Motivational Speech on Women Empowerment: Myth or Reality?

Today, in contrast to the past centuries, we find women  literate, educated, and liberated to lead. We find their surge forward not only in the political front, but also in social life where they act as agents of change contributing  to economic development as well.

But first of all we need to understand what empowerment of women really means if we have to understand its impact.

Empowerment is about being given authority and power to do something.
Empowerment is about becoming stronger and confident.
Empowerment again means to become aware of one’s rights and privileges.
Empowerment also means the ability to control one’s life in a more meaningful and fulfilling way.

The term empowerment naturally presupposes a sense of powerlessness; doesn’t it? Well, with women it has been rightly so. As we look back at the centuries we find many dark ages where women in different lands were suppressed, treated as commodities, with no voice in decision-making and no role in deciding how social and community life evolved. But empowerment of women made a radical change in the whole situation.

And  this change has come about not without its struggles and sacrifices, protests and conflicts. This transformation passed through many difficulties when those who led with a vision to emancipate women were often viewed with suspicion from within the ranks of women themselves and opposed by the male-dominated hierarchies. Even today there are ripples and reflections of these tendencies. One can never say the world has seen gender equality and rights of women championed in the fullest sense.

But change did come.  From powerlessness, women have come to recognize that they are individuals made in God’s image and likeness just like men; and are valuable and precious in God’s eyes. They have come to celebrate their differences from men not as a reason for subjugation, but as a joyous gift of God to give an active support and contribution to the family first, to the workplace next and the community at large in a broader sphere.

In all these areas women have risen to greatness and power by utilizing available resources and increasing their influence in the decision-making process. The key to this change has been literacy and education. Economic freedom came through women finding employment in different spheres like nursing, teaching, management, and the like. Today, women have made their presence felt in the field of police, defence, sports, space exploration, research and development, social work, and many other fields as well.

But all this was not enough as they had to have a political empowerment which especially came through right for women to vote through some tough campaigning. Emmeline Pankhurst who helped women win the right to vote in Britain cannot be forgotten. Perhaps a day will come when the most awaited 33% reservation for women in the Indian Parliament would become a reality. If that happens it will be a grand day when the the voice of women will ring out more loud and clear in the central hall of the world’s largest democracy.

Personally, I have been motivated by many examples where empowerment of women is first of all felt by the masses through the vision of a pioneering lady. Be it Florence Nightingale who made nursing into such a structured and noble profession, Ida Scudder who in response to witnessing three tragic deaths of women in childbirth in Tindivanam in a single night in the late 1890’s responded to the challenge and heard God’s call to become a missionary doctor and establish the reputed Christian Medical College (CMC Vellore, first started for women), Amy Carmichael, who dyed her skin with dark coffee to make her skin brown to gain access to and acceptance with young girl children and rescued hundreds of them from a life of forced prostitution in Dohnavur, Pandita Ramabai, a scholar in Sanskrit who saved the lives of thousands of women in famine struck times through her Mukti Mission in Pune; the list goes on. Today, the need is to have women with such vision and burden for the upliftment of women.

There are countless examples in modern times; Malala Yousafzai is one young voice many listen to today. Her courage and words inspire; and she emphasizes the importance of education as a means of women empowerment.  As she said in an interview,

“The important thing to note is that it is not important whether Malala was shot or not — Malala is not asking for personal favors or support. She is asking for support with girls’ education and women’s rights. So don’t support Malala, support her campaign for girls’ education and women’s rights.”

I am sure there are several other names that come to your mind even as I speak. Indira Gandhi, Prathibha Patil, Rani Lakhsmibai of Jhansi, Kalpana Chawla, Indra Nooyi, Kiran Bedi, Arundathi Bhattacharya, Bachendri Pal, the list goes on. If you recognized some of these names, it is simply because women have learned to lead, have challenged existing norms of society and have taken a proactive role in changing traditions and rewriting history. Surely, women empowerment is a reality; isn’t it? I am sure you are compelled to agree.

Now let me point out that social reformation alone is not just enough for women empowerment. The mind-set of society also has to keep pace. To ensure this transition, laws had to be enacted. Several laws have been enacted to ensure the safety and protection of women especially in the workplace.

