The dawn of the nineteenth century witnessed the birth of a new vision among some enlightened sections of the Indian society and for some it gave rise to some undesirable by-products. Society was caught in a web created by religious superstitions and unawareness. The social conditions were equally depressing. The most distressing and affected category of society was women. The birth of a girl was not welcomed with open arms like it was for a boy child. The marriage of women was considered a burden and her widowhood was bad luck for the family.

As we all know, Indian society in ancient times was divided into 4 categories or varna; Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra. The Brahmins performed all the pious works of the kingdom and were appointed as Raj purohits. Kshatriya usually looked after the defense and weapons of the kingdom. Vaishya was given the trade portfolio whereas the Shudra’ did all the menial work. The varna or category difference has continued since then, even though we are about to celebrate 75 years of independence, there are traces of these divisions and other vertical reservations still prevail.

The day an infant is born, according to the gender the future is decided, or a notion is set. Culture in many instances becomes a hurdle in achieving gender equality. During the rig Vedic era, women were treated on par with men; they participated in many important events and maintained their position. With foreign invasions in India, their culture got amalgamated, and many factors upraised which put the women specifically in a derogatory position like female feticide, sati, no widow remarriage, depriving rights to basic education, etc.

Gender is related to culture in a manner that pre-decided work for both women and men is set. There are least chances of amendment in it. The strong, powerful, and top position work should always be done by men in the society and the caregiver task, doing all the household chores and doing the easier task is kept completely for the women. Now that women's empowerment has seen an upsurge and women are handling many top positions in different sectors, the culture has amended with time. Although at distant places in the country, women are still denied rights of decision-making, face domestic violence, and have less autonomy.

FIGHT FOR BETTERMENT OF POSITION OF WOMEN – the reformers had to work against great odds in form of the whole society. Women were given the lowest status and considered always inferior to men. The talents of women were suppressed by social evils like the purdah system, early marriage, sati, etc. Here are a few social reforms that improved the condition of women, and which were made possible by the untiring efforts of social reformers.

·         ABOLITION OF SATI – with the efforts of Raja ram Mohan Roy, the activity of burning a widow alive was made null and void. By the year 1830, the Government had declared the practice of Sati an illegal and punishable offense. With this administrative measure, India in present-day has almost nil cases of sati. This has improved the condition and position of women in India. They have not been treated as a subject now, they are independent and have their choice and decision-making powers even after the death of their husband. Even if they do not marry once again, women have become self-sustained and can bear their own cost of living and of the family.

·         BANNING FEMALE INFANTICIDE – the Bengalis and Rajput's performed the maximum number of female infanticides. They used to consider the birth of a girl as bad luck and a burden until the act against female infanticide was passed in 1870. The act made it compulsory for all parents to register the birth of all babies and verification of female children for a few years in some orthodox areas. Due to the ban on female infanticide, there has been an increase in the girl ratio to 1020 females per 1000 males which were 941 females per 1000 males during our independence. The population of India has upgraded since the arrival of such strict laws. Society has eradicated the difference between boys and girls bringing equality.

·         WIDOW REMARRIAGE – Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was the pioneer of widow remarriage and legalized it in 1856. Many organizations and magazines were putting efforts in this direction to spread awareness amongst society. The right of widow remarriage was advocated by veterans like BM Malabari, GM Ranade, Narmad, Karsondas Mulji, etc. Due to this move, the position of women did not worsen after the death of her husband. She had a choice to begin a family again and live a normal life.

·         WOMEN EDUCATION – The Bethune school was one of the most powerful movements for women’s education in the 1850s. Other pioneers in this movement were IC Vidyasagar, Professor Karve, etc. They not only focused on education but also on women's health and health facilities. Due to these administrative measures, the literacy rate has increased to 74% in total and 65.5% literacy in females in the year 2011 from 12% in 1947. The health facility and awareness of women have also decreased the total fertility rate (TFR) to 2.1 in 2022 from 3.9 in 1990. The total fertility rate is the average number of children a woman can bear at her reproductive age. With awareness of health and need of the hour, women have upgraded themselves.

The ICHHORI website is bringing a breakthrough revolution in women-related health lifestyle issues, women's rights, etc.  It covers almost every topic a woman should know in any age group. Every question is answered in a lucid manner and breaks taboos, increasing awareness.


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