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In sociology and anthropology terms, social stratification is the hierarchical arrangement of social classes, castes, and divisions within a society. These hierarchies are not present in all societies, but are quite common in state-level societies (as distinguished from hunter-gatherer or other social arrangements). Stratification is a hierarchy of positions with regard to economic production which influences the social rewards to those in the positions. According to Peter Saunders, in modern Western societies, stratification depends on social and economic classes comprising three main layers: UPPER CLASS, MIDDLE CLASS, AND LOWER CLASS. Each class is further subdivided into smaller classes related to occupation. The term stratification derives from the geological concept of strata, or rock layers created by natural processes.




1. SLAVERY: Slavery still exists today. As many as 400 million people live under conditions that qualify as slavery, despite laws prohibiting it. In Mauritania, the Sudan, Ghana, and Benin, slavery exists much as it did 800 years ago. In other parts of the world, including Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, and Pakistan, debt slavery is common. Sex slavery, the forcing of girls into prostitution, is prevalent in Asia. 2. CASTE SYSTEM: A caste system is a social system based on ascribed statuses, which are traits or characteristics that people possess as a result of their birth. Ascribed statuses can include race, gender, nationality, body type, and age. A caste system ranks people rigidly. No matter what a person does, he or she cannot change castes. People often try to compensate for ascribed statuses by changing their nationality, lying about their age, or undergoing plastic surgery to alter their body type. In some societies, this strategy works; in others, it does not. The Indian caste system has existed for about 3,000 years. There were four original castes, and one caste so low that it was not even considered to be part of the caste system: The Brahman caste usually consisted of priests or scholars and enjoyed a great deal of prestige and wealth. The KSHATRIYA caste, or warrior caste, was composed of those who distinguished themselves in military service. The VAISHVA caste comprised two sets of peoplebusiness-people and skilled craftspeople. The SHUDRA caste consisted of those who made their living doing manual labor. The HARIJAN, Dalit, or Untouchable caste was thought to comprise only inferior people who were so repulsive that an individual who accidentally touched one would have to engage in extensive ritual ablutions to rid himself or herself of the contamination. 3. CLASS SYSTEM: In a class system, an individuals place in the social system is based on achieved statuses, which are statuses that we either earn or choose and that are not subject to where or to whom we were born. Those born within a class system can choose their educational level, careers, and spouses. Social mobility, or movement up or down the social hierarchy, is a major characteristic of the class system. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR FORMS OF STRATIFICATION: Primitive communalism characterized by a high degree of sharing and minimal social inequality. Slavery involving great social inequality and the ownership of some persons by others. Caste in which an individual is permanently assigned to a status based on his or her parents' status. Estate in which peasants are required by law to work land owned by the noble class in exchange for food and protection from outside attacks.

WHAT ARE WEBER'S THREE DIMENSIONS OF STRATIFICATION: Class or a set of people with similar amounts of income and wealth? Party or a set of people with similar amounts of power. Status group or a set of people with similar social prestige or positive regard from members of a society. WHAT ARE THE FIVE BASIC VIEWPOINTS ON WHY STRATIFICATION EXISTS: Natural inevitability which suggests that inequality exists because of natural differences in people's abilities and is a just system. Structural -functionalist which states that stratification is useful to society because it enhances stability and induces members of the society to work hard. Conflict which suggests that stratification occurs through conflict between different classes, with the upper classes using superior power to take a larger share of the social resources. Evolutionary which states that people will share enough resources to ensure the survival of the group until a surplus exists at which time power determines how the surplus is distributed. Symbolic Interactionist which calls attention to the importance of symbolic displays of wealth and power that influence one's definition of self and the importance of ideas in defining social situations. IN WHAT REGARD IS SOME STRATIFICATION INEVITABLE: Inequality may emanate from natural differences in people's abilities. What are the functionalist and conflict theories as to the reasons for stratification? Structural-functionalists believe that societies tend to be stable and are held together through consensus. Stratification provides an important function to society by aiding this process because it lessens conflict and provides structure. Conflict theorists believe that society tends toward conflict and change and that stratification system coerce the lower classes in order to benefit the upper classes.







KARL MARX: based his conflict theory on the idea that modern society has only two classes of people: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie are the owners of the means of production: the factories, businesses, and equipment needed to produce wealth. The proletariat are the workers. ACCORDING TO MARX, THE BOURGEOISIE IN CAPITALIST SOCIETIES EXPLOIT WORKERS. THE OWNERS PAY THEM ENOUGH TO AFFORD FOOD AND A PLACE TO LIVE, AND THE WORKERS, WHO DO NOT REALIZE THEY ARE BEING EXPLOITED, HAVE A FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS, OR A MISTAKEN SENSE, THAT THEY ARE WELL OFF. THEY THINK THEY CAN COUNT ON THEIR CAPITALIST BOSSES TO DO WHAT WAS BEST FOR THEM. Marx foresaw a workers revolution. As the rich grew richer, Marx hypothesized that workers would develop a true class consciousness, or a sense of shared identity based on their common experience of exploitation by the bourgeoisie. The workers would unite and rise up in a global revolution. Once the dust settled after the revolution, the workers would then own the means of production, and the world would become communist. No one stratum would control the access to wealth. Everything would be owned equally by everyone. Marxs vision did not come true. As societies modernized and grew larger, the working classes became more educated, acquiring specific job skills and achieving the kind of financial well-being that Marx never thought possible. Instead of increased exploitation, they came under the protection of unions and labour laws. Skilled factory workers and trades people eventually began to earn salaries that were similar to, or in some instances greater than, their middle-class counterparts.