But it is sad that there still needs to be a radical change in the way women are viewed in society. A women gets educated, earns a well-paid job and then suddenly finds herself being bargained for in the marriage market. This is sad and tragic. In this world of commercialization, women are in many places regarded as liabilities rather than as assets. This has to change if women empowerment has to become a reality in the fullest sense.

Finally, top leadership is something that women can aspire and reach to. But massive change for the empowerment of women has to begin and be sustained at the grass roots level. Assurance of employment, maintenance of good physical and emotional health should also be priorities as far as women empowerment is concerned.

Kudumbashree, a community organization of neighbourhood groups in Kerala started by the government in 1998 has proven itself as a successful model of women empowerment at the grass roots level. Such models need to be multiplied across different geographic regions across the world where there is a felt need for women empowerment.

Before I conclude, let me point out one more historical moment of women empowerment. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead; it was Mary Magdalene who had the privilege of seeing the Risen Lord first and had the unique distinction of being the first witness to the fact of his resurrection. This was her testimony: “I have seen the Lord!” the echoes of which still resonates in many millions of human hearts even after 2000 years of its happening.

But the point is that Jesus by allowing Mary Magdalene to be the first witness was empowering women for all time. This is stunning because Jesus did not reveal himself first to his inner circle of disciples who were all men and Jewish law did not permit women to be witnesses. And in that society, men usually prayed thanking God that they were not born as women. The way Jesus treated women with respect and dignity will always empower them to claim their rightful share not only in God’s kingdom but also in homes and workplaces; in politics and economics as well.

Two more new areas of women empowerment cannot be left unmentioned in this 21st century:

One is of women’s active presence in the social media. Several women needs and priorities have been brought to light through intense campaigning through the social media. This is powerfully used to promote a cause, share a story, change public perception and even prevent negative stereotyping of women.

The second area of women empowerment in the 21st century is the need to have a massive drive for bringing school and college students into sports and games and outdoor activities. This coming together will not only help teenagers gain self-confidence and esteem; but also increase their physical and emotional health.

Let me now confront some bitter truths. Women empowerment is definitely a reality today. But the question is, Is it enough? Is there more work to be done? Without doubt, there are many places where the voice of women is still not heard. Discrimination still exists and even in the Corporate world we talk about the glass ceiling. The media sensationalizes crime against women which is growing alarmingly.

Domestic violence, dowry, gender discrimination, continue to be evils of our times. Politics is still male dominated even when half the population is female. The dignity of women and their worth as persons and individuals is often tainted by wrong portrayals in advertisements, movies and even in beauty pageants. The lot of sales gales in ever growing super market outlets looks glamorous with their uniforms and dignity it seems to afford; but some serious study should be done as to how difficult their days are in spite of the smiles they gift us with. The list of negatives can go on.

But there is hope. The voice of women will still be heard loud and clear in spite of attempts to silence them. More stories of women empowerment are being scripted in every village and city not only in our state and nation but across the boundaries. It can very well be the transforming reality of the present. Thank you.

Sources and further reading:
Florence Nightingale

Pandita Ramabai

In appreciation of the work of Pandita Ramabai for the advancement of Indian women, the government of India approved the issuance of a commemorative stamp of Pandita Ramabai in 1989 and later named her Woman of the Millennium.

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Brainyquote page

Ida Scudder

    Ida Scudder as a young girl heard three knocks at her door one night. Three men from different religious background came at different times with the same request to assist their wives in childbirth. Ida Scudder told her lack of medical experience and offered the services of her father, a doctor. But those men could not bear the thought of a male presence. The next day Ida Scudder saw the corpses of three women being taken for cremation. This incident which all her biographers note challenged her to earn a medical degree and come back to India and do something for the health and well-being of women.

A Student’s Inspiring Election Campaign Speech for the Post of School Leader!

Respected Principal, Beloved Teachers and my dear friends,

A warm good morning to one and all.

Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is with this vision I aspire to be your leader. If selected, I would love to lead by example not just in academic pursuits but in all co-curricular activities as well.

The focus of my talk this morning is about three R’s. They are
Respect, and

First of all let me talk about Reach.
Most of us have potential. And many of us have not discovered what it is all about. One of my first priorities will be to create opportunities for everyone to display their skills and talent. We cannot do it on our own. We need the guidance and support and encouragement of our teachers.

I am sure they will extend all possible help in this regard. In fact we are blessed to have the opportunity to study in this School which has always set standards of excellence not only in academic results but more importantly in student-teacher relationship.

