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Women’s Education in Modern Times

Contributor ,

he voice of the working woman “a document of U.N.O. 1982 makes a significant stoical statement” women make up 50% of the world’s population.

Comprise 33.3% of the official labour force, perform nearly 66.6% of all working hours, receive 10% of the world’s income & own less than 1% of world properly. This alone justifies, serious, positive, down to earth policy on empowerment of women. It is also true that women of late, have made their presence felt, with a difference. In a male dominated society in all the spheres of work.

Including decision making areas of Government. There is a vast have proved their excellence. But area, where women is in shill considered complementary to man’s domain. They are shill suffering to. Most of own people are content to precedes image of our women prove then individually. Thus a became an age old concept enshrined in the man individuated our same powers/veer permits.

Golden, as embodiment of shakh, Durga, Shikago, M.A. Saraswati, riches M. Laxmi & values MA Sita & many more. They clean, that our religion is safe in their hands. They obey their comment.

What is needed is attitudinal change. Let than be treated as individuals, on far with them. Let than not be content to be called as a good mother, good wife, a good daughter. Let then be also treated as a good partner.

Article 14, 15, 16 of the contribution of India guarantee equality before law, equal protection of law and equality of opportunity to all Indian citizen. It prohibits discrimination against any citizen on growls of religion caste, Sex. It premeds equally of opportunity to all.

This can be possible only if attitudes of men & women, change. When we folk of very slowly. We are made to rewards.

It has been proved beyond doubt, that women have proved them selves, in all spheres & this has to be accepted without any reservation. The men folk of the family and the society as a whole need to given encouring patronageto their efforts. They need to be allowed work with dignity. Creation of warm and respectful atmosphere 5 the need of times. It 5 time, the is more sensitive to her role, as a mother and wife man should achieved and willing share in their domeshe obligations.

Let it be accepted as a necessary prevision and be not viewed as an encroachment on their right.

In addition of national policy on women, most of the state level have framed state policy. The state of Madhya Pradesh has stated in it policy state mal that if shall endeaun is social structure based on justice and equality. When women can react without any obi function & get the benefit of resources available at different ladder/resource.


The issue of women and social change in India is not as simple as it appears. Historical contingencies have been an important factor in changing our society. Women no less played a crucial role, given the limitations imposed in each period, in bringing salient changes.

With the coming of Aryans, patriarchy got well established even before the varna became caste. The daughter was not greeted as was the son in the Vedic period. Various sacrifices were performed for the birth of a son. The Atharva Veda implored, “The birth of a girl grant it elsewhere, here grant a boy.” Women were blessed to be mothers of “heroic sons”. Vivekananda possessing the Vedic mind in this century thought, that the educated girls, “will inspire their husbands with noble ideals and be mothers of heroic sons”.

Despite the patriarchal onslaught women did challenge the world view of their periods. While Gargi, Maithreyi, Apala, etc., did so in the Vedic period Sita, Draupadi etc., did in the Epic period. When Sita is said to have spurned Ram and moved into the earth, what more rebellion do we expect. It was a non-violent blow to patriarchy. King Ashoka had to face brave women in the battle of kalinga which changed him thoroughly. The coronation of Razia Begum as Sultana in the early medieval period was no less an event which angered the Turks. Mirabai flouted the patriarchal norms of the Rajputana, even though for a male deity. Noorjahan and Jahanara’s role in the Mughal times cannot be easily forgotton. Come Modern period and reminiscent it gets of Rani of Jhansi, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Pandita Ramabai etc. Truly, history has been his-story and not her story. No wonder many important contributions of women have been neglected and ignored. These women (and many more whom history has gulped), though few, are those from whom the present day feminists draw inspiration.

(i) Reform Movement : It was in the 19th Century that enlightened men like Ram Mohun Roy, Dayananda Saraswati, Keshab Chandra Sen, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Jyoti Bhai Phule, Govind Ranade, Maharishi Karve, Bhandarkar etc., championed women’s cause. But most of these social reformers wanted to improve the position of women within the family as wives and mothers and not to expand their role in society. Their micro-productive (domestic) role as nurturants was recognized by Gandhi and stretched to the public space.

(ii) Nationalist Movement : Gandhi’s whole philosophy of non-violence was drawn from the life of Indian women, who quietly, ungrudgingly bore all insults and beating of their wayward husbands in order to reform them.

Gandhi has to be given the credit for involving women in the nationalist movement. He was the first mass-mobiliser who saw the potential of women for an organized movement.