MAX WEBER: took issue with Marxs seemingly simplistic view of stratification. Weber argued that owning property, such as factories or equipment, is only part of what determines a persons social class. Social class for Weber included power and prestige, in addition to property or wealth. People who run corporations without owning them still benefit from increased production and greater profits. Prestige and Property: Weber argued that property can bring prestige, since people tend to hold rich people in high regard. Prestige can also come from other sources, such as athletic or intellectual ability. In those instances, prestige can lead to property, if people are willing to pay for access to prestige. For Weber, wealth and prestige are intertwined. Power and Wealth: Weber believed that social class is also a result of power, which is merely the ability of an individual to get his or her way, despite opposition. Wealthy people tend to be more powerful than poor people, and power can come from an individuals prestige. DAVIS AND MOORE: THE FUNCTIONALIST PERSPECTIVE: Sociologists Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore believed that stratification serves an important function in society. In any society, a number of tasks must be accomplished. Some tasks, such as cleaning streets or serving coffee in a restaurant, are relatively simple. Other tasks, such as performing brain surgery or designing skyscrapers, are complicated and require more intelligence and training than the simple tasks. Those who perform the difficult tasks are therefore entitled to more power, prestige, and money. Davis and Moore believed that an unequal distribution of societys rewards is necessary to encourage people to take on the more complicated and important work that required many years of training. They believed that the rewards attached to a particular job reflect its importance to society. Melvin Tumin: Sociologist Melvin Tumin took issue with Davis and Moores theory. He disagreed with their assumption that the relative importance of a particular job can always be measured by how much money or prestige is given to the people who performed those jobs. That assumption made identifying important jobs difficult. Were the jobs inherently important, or were they important because people received great rewards to perform them? If society worked the way Davis and Moore had envisioned, Tumin argued, all societies would be meritocracies, systems of stratification in which positions are given according to individual merit. Ability would determine who goes to college and what jobs someone holds. Instead, Tumin found that gender and the income of an individuals family were more important predictors than ability or what type of work an individual would do. Men are typically placed in a higher social stratification than women, regardless of ability. A family with more money can afford to send its children to college. As college graduates, these children are more likely to assume high-paying, prestigious jobs. Conversely, people born into poverty are more likely to drop out of school and work low-paying jobs in order to survive, thereby shutting them off from the kinds of positions that are associated with wealth, power, and prestige



HUNTING AND GATHERING SOCIETIES: Hunting and gathering societies had little stratification. Men hunted for meat while women gathered edible plants, and the general welfare of the society depended on all its members sharing what it had. The society as a whole undertook the rearing and socialization of children and shared food and other acquisitions more or less equally. Therefore, no group emerged as better off than the others. HORTICULTURAL, PASTORAL, AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES: The emergence of horticultural and pastoral societies led to social inequality. For the first time, groups had reliable sources of food: horticultural societies cultivated plants, while pastoral societies domesticated and bred animals. Societies grew larger, and not all members needed to be involved in the production of food. Pastoral societies began to produce more food than was needed for mere survival, which meant that people could choose to do things other than hunt for or grow food. DIVISION OF LABOUR AND JOB SPECIALIZATION: Division of labour in agricultural societies led to job specialization and stratification. People began to value certain jobs more highly than others. The further someone was from actual agriculture work, the more highly he or she was respected. Manual labourers became the least respected members of society, while those engaged in high culture, such as art or music, became the most respected. INDUSTRIALIZED SOCIETIES: The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain in the mid-1700s, when the steam engine came into use as a means of running other machines. The rise of industrialization led to increased social stratification. Factory owners hired workers who had migrated from rural areas in search of jobs and a better life. The owners exploited the workers to become wealthy, making them work long hours in unsafe conditions for very low wages. The gap between the haves and the have-nots widened. THE IMPROVEMENT OF WORKING CONDITIONS: By the middle of the 1900s, workers had begun to secure rights for themselves, and the workplace became safer. Wages rose, and workers had something they had never had before: buying power. They could purchase homes, automobiles, and a vast array of consumer goods. Though their financial success was nothing compared to that of their bosses, the gap between the two was narrowing, and the middle class grew stronger. POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES: The rise of post-industrial societies, in which technology supports an information-based economy, has created further social stratification. Fewer people work in factories, while more work in service industries. Education has become a more significant determinant of social position. The Information Revolution has also increased global stratification. Even though new technology allows for a more global economy, it also separates more clearly those nations who have access to the new technology from those who dont.

Anthropologists tell us that social stratification is not the standard among all societies. John Gowdy writes: "Assumptions about human behaviour that members of market societies believe to be universal, that humans are naturally competitive and acquisitive, and that social stratification is natural, do not apply to many hunter-gatherer peoples." Non-stratified egalitarian or acephalous ("headless") societies exist which have little or no concept of social hierarchy, political or economic status, class, or even permanent leadership. KINSHIP-ORIENTATION: Anthropologists identify egalitarian cultures as "Kinship-oriented," because they value social harmony more than wealth or status. These are contrasted with Economicallyoriented cultures (including States) in which status and material wealth are prized, and stratification, competition, and conflict are common. Kinship-oriented cultures actively work to prevent social

hierarchies from developing which could lead to conflict and instability. They do this typically through a process of reciprocal altruism.

SOCIAL CLASS refers to the hierarchical distinctions (or stratification) between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. Usually most societies have some notion of social class [1], but concretely defined social classes are not found in every known type of human societies. Some traditional hunter-gatherer societies do not have social classes, often lack permanent leaders, and actively avoid dividing their members into hierarchical power structures.[2] In these societies, individuals are able to do the same activities. Since there is little labor specialization and no food surpluses are produced, there is little necessity or even opportunity for classes to form and develop. DETERMINANTS OF CLASS: In so-called non-stratified societies or acephalous societies, there is no concept of social class, power, or hierarchy beyond temporary or limited social statuses. In such societies, every individual has a roughly equal social standing in most situations. In societies where classes exist, one's class is determined largely by: personal or household per capita income or wealth/net worth, including the ownership of land, property, means of production, etc. occupation education and qualifications family background Language

CLASS STRATIFICATION is a form of social stratification. Class stratification is the tendency of classes to divide into separate classes. An economic and cultural rift usually exists between different classes. People are usually born into their class, though through social mobility allows for some individuals to be promoted to a higher class level or demoted to a lower class level. PROCESS OF CLASS STRATIFICATION: Usually, class stratification begins with people who are on the same economic and cultural level, with only a few people much more wealthier or less wealthier than others. As time goes on, wealth and status begins to concentrate around a small number of the population. As wealth concentrates more, pockets of people with less wealth may develop, or wealth may just move more and more into concentration until it is sharply imbalanced between rich and poor. As people spread out more from one another economically, classes are created. When a physical gap is added, a cultural rift between the classes comes into existence, an example being the perception of the well-mannered, "cultured" behavior of rich people versus the curt, "uncivilized" behavior of poor people. With the cultural divide, chances for classes to intermingle become less and less likely, and mythos becomes more and more common between them (i.e. "the wrong side of the railroad tracks"). The lower class loses more of its influence and wealth as the upper class gains more influence and wealth, further dividing the classes from one another. CLASS AND RACE: It can be argued that segregation between black and white ethnic groups is so strong in some countries that they are different classes, and thus that segregation is a form of class stratification. However, it should be noted that, though there is a definite divide in some countries between races, those countries will also have poor people of the "upper class" ethnicity.



