Unit – 8
Status of Women in India through the
To acquaint ourselves
▶ The position of women in the ancient society
▶ Deterioration in the status of women in
▶The major social evils prevalent in the Indian
▶ The Role of Reformers in the social evils
▶ Women emancipation through education
▶ Social Legislations and Empowerment
Generally human society is
constantly changing with additions, assimilations and omissions from within and
outside. Women constitute half of the population. This is imperative to have a
historical understanding of the status of women through ages.
The position of women was not
uniform in all periods, differed with regional variations. In ancient India
particularly early Vedic period women, enjoyed equal rights. But with the
passage of time their status in the society found deteriorated as a result of
frequent foreign invasions. They were subjected to subjugation and
subordination. New social practices, customs and systems which crept into the
society in turn put limitations and restrictions on the liberty of women.
During the British Raj, many
socio-religious reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy, Dayananda Saraswathi, Keshab
Chandra Sen, Iswara Chandra VidyaSagar, Pandita Ramabai, Dr. Muthulakshmi
Ammaiyar, Jyoti rao phule, Periyar E.V.R, Dr. Dharmambal were the prominent
leaders who fought for the upliftment of women. Raja Rammohan Roy’s efforts led
to the abolition of sati in 1829. Vidya sagar’s crusade for the improvement in
the condition of widows, led to the passing of Widow Remarriage Act in 1856.
The reformers rightly realized that female education as an emancipating agent
in eradicating social evils. So they started girls’ schools in various parts of
the country, which brought significant changes in the lives of women.
Women played an important part in
Indian Freedom struggle. Until independence, there was no radical changes in
the status of women. In independent India, last few decades have witnessed the
all round development of women. Women are now making their presence felt in
every walk of life.