

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LIFE Vision suggested in this paper is a liberation and empowerment vision. By LIFE we imply ... Liberation from Domination, Liberation from Exploitation.

Women Empowerment & Social Entrepreneurship: A LIFE Vision* Dr. Subhash Sharma Director Indus Business Academy, Bangalore

To understand the idea of LIFE vision proposed in this paper we need to take a view of history. Human history is characterized by domination, exploitation and oppression and in this women have been the worst sufferer. In the past wars, invasions and domination have been key driving force of human history. Fights between kingdoms were rooted in wars and invasions. In these fights both men and women suffered, however, women suffered more. Contemporary society is characterized by domination. Future of human beings lies in moving beyond such mindsets. Concern for humanity in the form of humanism and spirituality can lead us towards peaceful coexistence. For this to happen we need to liberate human beings from domination, exploitation and oppression. LIFE Vision suggested in this paper is a liberation and empowerment vision. By LIFE we imply Liberation (li), Freedom (F). Empowerment (E). When women are liberated, free and empowered, a society develops. Liberation has three aspects viz. Liberation from Domination, Liberation from Exploitation and Liberation from Oppression. While both men and women have suffered from domination, exploitation and oppression (e.g. during colonial period of history), women in general have suffered more. Hence, the need for liberation. Freedom implies choice in making decisions. Women in general have not enjoyed sufficient freedom in making choices. Empowerment implies a share in distribution of power, social, economic and political. Thus, liberation, freedom and empowerment are the three pillars to build a humanistic and sustainable human society. For creating a change in the society there are three approaches viz. violent, vibrant and non-violent in consonance with three types of energies that we observe in nature and human beings viz. violent energy, vibrant energy and non-violent/ silent energy. In Indian thought these energies are represented by three gunas viz. tamas. rajas and sattava. Many ideologies emerged during last 200 years that focused on changes in society through violent approach e.g. communism. In contrast in India focus has been on non-violent struggle and India’s freedom struggle represents this approach. Similarly in LIFE Vision suggested here, focus is on seeking social change through reliance on vibrant (rajas) and non-violent (sattava) energies. Women empowerment based on vibrant and non-violent energies can lead to liberation from domination. For this we need a new understanding of contemporary society. For this new understanding we need to understand the nature of fundamental forces influencing contemporary society. Today we live in a globalized society influenced by following our fundamental forces (Sharma 2016):

1. 2. 3. 4. 

Force of Market, Force of State, Force of People/ Capillary action, Force of Self.

Keynote address at the National Seminar on Social Entrepreneurship: A Tool For Women Empowerment organized by VES Institute of Management (VESIM), Chembur, Mumbai, Oct. 12 – 13, 2018.

Force of Market is increasingly represented by Corporates, force of State is represented by Political system/ Government, force of People is represented by Capillary action model of development/ social entrepreneurship / social enterprise and force of Self is represented by human consciousness/ spirituality. A proper balance between these four forces is needed to create harmony in society. Fig 1 presents these four forces through the metaphor of four lions.




People/ Capillary action (New Ideas in Strategic Thinking & Management, Subhash Sharma, 2016, p. 49) Fig. 1: Four Forces Model This four lions model has implications for women empowerment. For women empowerment, women have to play their appropriate role wrt all the four forces. Accordingly there are following four response models for women empowerment: 1. Corporate model: More women should enter the corporate world and break the ‘glass ceiling’ that is widely observed in the corporate world. 2. Social entrepreneurship / Social Enterprise/ Social movements model: Women empowerment can be achieved by developing social enterprises. Many examples can be cited in this respect e.g. Self Help Groups, Lizzat Papad, SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association etc. 3. Political model/ Political Presence model: This model implies that there should be sharing of power at the political level. More women should enter politics and influence policy making. Focus on this model is on State and transforming the State to become women friendly. Pro-women policies will be formulated only when women have strong political presence in political parties, bureaucracy and other government supported institutions.

4. Spiritual Presence model: Women empowerment will enhance through their spiritual presence. All types of Religious barriers need to be removed. All these four models will work provided we accept the LIFE Vision, because currently all the four forces inhibit women’s participation in one form or other. On women’s part they need to follow the “strengths and struggle” model for creating necessary change in the mindset of the society. Identification of the strengths and using the strengths for struggle is the keynote of this idea. This is also a lesson from India’s freedom struggle. The same lessons can be applied for self empowerment of women in various spheres of life. A tool that can help women in realizing the LIFE Vision through self-empowerment is the idea of CINE Matrix (Sharma 1999, 2007, 2016). CINE Matrix is a matrix of InternalExternal and Controllable-Non controllable factors that influence a situation. Self empowerment occurs when factors belonging to Non controllable - External (NE) cell of the matrix are brought to the Controllable-Internal (CI) cell. In case of women because of Domination by men and society, there is lesser agency i.e. women operate under Noncontrollable-External (NE) factors and because of lack of empowerment are unable to bring these factors into Controllable-Internal (CI) context. CINE Matrix concept can help in devising strategies for Self-Empowerment. Fig. 2 presents the idea of CINE Matrix for Self empowerment. This figure presents three configurations. Configuration a represents a self empowered women, configuration III represents a disempowered women and configuration II represents a partially empowered women.

"CI" I





c "NE" IV

(New Mantras in Corporate Corridors, Subhash Sharma, 2007, p. 319) Fig.2: CINE Matrix for Self Empowerment In the context of self empowerment women also need to ask a related question viz. who is the Other? Other (e.g. men) could be viewed as enemy, competitor, friend, brother. When men are viewed as enemy to be defeated a particular kind of mindset develops leading to hate for the other. This is the war model of existence. When men are viewed as competitors, competitive mindset develops. This is the competition model that we find in the context of market. When men are viewed as friends, cooperation mindset develops. This is the cooperation model that we find in communities and social networks. When men are viewed as brothers, connectivity mindset develops. This is the connectivity model wherein there is mutual support and a feeling of oneness. For self empowerment and empowering others, there is a need to move towards third and the fourth mindsets i.e.

towards cooperation and connectivity modes of thinking. This will lead not only to self empowerment but also to empowering others. When everyone in the society is empowered, it will lead to an enlightened society free from patriarchy and hierarchy where LIFE vision will become a reality. In democratic societies such a vision is achievable through harmonic balance of the four forces viz. force of Market, force of State, force of People and force of Self. In this paper we have proposed the idea of LIFE vision representing three key concepts of Liberation, Freedom and Empowerment to overcome economic, social and political domination. We have also suggested four forces model and corresponding four approaches for women empowerment. In this respect social entrepreneurship by developing capillary action organizations has an important place for women empowerment. We have also suggested the tool of CINE matrix for self empowerment and ‘strengths and struggle’ approach in this respect.

Note: This keynote paper is based on author’s ideas available in following publications: Sharma Subhash (1996, 2006, 2017), Management in New Age: Western Windows Eastern Doors, New Age International Publishers, New Delhi Sharma Subhash (1999), Quantum Rope: Science, Mysticism and Management, New Age International Publishers, New Delhi Sharma Subhash (2007), New Mantras in Corporate Corridors; From Ancient Roots to Global Routes, New Age International Publishers, New Delhi Sharma Subhash (2016), New Ideas in Strategic Thinking & Management: A Knowledge Tree of New Age Mantras, New Age International Publishers, New Delhi