D.N Majumdar defines tribe as


According to Ralph Linton tribe is A


L.M Lewis believes that tribal societies are small in scale are restricted in the spatial and temporal range of their social, legal and political relations and possess a morality, a religion and world view of corresponding dimensions. Characteristically too tribal languages are unwritten and hence the extent of communication both in time and space is inevitably narrow. At the same time tribal societies exhibit a remarkable economy of design and have a compactness and self-sufficiency lacking in modern society. A large section of tribal population depends on agriculture for survival. The examples of agricultural tribes are: Oraons, Mundas, Bhils, Santhals, Baigas, and Hos etc. The Toda furnish classic example of pastoral economy. Their social and economic organization is built around the buffaloes. They obtain their living through exchange. In some parts of India the tribal people are engaged in shifting cultivation. It is known by different names- Nagas call it Jhum,Bhuiya call it Dahi and Koman ,Maria of Bastar call it Penda, Khond refer to it as Podu and Saiga call it Bewar.Many subsidiary occupations like handicrafts are undertaken in the various tribal zones. These include basket-making, spinning and weaving. For e.g. Tharu depend upon furniture making, musical instruments, weapons, ropes and mats. The Korw and Agaria are well known iron-smelters producing tools for local use. CHARACTERISTICS OF TRIBAL SOCIETY: The tribe inhabits and remains within definite and common topography. The members of a tribe possess a consciousness of mutual unity. The members of a tribe speak a common language. The members generally marry into their own group but now due to increased contact with outsiders there are instances of tribal marring outside as well. The tribes believe in ties of blood relationship between its members. They have faith in their having descended from a common, real or mythical, ancestor and hence believe in blood relationships with other members. TRIBES

TRIBAL PRACTICES Joking relationships prevails in Matrilineal Hopi, Matrilineal Trobriand Islanders,Oraons and Baigas Group marriage prevail among Marquesans and Todas Couvade is practiced mainly in Khasi,Toda,Ho and Oraon Teknonymy in Khasis Ultimogeniture in Khasis Uxorilocal in Garos

Matrilineal societies are present among Moplahs,Hopi,Nayars Polyandry practices tribes are -Todas,Ladaki Botas and Nayars Polygamy is found among Eskimo tribes,Crows of North America Levirate marriages are found in Ahirs in Haryana,Kodagus of Mysore and Jats and Gujars of UP


Agriculture encompasses a wide variety of specialties and techniques, including ways to expand the lands suitable for plant raising, by digging water-channels and other forms of irrigation. Cultivation of crops on arable land and the pastoral herding of livestock on rangeland remain at the foundation of agriculture. In the past century there has been increasing concern to identify and quantify various forms of agriculture. In the developed world the range usually extends between sustainable agriculture (e.g. perm culture or organic agriculture) and intensive farming (e.g. industrial agriculture). The invention of plough marked the beginning of agrarian societies 6000 years back. ACCORDING TO COLLINS DICTIONARY OF SOCIOLOGY AGRARIAN SOCIETY REFER TO ANY FORM OF SOCIETY

societies as employing animal drawn ploughs to cultivate the land. The mode of production of the agrarian society that is cultivation distinguishes it from the hunter-gatherer society which produces none of its food. CHARACTERISTICS OF AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES: Cultivation of land through the plough as this invention enabled the people to make a great leap forward in food production. It increased the productivity of land through the use of animals and bringing to the surface the nutrients of the soil. Combining irrigation techniques with the use of the plough increased the productivity and the crop yield. It also brought fallow land under cultivation. The size of the agricultural societies increased as it lessened the burden of large number of people who engaged themselves in other activities. Agricultural societies lead to the establishment of more elaborate political institutions like formalized government bureaucracy assisted by the legal system. It also leads to the evolution of distinct social classes -those who own the land and those who work on the other's land. Land is the major source of wealth and is individually owned.

The term 'industrial societies' originated from Saint Simon who chose it to reflect the emerging central role of manufacturing industry in the 18th century Europe in contrast with previous pre-industrial and agrarian society. The Industrial mode of production began some 250 years ago in Britain and from there it spread to the entire world. In the simplest sense an industrial society is A SOCIAL SYSTEM

Industrial society makes urbanization desirable, in part so that workers can be closer to centers of production, and the service industry can provide labor to workers and those that benefit financially from them, in exchange for a piece of production profits with which they can buy goods. This leads to the rise of very large cities and surrounding suburban areas with a high rate of economic activity. These urban centers require the input of external energy sources in order to overcome the diminishing returns of agricultural consolidation, due partially to the lack of nearby arable land, associated transportation and storage costs, and are otherwise unsustainable.[3] This makes the reliable availability of the needed energy resources high priority in industrial government policies. Some theoreticians -- namely Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens and Manuel Castells -- argue that we are located in the middle of a transformation or transition from industrial societies to postmodern societies. The triggering technology for the change from an agricultural to an industrial organisation was steam power, allowing mass production and reducing the agricultural work necessary. Thus many industrial cities are built around rivers. Identified as catalyst or trigger for the transition to post-modern or informational society is global information technology. CHARACTERISTICS OF INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY: Industrial society is characterized by the use of external energy sources, such as fossil fuels, to increase the rate and scale of production. The production of food is shifted to large commercial farms where the products of industry, such as combine harvesters and petroleum based fertilizers, are used to decrease required human labour while increasing production. No longer needed for the production of food, excess labour is moved into these factories where mechanization is utilized to further increase efficiency. As populations grow, and mechanization is further refined, often to the level of automation, many workers shift to expanding service industries. Industrial society is associated with the emergence of industrialization which transformed much of Europe and United States by replacing essentially agriculture based societies with industrial societies based on the use of machines and non-animal sources of energy to produce finished goods. Industrial societies are in a continual state of rapid change due to technological innovations. The high level of productivity in industrial societies further stimulates population growth where people start living in cities and urban areas. New medical technologies and improved living standards serve to extend life expectancy. The division of labour becomes complex with the availability of specialized jobs. The statuses are achieved rather than ascribed. The family and kinship as social institutions are relegated to the background. It is becomes a unit of consumption. There is breakup of joint family system and nuclear family units become prominent. The influence of religion diminishes as people hold many different and competing values and beliefs. State assumes central power in the industrial societies. Industrialism is associated with the widening gap between two social classes of 'haves' and 'have nots'. The rich or the capitalist class is seen as exploiting class and the poor class known as working class is seen as exploited. However in most of the industrial societies there is steady reduction in social inequalities. Industrial societies have given rise to number of secondary groups such as corporations, political parties, business houses and government bureaucracies, cultural and literary associations. The primary groups tend to lose their importance and secondary groups come to the prominence.