The second thought i want to share with you is about Respect.
Why is this important? This is important because we live in a world where mind, muscle or money power rules. Human rights are constantly being violated. Intolerance between communities is growing. It is in this context that respect for others should be taught and understood and appreciated in classrooms.

It is good to begin while we are young. I would like to create an atmosphere of respect in classrooms. We should learn to respect our parents, our teachers and elders. We should learn to respect the law of the land and be law-abiding citizens.

The third thought is about Relationship.
What is the point in studying in the same school and sitting on the same bench and not knowing what your friend’s difficulties in life are? We have become too selfish that we do not care for those who are hurting. So as leader one of my priorities will be to create healthy relationships in classrooms thus paving the foundation of friendships that will last a lifetime.

This is very important because today children are spending more and more time with gadgets; chatting, gaming, and living in a virtual world. I wish that our students would spend more time in face to face interaction and joyful communication thus cementing good relationships.

So these are my main thoughts:
One, Let us strive to reach our full potential.
Two, Let us create an atmosphere of respect.
And three, Let us also try to build lasting relationships.

So I seek your cooperation. For nothing can be done by a leader alone. A leader is one who has a vision and has the ability to share it.

This I have done with all my heart!
Now it is your turn to respond to this vision.

As cricket commentators say, a captain can only be good as the members of his team. No captain has succeeded without great team work. So I appeal to all of you my friends that we will achieve these goals through united effort, working hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder. Not one of you will be left behind.

Success to me is not one person achieving. It is about helping others achieve. It is about enabling others to realize their dreams. So let us begin to realize our full potential. Let us do this in an atmosphere of respect and sportsman spirit. In the process let us build lasting relationships.

Let me assure you my friends we are not going to be defeated, we will certainly win. And the beauty of the victory will be that we all shall win together and make our teachers and parents proud. So my dear friends, when you cast your votes remember me and my vision I have shared with you. Do cast your precious votes in my favour.

Reach, Respect, Relationship.
This is my vision, my dream and my goal. I cannot do it in my own strength but in the strength God shall provide. I cannot do it alone; we shall do it together.

Thank you.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Speech on Laughter the Best Medicine

My dear friends,

The ability to laugh is God-given. It is best seen when children come together and play. What an amazing thing it is how they laugh and have fun. Those are moments when life is bubbling over with joy and sheer enthusiasm.

All Smiles, First Day @ School_June 1, 2016.
All Smiles, First Day @ School_June 1, 2016.

Yes, such laughter can have echoes of heaven in it too. As Corrie ten Boom pointed out, “I had always thought that the laughter of the little children in an empty cathedral was the most beautiful of all hymns of praise.” You cannot give laughter a nearer place to the heart of God than that, can you?

When you laugh, there are many good things that happen. It helps you connect with people. For laughter is contagious. People laughing together is an excellent way to build relationships. It helps friends and family bond with each other. It helps increase trust and intimacy as well.

Again laughter is an expression of joy in one’s heart. Sadly, anxiety and worry, depression and loneliness are ills of modern society that prevent people from laughing out loud. It is in this context that laughter is understood to be the best medicine.

For laughter can relieve stress and increase our health in many different ways. While the smile of babies and the elderly are incomparably beautiful, it is the hearty laughter that acts as a stress buster.

One area of life that has been often seen as off-limits for laughter is in one’s relationship with God. Though it is true that God is holy and no man or woman can stand in his presence based on his or her merits, goodness or achievements in life; it is also true that God wishes to impart gladness and joy to those who love him.

King David expressed his sincere hope that God will fill him with joy in his presence and eternal pleasures at his right hand.* Therefore it is clear that God gives joy and laughter to those who love him. It is indeed a sad thing to go through life and never laugh.

King Solomon many centuries expressed this truth in these words, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”* It is up to you to decide to step out of despair into a mode of thankfulness and praise. Laughter is absent from many lives, simply because people allow negative circumstances to crowd out their joy. So it is up to you again to see that your joy is not stolen from you.

Finally, let me ask you one question? What prevents you from laughing? Whatever be the reason you cannot afford not to laugh. Therefore take time to go out with friends and family. Do something together. Enjoy healthy fun and entertainment.

