India is a multiethnic, multicultural and multi-linguistic country. The total population of India is 1029 millions, of which 138 millions (14%) are Muslims (Census, 2001). India had a female population of 496 millions, which accounts to be 15% of the world’s women. The process of empowerment of Muslim women is a multidimensional. Its various dimensions i.e; educational, political, social, economic, psychological, legal, constitutional are all interrelated. Census 2011 report says that, except, the Muslims all other religious groups have higher literacy rates. Muslims have only 59.1% literacy rates, out of which literacy rates of Muslim women are 50.1% compared to 53.7% for all communities. The rural Muslim female literacy rate is just 42.66%. The most common factor for high incidence of non-enrolment, dropouts and low achievement among Muslim girls are poverty, lack of Muslim women teachers, absence of separate schools for girls, opposition to secular education for girls, early marriage and conservative attitudes. According to recent government reports, Muslim women are among the poorest, educationally, disenfranchised, economically vulnerable, politically marginalized group in the country. The Muslim women share in public employment is just dismal 3.7% and the Muslim women Work Participation Rate is only 14% a compared to Hindus women’s being at 27.5% (Census, 2001).From the Islamic point of view, Islam provided education, legal and political empowerment to Muslim women centuries ago. Islam in-spite of recognizing gender differentiation has consistently described the creation of human kind in egalitarian terms. Quranic verses 15:29 and 38.72 says, that, “By birth, all members of the human race have the same intrinsic worth and possess equal grace because of carrying the breath of God; ‘wa nafakhtu fihi min ruhi’. The Quran cogently states,”O human beings have fear of our Lord Who created you from a single soul. He created its mate, and through them He filled the earth with countless men and women. Al Quran (Surah-an-Nisa’4:1) Thus, Quran has also placed equality and empowerment to Muslim women at par with men and the need of the hour is that Muslim women must draw inspiration and motivation from Quran and Hadith and they have to break free from the shackles of conservative attitudes, social biases, narrow social prejudices, social, cultural and political environment. The present paper attempts to explore and analyze the problems and obstacles which are there in the empowerment of Muslim women, in the light of their educational and socio-economic perspectives.
Keywords: Women Empowerment, Muslim, literacy rates, Sacchar committee, Seema Kazi, Muslim women status, Muslim work participation rate.