History :-

  1. From the Vedic period till Islamic invasion of India women enjoyed equality. They were free to choose their partner (Swayamvar) and what type of relation she wants to have (marriage or Gandharva Vivah i.e. live in relationship), along with polygamy and polyandry coexisted, women had shares in their father’s property, gods and goddesses were treated with equal respect and they were free to move around.
  2. With the Muslim conquest, there were certain changes in the society, as the Muslim rulers followed the Sharia Law. Status of women deteriorated in society. Purdah and Jauhar system are attributed to the Muslim rulers. Rajputs also started the system of Jauhar after a century of Muslim rule as the Muslim rulers would take the wives and daughters of the lost Rajput rulers as sex slaves. According to Sharia law, women were supposed to stay in certain boundaries of their homes, they would have to wear burqah outside, whenever they moved out a man would always accompany them and they didn’t get a share in their father’s property.
  3. Still, some women commanded equality because of their supreme abilities like Razia Sultan was the first woman ruler of Delhi, Chandbibi of Ahmednagar fought against the Mughals, Jijabai mother of Shivaji was the queen regent etc.
  4. Apart from Jauhar, Hindus started other regressive practices as ‘Sati’ and Child Marriages. In Sati, the widow was burned alive in the pyre of her husband. The education level of women started declining exponentially.
  5. During the British Rule, several women reformers like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Raja Rammohun Roy, Jyoti Rao Phule, Pandita Ramabai etc. came out against the ill practices and due to their efforts, Sati was banned, Widow Remarriage Act was passed, several schools and colleges were opened for girls.
  6. Rani Laxmibai, Begum Hazrat Mahal led the armies against Britishers in the revolt of 1857. Kittur Chennamma fought against the British after the Doctrine of Lapse. There were many more women who broke social boundaries and performed exceptionally well.
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Independent India :-

  1. Though our constitution guarantees equal rights to women in all aspects, the mentality of people didn’t change. There have been several cases of rapes, domestic violence, dowry, acid attacks etc. that led to the formation of several strict laws for women safety. In 2011, India was ranked as the fourth most dangerous country for women in the world (in 2018 India was ranked the most dangerous country for women) and worst among the G20 nations when it comes to women security.
  2. Through various laws and acts, the Indian Parliament and the Supreme Court have tried to empower women like banning triple talaq, striking down the adultery law, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, SC lifted the ban on Sabarimala Temple, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme etc.
  3. Politics: India has one of the highest numbers of female politicians in the world. Women have held all important posts like that of President, Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Governor, Chief Minister etc.
  4. Military and Law Enforcement: From 1992, Indian Armed Forces began recruiting women in non-medical roles. The Indian Army began recruiting female officers in 1992, though women officers in the army are still not allowed to take up combat roles. BSF began in 2013. IAF began recruiting women as fighter pilots in 2015, prior to 2015 women were allowed only for ground duty and flying transport aircraft. In 1972 Kiran Bedi became the first IPS officer of India. In 2018 Delhi Police announced that it would begin inducting women in SWAT teams.
  5. Education: Women are lagging far behind than men in education. Fewer girls attend school as compared to boys and also their dropout rate is high. According to the 2011 census data literacy rate of women is 65.46% as compared to 82.14% of men. This difference is alarming.
  6. Economic Development: There is lower workforce participation of women as compared to men. The gender pay gap is of about 20% and it narrows with experience. Also, almost 50% of the Indian population consists of women, yet fewer than 5% of businesses are owned by women
  7. Participation of Women in Social and Personal Life: In India, it depends upon the region & community. In the name of ‘honor’ or ‘izzat’, some women are kept under certain boundaries and are deprived of progress, education and career. They have lesser say in matters of life partner, family planning, income etc. especially in North India.
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Conclusion :-

Though the government and courts are trying to bring equality in the society, it has to be the people’s mindset which needs a change. And in big and developed cities of India this positive change is quite visible but in villages and small towns there is a lot of gender inequality to be dealt with.