Let me conclude with a wish and prayer for you. May God send long-cherished blessings your way today. May he open unexpected doors of opportunity. May you find things close to your heart restored to you. Then you will be like “men who dreamed,” and your “mouths be filled with laughter and your tongues with songs of joy.”*

Thank you.
*Psalm 16:11, Proverbs 17:22, Psalm 126:1, 2
Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame. — Hebrews 12:2 Bible

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

A Speech for School Children on the Importance of Books and Reading

Why is reading important? It is important because it is a habit that can make you a better person. Biographies of great men and women tell us that most of them became great because of the inspiration they got from reading books especially during their childhood days.

Books not only inspire us, but they also provide knowledge. Even though technology has brought in many changes to the way we read, it has only enhanced our ability to get connected to different sources of knowledge through reading.

It is to be noted that reading exposes our mind to different cultures and languages of the world. It helps us to digest the best that different regions of the world like Asia and the Middle East, America, Europe, and Africa have to offer us. As our minds are exposed to such a wealth of ideas through reading, it helps us to communicate with depth of thought and a wide mixture of emotional colours as well.

Again, reading gives us entertainment. Novels, short stories, poems, travelogues, and even comics entertain our minds. It helps us relax. More than that it engages our mind in a way nothing else does. Our imagination is ignited when we read. We become co-creators of stories as we animate the stories we read in our minds. It is definitely a healthy exercise to the mind.

These are reasons why books have been treasured, and to create a habit of reading; libraries established. There are libraries in the world where ancient manuscripts are preserved. They connect us to our roots and are a window through which we are able to see the history of the world.

But then with the giant leap of technology has come digital libraries which places books at our finger tips. Therefore with mobiles and tablets, reading can happen even while traveling. The one difference it has made is that instead of flipping through the pages of a book physically, we use touchscreens. Yes, the way people read has changed, but reading as a habit continues to hold sway in the minds of people.

At the same time, we need to be reminded that good books are a great investment. As Francis Bacon, the great essayist, said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” And in the words of the great poet, John Milton “A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.”

Finally, some books can be like a beam of light lighting up your path ahead. In the Bible, we find the author of a Psalm assert this, saying,

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Therefore choose good books wisely. Make them your companions. And like good friends, they will give you counsel and wisdom when you need those most.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

A Speech on 3 Changes I Want to Make in My Village

Respected Teacher and my dear friends,
A warm good morning to one and all.

It was the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus who said, “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.” As he noted, the world has become a better place today because of several positive changes that came to our society.

Two things are to be remembered about change. One is that change is happening very fast. Two, if you do not change you will soon be pushed out from the mainstream of society. Keeping these two thoughts in mind, let me now share with you my dream of 3 changes I want to make in my village.

The first change I want to bring to my village is regarding formation of reading habit. Everywhere I find young and old simply wasting their time in the evenings doing nothing but idling away their time in talking about silly things. If this time can be utilized in reading it will not only increase their knowledge but help them utilize their spare time wisely.

So the first change I wish to make in my village is to establish a small library and reading room to bring better knowledge. In this library I also wish to have at least one or two computers with internet connection so that people can also learn to keep connected with the world using latest technology.

The second change I want to bring to my village is regarding the formation of the habit of saving for a better future. Why? This is because most of the bread earners in our village are men who go for work on a daily basis. They do not have a permanent income. But sadly many of these people spend their money to drink or gamble. Thus they create broken homes and dissatisfied children.

So, I wish to start an awareness campaign which will take the message of encouraging people to start savings bank account either in the nearest bank or post office. So the second change I wish to make in the village is regarding economic well being.

Now let me come to the third change. It is said that cleanliness is next to godliness. One sad thing I find in the village is that the beauty of our village is slowly being destroyed by littering of waste in public places. This is a new trend but can seriously affect the health of people living here.

So the third change I want to make in my village is to create a proper waste disposal system. It will encourage people to dispose all degradable waste in their own compounds and have them store plastic waste in bins. Later this can be collected centrally and properly disposed off with the help of panchayath/village authorities.

Let me now summarize the 3 changes I want to bring in my village. First of all, change regarding knowledge and technology, secondly, change related to economic well-being and thirdly and more importantly change related to healthy living.

I do hope that these 3 changes would make the people in our village better educated, better secure and help them to live healthy and happy.

Thank you.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

A Speech for Young School Children on Smile!

Respected teachers and my dear friends,
Good morning to one and all.