The concept of Post-Industrial society was first formulated in 1962 by D. Bell, and subsequently elaborated in his seminal work 'Coming of Post Industrial Society' (1974). It describes the economic and social changes in the late twentieth century. A POST-INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY IS A SOCIETY IN WHICH

According to Bell in modern societies theoretical knowledge forms the 'axial principle of society and is the source of innovation and policy formulation. In economy this is reflected in the decline of goods production and manufacturing as the main form of economic activity, to be replaced by services. With regard to the class structure, the new axial principle fosters the supremacy of professional and technical occupations which constitute a new class, in all spheres economic, political and social decision making is influenced by new intellectual technologies and the new intellectual class. Other writers have also commented on the growing power of technocrats in economic and political life. G.K. Galbraith (1967) believes that power in the United States economy and therefore in American society as a whole lies in the hands of a technical bureaucracy of the techno-structure of large corporations, A Jouraine (1969) suggests similar technocratic control of French economic and political life.






Within the economy, there is a transition from goods production to the provision of services. Production of such goods as clothing and steel declines and services such as selling hamburgers and offering advice on investments increase. Although services predominate in a wide range of sectors, health, education, research, and government services are the most decisive for a postindustrial society. The importance of blue-collar, manual work (e.g., assembly line workers) declines and professional (lawyers) and technical work (computer programmers) come to predominate. Of special importance is the rise of scientists (e.g., specialized engineers, such as genetic or electric). Many mining towns and similar settlements face large scale unemployment as a result of the increasing importance of both theoretical knowledge with a simultaneous decline in manufacturing and increasing importance of environmentalism. Many industrial towns residents are on benefits, such as the dole. Instead of practical know-how, theoretical knowledge is increasingly essential in a post-industrial society. Such knowledge is seen as the basic source of innovation (e.g., the knowledge created by those scientists involved in the Human Genome Project is leading to new ways of treating many diseases). Advances in knowledge also lead to the need for other innovations such as ways of dealing with ethical questions raised by advances in cloning technology. All of this involved an emphasis on theoretical rather than empirical knowledge and on the codification of knowledge. The exponential growth of theoretical and codified knowledge, in all its varieties, is central to emergence of the post-industrial society. Post-industrial society seeks to assess the impacts of the new technologies and, where necessary, to exercise control over them. The hope is, for example, to better monitor things like nuclear power plants and to improve them so that accidents like that at Three-Mile Island or Chernobyl can be prevented in the future. The goal is a surer and more secure technological world. The doctrine of The precautionary principle is sometimes used in preventing



the worst aspects of new technologies, such as cloning and genetic engineering, when there is no evidence of their negative impact. To handle such assessment and control, and more generally the sheer complexity of postindustrial society, new intellectual technologies are developed and implemented. They include cybernetics, Game theory and Information theory. A new relationship is forged in the post-industrial society between scientists and the new technologies they create, as well as systematic technological growth, lies at the base of postindustrial society. This leads to the need for more universities and university-based student. In fact, the university is crucial to post-industrial society. The university produced the experts who can create, guide, and control the new and dramatically changing technologies.


THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT, OR SIMPLY THE ENLIGHTENMENT, IS A TERM USED TO DESCRIBE A TIME IN WESTERN PHILOSOPHY AND CULTURAL LIFE CENTERED UPON THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, IN WHICH REASON WAS ADVOCATED AS THE PRIMARY SOURCE AND LEGITIMACY FOR AUTHORITY. Developing more or less simultaneously in Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Portugal the movement spread through much of Europe, including the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Russia and Scandinavia as well as in America. It could be argued that the signatories of the American Declaration of Independence, the United States Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and the Polish-Lithuanian Constitution of May 3, 1791, were motivated by "Enlightenment" principles. The terminology ENLIGHTENMENT OR AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT does not represent a single movement or school of thought, for these philosophies was often mutually contradictory or divergent. The Enlightenment was less a set of ideas than it was a set of values. At its core was a critical questioning of traditional institutions, customs, and morals. Some classifications of this period also include the late seventeenth century, which is typically known as the Age of Reason or Age of Rationalism. This period overlapped the latter Age of Reason, the English Bill of Rights serving as an impetus for the trnasition. There is no consensus on when to date the start of the age of Enlightenment, and some scholars simply use the beginning of the eighteenth century or the middle of the seventeenth century as a default date. If taken back to the mid-1600s, the Enlightenment would trace its origins to Descartes' Discourse on the Method, published in 1637. At the other end, many scholars use the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars (180415) as a convenient point in time with which to date the end of the Enlightenment. Still others describe the Enlightenment beginning in Britain's Glorious Revolution of 1688 and ending in the French Revolution of 1789.


new economic, social and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world. At its most basic level, Modernism could be described as the experimentation and fragmentation of the human experience, characterised by deviations from the norms of society. Modernism rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and also that of the existence of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator. This is not to say that all Modernists or Modernist movements rejected either religion or all aspects of Enlightenment thought, rather that Modernism can be viewed as a questioning of the axioms of the previous age. Some commentators approach Modernism as an overall socially progressive trend of thought, that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve, and reshape their environment, with the aid of practical experimentation, scientific knowledge or technology. It is trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve and reshape their environment, with the aid of practical experimentation, scientific knowledge or technology. A salient characteristic of Modernism is self-consciousness. This often led to experiments with form, and work that draws attention to the processes and materials used (and to the further tendency of abstraction).



a reaction against Realism a break with traditional forms rejects society: traditional values and assumptions a sense of alienation, of loss, and of despair emphasis on the individual and inner being rather than the social being celebrates passion and will over reason and morality

asserts that individuals create the world in the act of perceiving it discusses the inadequacy of words and language a movement toward character complexity experiments with language a distortion of perception a rejection of causality and plot; unordered, discontinuous narratives


In the strictest sense, paganism refers to the authentic religions of ancient Greece and Rome as well as surrounding areas. It originated from the Neolithic (Stone Age) era. The term, pagan, is derived from the Latin word, PAGANUS, which means a country dweller. The pagan usually has a belief in many gods (polytheistic), but only one is chosen as the one to worship which represents the chief god and supreme godhead. THE TERM HAS VARIOUS DIFFERENT MEANINGS, THOUGH, FROM A WESTERN PERSPECTIVE, IT HAS MODERN CONNOTATIONS OF A FAITH THAT HAS POLYTHEISTIC, SPIRITUALIST, ANIMISTIC OR SHAMANIC PRACTICES, SUCH AS A FOLK RELIGION, HISTORICAL POLYTHEISTIC OR NEO-PAGAN RELIGION. As Christianity progressed into the present age, a pagan became referred to anyone not being a Christian, and paganism denoted a non-Christian belief or religion. If the religion did not fit into the Judeo-Christian-Islamic or Eastern mould, then one practicing that religion was said to be involved in paganism.