Image by Sonam Prajapati from Pixabay

Your Turn…

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  • Simran, Jun 10, 2023 @ 12:25 pm Reply

    The status of Women in India is now progressing compared to before. In politics, education, and management women are better at making decisions. Women are pursuing higher studies and becoming self-dependent in earning.

  • Khushi singh, Mar 11, 2021 @ 1:19 pm Reply

    Women hold a very significant role in their family. They do all the house chores and their jobs as well. But , this is the mentality of our society to consider women to stay in boundaries only.they oppose allegations on them to being independent and advisery body for anyone .this system is prevailed from very ancient times in India. nowadays , government has taken initiatives to support women in india by giving slogans like beti bachao, beti padhao., For once we should leave this beti bachao thing and instead of this beti ko padhao aur use apna bachav khud krne do , aur ladko ko padhao une betiyo ki izzat Krna sikhao should be given. Even when we believe in gender equality , then gender should be equal in every aspects of life.

    • Team GD Ideas, Mar 17, 2021 @ 7:46 am Reply

      Well said, Khushi. Gender equality should start at home.

    • Simran, Jun 10, 2023 @ 12:26 pm Reply

      Well said

  • Shweta Tiwari, Jan 26, 2021 @ 1:20 am Reply

    Yes I do agree with Subhash saini because women’s are the one who has actually more power than man because she is the one who manage tough situations easily and she can also manage home and office together so effectively that I don’t think so man can do. And then if I talk about the equality ratio yeah I do agree that girls and women’s are working now a days they can be found doing very well in every field but still their are more working women’s at place of men’s so we just have to see that and improve in that area actually.
    Thank you

  • Tinku paul, May 8, 2019 @ 7:17 am Reply

    According to me woman means power they have lots of energy, they always play the dual role in their professional field and personal life, they have work like Ma Durga. In India woman’s are every where, Parliament, Assembly, Councillor office, Panchayat, BDO , Police station, Government offices even in BSF and most of the corporate offices , they are holding the dignified post. We know the woman empowerment. Especially in village area state government kanya shree project and Central Government Beti bachao Beti padao project , most of the girls they are going to school , woman nowadays they are not neglected, people they have change their mind , woman no longer they are not depend on others, they are stand their own feet . Yes all the woman physically not fit for fighting I e sometimes they are assaulted by the bad people in our society
    So they have to take care of their health for self defense. Self defense is very essential to protect their own.

  • SUBHASH SAINI, May 5, 2019 @ 10:22 am Reply

    In the ancient time it is says that , “where worship the women there God plays”, this sentence saw value of women at ancient time . At that time woman name take before man’s name like siyaram , Radha Krishna etc.
    Vedic time society gives to their rights to when she married, right to choose bridegroom , freedom to walking in society
    But after mugalism emperor women’s condition went on the wrong way , men treat women as a uses thing , they didn’t respect them .
    Many survival started oppose the wemen like daspartha, satipartha, pardapartha , johar etc.
    At this time eve-teasing, rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment is the worst problem oppose the women . They fill frightened when she would alone at her home . They frightened to go anywhere. Parents always fill a fear in his mind . Many parents don’t send his girl at school , because of fear social evils.
    Today girls ratio in school 62% and boys are 80% in the school . This difference between girls and boys is very sensitive.
    Female fotiside is bigest evils in our society , many people thrown their girl child anywhere .
    We should aware the people about girls that their mother is girl , their sister is girl, their wife is girl , their daughter is girl so they respect the girl . They worship the goddess but his own god gifted goddess like doughter, wife ,don’t respect .

    Our government take many steps for girl to make self-depended . Govt start Beti Bachao Beti Padho Yojana , Sukanya Yojna , lakshmi Yojana . Government banned abortion and sex checkup before delivery .
    At this time many survival stoped and educated people respect the women .
    Government administration should start some strict rule on the girl eve-teasing, rape .
    We should aware the people about the importance of women.
    Thank you

    • SUBHASH SAINI, Oct 14, 2019 @ 12:37 pm Reply


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