Under his guidance in 1931, in the Karachi annual session, the Congress Party passed a formal resolution committing itself to the political equality of Indian women much before their European sisters had even won the right to vote.

(iii) Women’s Movement: After Independence, the Constitution came in force in 1950 proclaiming equality between the sexes, among others. Five year plans started from 1951 establishing Central Social Welfare Board and Mahila Mandals. Despite these and many other measures, the Report of the Committee on the Status of Women (submitted in 1974) pointed out that dynamics of social change and development had adversely affected women and they manifested all sings of a backward group, that is, declining sex-ratio, lower life-expectancy, higher infant and maternal mortality, declining work participation, increasing illiteracy, rising migration etc.

The tabling of the Report and the International decade for women (1975-1985) hightened the awareness of people on the plight of Indian women. Women’s movement for freedom from patriarchal practices and oppression, started. For the first time unlike other movements a movement of women sprouted, which saw them as individuals in their own right. It was no more men crusading for women’s issues but women and some men for women’s issues. Lots of women’s organisations emerged which aimed at conscientising every one on women’s issues and collectivizing experiences of the oppressed women to channelise the urge for change in the position of women in all spheres. This new consciousness gave rise to not only feminist (women and men) activists but also feminist-activist-researchers. And a whole body of literature appeared and continues to pour day in and day out.

What awakened and brought together women’s organisations all over the country to fight against oppression of women was the Mathura rape case, in 1980. Soon the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983 was passed penalizing custodial rape.

No wonder, less than 35% of our women are literate and only about 4% go on to receive higher education. 85% of women workers are still sedimented in the unorganized sector where the legal measures have no meaning for them.

The plight of Indian women continues to be a matter of concern. What the Constitution proclaims for women, the reality springs up by opposing the very tenets, principles, ideals of the Constitution. A siege has been laid on women. They have been captured by the very institutions which attempt to safeguard and protect their lives and interests namely family, marriage, educational institutions, employment establishments, political mega-structures, policing outfits, legal machinery etc. Whether it is child marriage, infanticide, feticide, wife battering, sati, widowhood, bigamy, polygenic, sexual harassment, physical torture, mental cruelty, rape by intimates, strangers, police, army, para-military, dowry extortions, dowry murders, pre-marital and post marital suicides etc., all these forms of oppression of women map and draw the contours of our decadent capitalist, consumerist, corrupt, casteist, communal, patriarchal society.

Be it any denomination, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh etc., the forms of oppression of women may vary but the content is same excruciatingly, over-powering, emaciating and agonizing. The question is not merely of women being killed and murdered but also of the on-going throttling and murder of various emotions, ambitions of millions of young girls, that is, girl-children and women which take place on each day from sunrise to sunset.

This does not mean that women have reconciled to this fact. The discontent is brewing amongst oppressed women. The young girls of rural and urban areas have started voicing their likes and dislikes. The employed women, though encountering role-conflict, have learnt to become firm and assertive. They now seek and demand their husband’s cooperation in performing household chores. Many men have started correcting the wrongs done by them and begun to question the patriarchal privileges given to them. So what if 90% families are traditional. What matters is the 10% families that are egalitarian, cutting across religion, caste and class barriers.

Marriages are not always arranged now. Lots of choice marriages (love marriages, love-cum-arranged marriages) are taking place (free from dowry and gifts). Men are tending to be more considerate. Further, marriage is no more taken to be the only option. Many women are preferring to remain single, while still many other couples have started living together without marriage. All possibilities are being explored to establish an equalitarian, and depatriarchised existence. Regard for feminal kinspeople too is increasing.

The awakening and liberation of the top five or six percent of our women is beginning to have a trickle down effect in the sense of registering a greater awareness of women’s problems and restrictive social practices that affect their growth and potential. Today due to them, women’s cause has acquired a moral and political legitimacy. Due to this today hardly any one may stand up publicly and oppose women’s fundamental rights or deny them political participation, notes Mrinal Pande.

Though in fewer numbers women have been entering the traditional male bastions, as scientists, pilots, police, engineers, architects apart from being bureaucrats, teachers, doctors, businesswoman, entrepreneurs, journalists etc. These women with one voice proclaim together with Malan Devi, involved in the Bodh Gaya Land Struggle Movement:

“Earlier we had tongues but could not speak. We had feet but could not walk. Now we have got the strength to speak and to work”.

Ashish Sharma


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