Since the later 20th century, "Pagan" or "Paganism" has become widely used as a self-designation by adherents of Neo-paganism. As such, various modern scholars have begun to apply the term to three separate groups of faiths: Historical Polytheism (such as Celtic polytheism and Norse paganism), Folk/ethnic/Indigenous religions (such as Chinese folk religion and African traditional religion), and Neo-paganism (such as Wicca and Germanic Neo-paganism).



Most religious traditions have subjugated womankind. They have been barred form any leadership, prevented from religious learning or even secular education, and forbidden to hold power, or sometimes even to speak. Even Buddhism has had difficulties with accepting any equality of womankind. The scholar of comparative religion, Mohan Momen, summarizes the situation in a critical manner: Religion has been an important source of laws and administrative structures that kept women in an inferior position in society. In Hindu law, Rabbinic law, Christian canon law and the Islamic Sharia, the testimony of a woman is either worthless or given less weight that of a man. Indeed, in many societies, women have been relegated to a position of virtual slavery. They have no rights or freedoms by custom or in law. Throughout their lives they are completely dependent on males. A quotation form the Hindu book, the laws of Manu, sums up the reality of the situation for most women in almost every society: In childhood, a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead, to her sons; a woman must never be independent. While of course, religion is not the sole factor responsible for the suppression of women, its nevertheless true that this social subjugation is underpinned by the authority of religion. Since religion is the source for the values and morality of a traditional society, religions doctrinal and moral attitude to women fashions the social milieu that justifies their subjugation. In addition, whether we consider suttee in India, clitoridectomy in Muslim North Africa or the witch-hunts of Europe and North America, it has been religious traditions that have sanctioned and given moral authority to violence towards women. Women have been excluded from religious learning. Women are forbidden to read and study the Vedas in classical Hinduism and the Talmud in Orthodox Judaism. In the United States, women were excluded from Christian theological faculties and seminaries until the middle of the nineteenth century. The religious hierarchy in most religions is male-dominated. Whether Hindu Brahmin, Buddhist monks, Zoroastrian mobbed, Jewish rabbis, Christian priests or Muslim ulema are considered, all are exclusively or predominantly male preserves. Even in Buddha himself permission for the setting up of n order of nuns, the Buddhist scriptures represent him as having been very reluctant to do so [.three times] saying, if women go forth under

the rule of the Dharma, this Dharma will not be long-enduring. He said that it would be like a blight descending upon a field of sugar cane. Eventually he relented, however, and allowed an order of nuns. However, the nuns were to remain subordinate to the monks in all ways .


In general, the traditional patriarchal religions are more misogynistic. Pagan and Earth centered religions not only treat women equally, but sometimes tend to be dominated by women. Early Christian, base on Roman paganism, treated women equally. Brutal Pauline Tertullian Christianity eradicated this tolerance. In all Muslim countries, women have been severely restricted rights and are deeply subjugated to man. Such states of affair are brought about by the superstitions found in world religions regarding men and women. The Abrahamic religions (Christian and Islam in particular) share inherited doctrines found in the Hebrew Scriptures that are highly negative of women. Many Muslims, for instance, are convinced that God takes an active interest in womens clothing. While it may seem harmless enough, the amount of suffering that this incredible idea has caused is astonishing. The rioting in Nigeria over 2002 Miss World Pageant claimed over two hundred lives; innocent men and women were butchered with machetes or burned alive simply to keep that troubled place free of women in bikinis. Similarly, the religious police in Mecca prevented paramedics and firefighters from rescuing scores of teenage girls trapped in a burning building. Because the girls were not wearing the traditional head covering that Koranic law requires.


PATRIARCHAL SYSTEM: A patriarchal society is one whereby men are the decision-makers and hold positions of power and prestige, and have the power to define reality and common situations. For instance, in our North American societies, decision-making is largely governed by electoral politics and corporate interests, where men are over-represented. Also, because most positions of power and prestige, such as doctor, lawyer, business executive and politician, are held by men, we would define our society as patriarchal. PATRIARCHY

It is also connected to economics in that patriarchal societies men will have greater power over the economy. In our society, because men have higher income and greater access to the economy, they are said to be dominant. Patriarchy can be enforced in a variety of ways, including intimidation of women through violence, sexual assault and other forms of harassment, and the discrediting of their efforts to organize and resist. Patriarchal societies are typically more authoritarian and rely heavily on legal-rational modes of organization, show stronger military implication and more reliance on police repression to impose authority. It is a society that tends to hold contempt for women and for her attempts to emancipate herself. In these societies, women are presented with an interpretation of the world made by men, and a history of the world defined by men's actions. For instance, in history we learn about war and read the stories of male writers, whereas the stories of women are scarcely told. This erasure of women's lives alienates women and fails to provide them with relevant role-models.

In contrast, matriarchal societies place women in central decision-making positions such as community leaders, where they play a central role in the community and in the society. In the few matriarchal societies that exist today it has been observed that the word rape does not exist, as women's rights are

central in these societies; sexuality is practiced freely and women are given space to express their creativity and participate in society.

MATRIARCHY is a term, which is applied to gynocentric form of society, in which the leading role is by the female and especially by the mothers of a community. Some authors consider it as a hypothetical form of human society. There exist many matriarchal animal societies including bees, elephants, and killer whales. The word matriarchy is coined as the opposite of patriarchy, from Greek matr "mother" and archein "to rule". Gynecocracy is sometimes used synonymously. INDIAN MATRILINEALITY Several communities in South India, especially in the state of Kerala, Meghalaya and region of Tamil Nadu practise matrilineality. The system of inheritance is known as Marumakkathayam. It is exceptional in the sense that it was one of the few traditional systems in western historical records of India that gave women liberty and right to property. Under this system, women enjoyed respect, prestige, and power similar to that recorded for the women of Ancient Egypt. In the matrilineal system, the family lives together in a tharavadu which is composed of a mother, her brothers and younger sisters, and her children. The oldest male member is known as the karanavar and is the head of the household, managing the family estate. Lineage is traced through the mother, and the children belong to the mother's family. All family property is jointly owned. In the event of a partition, the shares of the children are clubbed with that of the mother. The karanavar's property is inherited by his nephews and not his sons. - The Kerala rulers also followed the 'Marumakkathayam' system, where the throne is succeeded by the King's sister's children, rather than his own. - THE KHASIS have a matrilineal and Matriarchal society. Descent is traced through the mother, but the father plays an important role in the material, mental life of the family and social welfare. According to Khasi laws, a woman cannot be forced into marriage, she owns the children and properties. In Khasi tradition, the youngest daughter will also inherit the property. A woman may end a marriage at her will with no objection from her husband. The Khasi have an unusual dedication toward matrilineal customs, most notably similar to the Minangkabaus.