What is more beautiful than a blooming flower; what is more charming than a lovely sunset? I hope you guessed it right—yes, it is your smile!

A good smile is God’s gift to you. It reveals your inner joy. It means that when you are thankful to God you naturally smile.

All Smiles, First Day @ School_June 1, 2016.
All Smiles, First Day @ School_June 1, 2016.

A smile is not just an expression of your joy; but it also helps spread happiness. In that sense, if you smile well you are making this world a better place to live in. Imagine, if all the people you met each day would smile. How great would be the sense of happiness it brings to all!

A smile, it is said, is of no use unless it is given away. It may just take a few seconds for you to gift a smile to someone. But the memory of that smile, the cheer and hope it might have given to that person would last a lifetime. Indeed, the richest man or woman in this world is poor if he or she cannot gift a smile!

A smile easily builds relationships. You make strangers your friends through a smile for it is the first step in building a relationship. A smile also gives your personality great attractiveness. All the big celebrities make sure that they appear before people with a winning smile.

At the same time, it is a joy to watch an innocent new-born baby smile. That is life at its beginning; ready to move on. It is again a joy to watch the smile on the wrinkled face of an old man or woman. It shows that they look back at life with the satisfaction of having run their race well.

A smile is also very critical in helping you becoming a good communicator. This is because people accept a message coming from a person who appears pleasing on stage more than from a person who speaks in a very serious tone all the time.

Above all, you should always remember that smile is God’s unique gift to human beings. Since man was created in the image and likeness of God, the ability to smile is a God-given gift to us. Like all other gifts God has given us, we should make good use of this gift.

Sadly, so many people simple forget to smile as they worry too much about what is going to happen tomorrow. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him [God], for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). It is this sure knowledge that God cares for you that will help you smile even in difficult times.

Therefore smile. Thus spread joy all around. And find the whole world smile back at you!

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
–Mother Teresa

1 Minute Speech for Children on Respect

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Speech for Young School Kids–On Humility

Respected teachers and all others gathered here, a warm good morning to all of you.

We live in the land where the Maharajah’s of Travancore once ruled. In spite of their great royal power and wealth, they served the people of this land in humility. Yes dear friends, humility is that virtue in life that is the touchstone of true greatness. The truly great were all humble people.

Take the modern example of Sachin Tendulkar. He is one great cricket player the world respects and admires. He holds so many world records. Yet he has remained a humble person in spite of his international achievements. Therefore millions of people not only in India, but also across the world admire him and try to follow his example.

My first point is that humility is a true sign of greatness.

Secondly, only a person humble in heart learns anything worthwhile in life. In the old gurukulum system of education, a student or disciple stayed with his master for many years doing all household work. It was a test of humility. The teacher only taught the art after the student was humble enough to learn it.

As students we need to remember that we should exhibit humility to learn. Only when we have humility will we have courage to ask the teacher again and again till we are satisfied that we have understood. We also need to remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”

My second point is that humility is a sign of learning.

Thirdly, humility does not insist on its rights. For example, we have often seen two cars opposite each other in a narrow lane. What happens there? The driver who is humble and does not insist that he should be first, reverses his car and allows the other driver to go first. This is an everyday example of humility in action.

In families too, this is applicable. Our mothers, even though they cook food for us are often the last persons to eat. This is because they do not insist on their rights. Thus they become wonderful examples of sacrificial love.

My third point is that humility does not insist on its rights.

Finally, this world is a better place because of people who are humble. Imagine a world where everybody is proud. Will it not lead to fights and quarrels every day? Yes, it will. Therefore humility is like the oil that lubricates the hinges of huge doors. It is humility that like salt adds taste to our everyday lives.

One such person whose living influence is present with us even today is Jesus Christ. The Son of God came down from heaven leaving his glory behind to be born in a manger where cattle fed. He humbled himself to wash his disciple’s feet. Finally, he humbled himself to be crucified like a criminal on a Roman cross even though he was innocent. He shed his precious blood for the forgiveness of sins of all mankind. Because of this one sacrifice millions around the world have found peace with God.

Let me conclude by reminding you of the main points I said:
First of all, humility is a true sign of greatness.
Secondly, humility is a sign of learning.
Thirdly, humility does not insist on its rights.
Above all, this world is a better place because of truly humble people.

Let us all try to make this world a better place for you and for me and the entire universe by clothing ourselves with humility. Thank you.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
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