POLYANDRY (Greek: POLY- MANY, ANDROS- MAN) refers to a form of polygamy, or other sexual union, in which a woman is married to two or more husbands at the same time. Polygyny, on the other hand, refers to polygamy in which one man is married to two or more wives. The form of polyandry in which a woman is married to two or more brothers is known as fraternal polyandry, and it is believed by many anthropologists to be the most frequently encountered form.

Fraternal polyandry (from the Latin frater - brother) is a form of polyandry in which two or more brothers share one wife or more. It is also termed ADELPHOGAMY, but this term also has other meanings.Fraternal polyandry is found in certain areas of Tibet and Nepal, where polyandry is accepted as a social practice. The Toda people of southern India practice fraternal polyandry, but monogamy has become prevalent recently. Apart from the famous example of fraternal polyandry in the Mahabharata between the five Pandava brothers and Draupadi, there are other instances, both in Hindu history and folklore. In contemporary Hindu society, many social scientists have expressed a fear of critical compulsion of polyandry in the near future.


DIVISION OF LABOUR OR SPECIALIZATION is the specialization of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and roles, intended to increase the productivity of labour. Historically the growth of a more and more complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialization processes. Later, the division of labour reached the level of a scientifically-based management practice with the passes of time. In simple language, the term * we mean an arrangement whereby people perform different function at the same time. Though the term division of labour is applied to only to labour and is applied in the field of economics, yet in fact division of labour in modern society is not limited simply to the to labour but applies to all the factors of production and exists beyond the purely economic field. Division of labour is based on the principle of cooperation or interdependence. The different persons among whom the work is divided cooperate in the production of a thing, for example to make a chair, one group is engaged in making legs, another in making backs, another seats and still another joins them, and finally, there is a group of workers polishing the chairs. All of them cooperate and through their cooperation a chair is made. Division of labour is both a dissociating and integrating social principle. And the objective of the division of labour is that to improve the work pressure a redesigning of the whole management model has to be done to make the industry work more productive. The concept of bureaucracy formulated by the sociologist Max Weber was considered a positive attribute involving professionalism, clear division of labour and work roles that were independent of the individual. Article 39 (d) of the Constitution, says about the equal remuneration Act. It was enacted in 1976; it states the policy of the equal pay for equal work for men and women. Henry Fayols definition of management, states that the division allows the individual to build up experience and improve his skill and in a way he can be more productive.


Division of labour differentiate in the ideological basis can be referred to material ordering of roles, rights, and values in the family, the workplace, and the society that have their origins in male female sexual differences and specially in female reproductive capacity. The patriarchy system of male dominance over women historically has co-existed with modes of production, and that womens status has been affected by both the sexual division of labour and class divisions corresponding to modes of production. Today the term gender is used more broadly to denote the meanings given to masculine and feminine, asymmetrical power relations between the sexes, and the ways that men and women e differently situated in and affected by social process. The womens lack of economic power is the most important determinant of gender inequalities and then comes of marriage, parenthood and sexuality. A gender role is defined as a set of perceived behavioral norms associated particularly with males or females, in a given social group or system. It can be a form of division of labour by gender. The clearest exposition of the principles of gender division of labour across the full range of human societies can be summarized by a large number of logically complementary implicational constraints of the following form: if women of childbearing ages in a given community tend to do X (preparing soil for planting) they will also do Y (the planting) while for men the logical reversal in this example would be that if men plant they will prepare the soil.

The 'Cross Cultural Analysis of the Sexual Division of Labor by White, Brudner and Burton, using statistical entailment analysis, shows that tasks more frequently chosen by women in these order relations are those more convenient in relation to childrearing. This type of finding has been replicated in a variety of studies, including modern industrial economies. These entailments do not restrict how much work for any given task could be done by men or by women but are only least-effort or roleconsistent tendencies. THERE MAY BE THREE FORMS OF DIVISION OF LABOUR, SOCIAL DIVISION OF LABOUR: this means division into occupations: farmers, carpenters, weavers, teachers, priests, soldiers etc. TECHNICAL DIVISION OF LABOUR: this means division of labour within a particular enterprise. Thus, within a factory there are weavers, spinners, designers, accountants, manager and engineers. The work may be divided into complete tasks like spinning, weaving, bleaching, designing, finishing etc. or it may be divided into incomplete processes. It is that making of a pin in a modern factory is divided into 18 processes. Technical division of labour is a marked feature of the modern machine age. TERRITORIAL DIVISION OF LABOUR: also known as localization of industries. Certain regions and places come to specialize in the making of certain articles e.g. hosiery at Ludhiana, cotton textiles at Ahmadabad and Bombay, jute industry in Calcutta leather industry in Agra and Kanpur etc.





The right man in the right place. Under division of labour the chance is that each man will get the job for which he is best fitted. The work will be better done. The worker becomes an expert. Under the division of labour the worker repeats his task. By constant repetition he is bound to become expert in his task. He will be able to turn out better goods. There is an increase in skill and craftsmanship Heavy work taken over by machinery. Division of labour makes it possible for heavy work to be passed on to machinery. Only light works are done by workers so that there is less strain on their muscles. Less training required. As the worker has to do only a part of the job, he need to learn only that much. Long and costly training is rendered unnecessary. It will take long time for a man to learn how to make a complete chair but it will take him less time to learn low to polish it. Inventions. When a man is doing the same work over and over again some new ideas are bound to occur. This leads to many inventions. These inventions make for economic progress. Cheaper things. On account mass production made possible by division of labour and the use of machinery, cheaper things are turned out. Even poor persons can try them. Standard of living improves. Economy in the use of tools. It is not necessary is provide each worker with a complete set of tools. He needs only a few tools for the job he has to do. These tools are kept continuously employed. This is very economical. Saving in the time. The worker has no longer to move from one process to another. He is employed on the same process. He therefore, goes on work without loss of time.

THE DEMERITS OF DIVISION OF LABOUR ARE THE FOLLOWING Monotony. Doing the same work over and over again without any change produces mental fatigue. Work becomes joyless and monotonous. There is no pleasure in the job. The worker cannot be expected to take any interest. The quality of work suffers

Kills the creative instinct. Since many men contribute to the making from an article, none can say that he has made it. His creative instinct is not satisfied. The work gives him no pride and no pleasure since no worker can claim the product as his own creation. Loss of skill. The worker deteriorates in the technical skill. Instead of making the whole article, he is required just to repeat a few simple movements. The skill gradually dies out. Checks mobility. The worker is doing only a part of the job. He knows only that much and no more it may not be easy from him to find exactly the same job elsewhere, if he desires change. In this way the worker loses mobility. Checks development of personality. If the man has been making an eighteenth part of a pin, he becomes an eighteenth part of a man. A narrow sphere of work checks proper physical and mental development of the worker. Loses of sense of responsibility. None can be held responsible for bad production because nine makes the complete article. When the thing is bad, everybody tries to shift the responsibility to somebody else. Evils of factory system. Division of labour gives rise to the factory system which is full of evils. It spoils the beauty of the place all around, leads to exploitation of women and children and removes the personal factor in production and management. Problem of distribution. Under division of labour, many persons contribute to the production of an article. They must revive a due share of the product and it is not easy to determine this share. Thus the problem of distribution is made difficult. If one worker makes the whole article independently, he gets its value and there is no trouble. But division of labour has divided the community into two conflicting groups i.e. capital and labour. The gap between them is daily growing wider.


Gender is a social construct, a dichotomy, which exists in all societies and is present since human history. Yet all societies, all cultures, make social and symbolic distinctions between men and women, the species of those distinctions and expected gender based behaviours vary from one society to next. From the perspectives of ideas and beliefs, about males and females are structured such that males continue in a super ordinate position and females are consistently subordinated. Gender socialisation is strong and enduring. Children are socialised into gender roles early in life. Gender bias is so deeply ingrained in the system that the discrimination begins from the time a couple plans a baby. Today, science has advanced so far that it is possible to separate male and female sperm so as to predetermine the sex of a child. In some parts of the world the birth of a baby boy warrants a celebration whereas a baby girl may not be extended the same warm welcome. Despite the fact that India has crossed the billion marks in population, there will still be families with five daughters and the mother trying desperately to give birth to a son. Female infanticide, the patriarchal system, the purdah system, virginity everything comes under when we talk about gender studies. When we talk about women and equality, there is the thought of human dignity, and the idea it incorporates to equal worthof rich and poor, rural and urban, female and male. The freedom and opportunity that equal worth implies is widely violated on the grounds of sex, and many existing value systems deny liberty of choice. Developments in science, technology, knowledge, health, literacy, life expectancy and political participation are those that come first to the mind. But perhaps none has been so dramatic and pervasive in its impact as womens gradual acquisition of human rights and gender equality. Yet nowhere has actual equality has been achieved. The respective roles of men and women are still

undergoing profound change, in the process transforming the nature of the family, society, culture and politics along with the economics and the world of work. Gender inequality also assumes both material and ideological forms, the latter embedded in social norms and perceptions that are strongly influenced by the increasingly global mass media. The term Gender refers to the social constructs, the institutions that greatly influence our behaviour and interactions. When one speaks of gender roles, those are roles linked to sex and sexual stereotypes that are largely determined by the culture and the society in which ach of us lives. Gender is not and should not be used as the equivalent to female or a euphemism for sex. It is quite appropriate to seek both equality between men and women and gender equality, with the latter implying the roles that may well be different but are equal in status and social esteem. Sociologists talk about both male and female subcultures because although men and women live in the same culture area and are molded by the same over-all culture pattern of the area, each sex lives in a cultural world that is so distinct that no man can ever quite understands why a woman thinks, acts, and feels as she does in many situations. Womens way of dealing with woman is never understood by men, and mens ways of dealing with men are never quite understood by women. The reason lies in the subculture differences. Early in life, children in all culture areas are shaped to fit the male or female subculture. This is carefully controlled process of development, even though much of it is carried on so automatically that those teaching and those being taught scarcely know it is going on. A man who feels like, acts like, and wants to be a woman is likely to be a misfit.

Male and female sub-cultures may be very discriminatory. Women in many cultures are trained and taught to do the menial tasks to consider themselves subservient to men. Women are at times denied many of the privileges of men. In parts of the world women are confined to the home, rarely being allowed to go about and never without their husband. In some cultures they had to wear the veil when going out. No adult males except husband and sons were ever allowed to see the womans face. This practice still persists in many parts of the world. Having striven for equality, even so a girl is seldom given the freedom her brother gets, and the women still faces certain discriminations in the work world and in society.



It is a common practice that the girl child is being neglected, high mortality rate is seen, sex selective abortions. Indias adult literacy rate is 47.8 %, compared to the male rate of 73.4 %in 2004. Womens average annual earned income is almost three times less than the average for men. Dowry related violence is the most commonly reported domestic abuse. Some 6,787 cases of dowry-related deaths were recorded in the year 2005. More that two-thirds of married women in India between the ages of 15 to 49 are the victims of beating, rape or forced sex, according to a 2005 report by the United Nations Population Pund (UNDP). Sexual harassment known as eve teasing is also reportedly on the rise as more women enter the workforce.

GENDER BIAS IS A TERM COMMONLY USED TO DESCRIBE HOW FAR BEHIND WOMEN HAVE REMAINED IN SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVING THEIR LEVEL OF LIVING. THE LAW TREATS WOMEN AND MEN AS ENJOYING EQUAL RIGHTS. FOCUSSING ON GENDER ISSUES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SOCIAL SECTOR DEVELOPMENT MEANS EMPOWERING WOMEN AS AGENTS OF SOCIO ECONOMIC CHANGE. The Ninth Plan (1997-2002) specifically stipulated identifying Women Component Plans for which at least 30 per cent of funds should flow to women development schemes. There are women specific welfare schemes/ programmes that receive funds under the annual Budgetary allocations such as Mahila Samridhi Yojana, Balika Samridhi Yojana, Working Womens Hostels, Swashakti Project, and such other schemes 29 identifiable women specific schemes that received Rs. 856.64 crores allocation in 2000-01 Central Government Budget as against Rs. 605.46 crore in 1999-2000 Gender bias is a term commonly used to describe how far behind women have remained in seizing opportunities for improving their level of living. The Law treats women and men as enjoying equal rights. Focussing on gender issues in the context of the social sector development means empowering women as agents of socio-economic change. The NinthPlan (1997-2002) specifically stipulated identifying Women Component Plans for which at least 30 per cent of funds should flow to women development schemes. There are women specific welfare schemes/ programmes that receive funds under the annual Budgetary allocations such as Mahila Samridhi Yojana, Balika Samridhi Yojana, Working Womens Hostels, Swashakti Project, and other schemes 29 identifiable women specific schemes that received Rs. 856.64 crores allocation in 2000-01 Central Government Budget as against Rs. 605.46 crore in the year 1999-2000. Gender bias in school attendance rate by age of the children, National Family Health Survey (NFHS2),1998-99. Female deprivation in schooling is very high in the states of Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh,Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Orissa. The ratio of female to male school attendance indicates 20-40 percent shortfall of attendance for girls compared to boys in these 9 states. Comparatively, the shortfall in female schooling is 5-10 percent in the states of Assam, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. The natural biological laws of human reproduction of mankind for balancing its natural sex ratio, has been distorted by man-made norms, customs, traditions, religious beliefs and more recently by sophisticated medical technology to result lower sex ratio in India. PATHWAYS OF GENDER BIAS: Education and employment, Child mortality, Nutrition, Health care provision and Regional inequalities. A major area of concern and focus in India is the remarkable degree of within regional commonalties and across region contrasts in culture, gender bias, development and demography. North Indian kinship structure with exogamous marriage system favour strong 5 patriarchal value and lower female autonomy compared to south Indian kinship structure of endogenous marriage system.


Indian masculinities have been approached and studied from a variety of perspectives. Among these, gender perspective has clearly dominated the discourse and has gained much greater momentum particularly in the areas of reproductive and sexual health. Sex-determination tests leading to the extermination of female fetuses, declining sex-ratios unfavourable to women, continued high maternal mortality, rapidly changing sex-ratios of those infected with HIV disadvantageous to women, and increasing evidence of violence against women are few but strong pointers that have provided justification to examine the gender framework that defines the manner in which masculinities are constructed and manifested that impact women's health and well-being in the Indian society.


Discrimination toward or against a person of a certain group is the treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit. It can be behavior promoting a certain group (e.g. affirmative action), or it can be negative behavior directed against a certain group (e.g. redlining). Gender discrimination, or sex discrimination, may be characterized as the unequal treatment of a person based solely on that person's sex. While females have historically laid claim to the cry of unequal treatment, modern civil rights laws banning sex discrimination have been construed to protect males as well, especially in the area of employment. There is a lot of talk about sex differences and a lot of research and writing as well. The reality is that girls as a group and boys as a group are more alike than they are different. Indias Constitution contains a clause guaranteeing the right of equality and freedom from sexual discrimination but in spite of that discrimination against girl children and threatens on their life remain a global phenomenon that may occur before birth and continue beyond childhood into adulthood. Gender norms and gender structures are the main reasons for the discrimination and violence that many girls face. There are many reasons why these norms and structures exist, among them are: Son preference Because many cultures value boys more than girls, many girls do not even get the chance to be born, and those who are born often do not get the same access to food, shelter, education, and health care as boys. Child and forced marriages in order to dowry in a country like India; many girls are forced into marriages and into harmful sexual relations while they are still children. Harmful traditional practices Many families and communities still practice old traditions that have proved to be very harmful for girls, such as early marriage or Female Genital Mutilation. Sexual exploitation and slave-like practices Many girls are forced into prostitution and child labour long before they are physically and emotionally ready for sexual activity or any type of difficult or dangerous labour. The female as burden Girls many societies girls are considered as family burden due to due to acute poverty. The developing world is full of poverty-stricken families who see their daughters as an economic predicament. That attitude has resulted in the widespread neglect of baby girls in Africa, Asia, and South America. In many communities, it's a regular practice to breastfeed girls for a shorter time than boys so that women can try to get pregnant again with a boy as soon as possible. As a result, girls miss out on life-giving nutrition during a crucial window of their development, which stunts their growth and weakens their resistance to disease. Statistics show that the neglect continues as they grow up. Young girls receive less food, healthcare and fewer vaccinations overall than boys. Not much changes as they become women. Tradition calls for women to eat last, often reduced to picking over the leftovers from the men and boys. Lack of opportunities for ownership Existing laws in some countries make it difficult for many girls and women to own their own property, and to receive money from their parents (inheritance). Without money, many girls are forced to rely on men to survive. Tradition and religion Sometimes the expectations we have of girls are based on old traditions and on religious beliefs that can be very hard to change, especially if they are reinforced by local laws. Looking at girls as objects Girls, even at a very young age, are often viewed as objects, rather than human beings. As a result, girls are often marketed or sold as property. Dowry In developing countries, the birth of a girl causes great upheaval for poor families. When there is barely enough food to survive, any child puts a strain on a family's resources. But the monetary drain of a daughter feels even more severe, especially in regions where dowry is practiced. Sex Trafficking - Some families decide it's more lucrative to send their daughters to a nearby town or city to get jobs that usually involve hard labor and little pay. That desperate need for income

leaves girls easy prey to sex traffickers, particularly in Southeast Asia, where international tourism gorges the illegal industry. In Thailand, the sex trade has swelled without check into a main sector of the national economy. Families in small villages along the Chinese border are regularly approached by recruiters called "aunties" who ask for their daughters in exchange for six years' wages. Most Thai farmers earn only $150 a year. The offer can be too tempting to refuse. Labour For the young girls who escape these pitfalls and grow up relatively safely, daily life is still incredibly hard. School might be an option for a few years, but most girls are pulled out at age 9 or 10 when they're useful enough to work all day at home. Nine million more girls than boys miss out on school every year, according to UNICEF. While their brothers continue to go to classes or pursue their hobbies and play, they join the women to do the bulk of the housework


She was born in Bombay, India in 1864. Her mother was aged fourteen when she was married and fifteen when Rukhmabai was born. Two years later at age seventeen she was widowed. Although from a professional caste, remarriage for widows was not forbidden, and seven years after the death of her husband Rukhmabai's mother married Dr Sakram Arjun a Doctor and Professor of Botany at Grant medical College in Bombay. He was a supporter of social reform in India and encouraged Rukhmabai to continue to study. Rukhmabai's mother had given in to pressure from her own father to follow the Hindu custom of the time and at eleven years old Rukhmabai was married to Dadaji Bhikaji then aged nineteen but did not live with him, remaining with her mother and step father. In 1884 a long battle between Rukhmabai and Dadaji began when he attempted, in law, to assert his right for his wife to live with him. Rukhmabai defended herself by appealing to English Law which would not compel her to live with her husband and consummate the marriage against her wishes. The issues of Child marriage and the lack of education for girls and women hit the headlines in London and heated discourses on the legal questions as to whether morally superior English Law should override Hindu Law filled the latter pages of The Times for many months. In her defence Rukhmabai claimed that her husband was educationally and morally inferior to her, his health was poor, and that what he really wanted was financial gain. After an initial victory a second hearing found in favour of her husband and she was ordered by the court to take up residence with her husband or face a prison sentence. However by this time her case had been taken up vigorously not only by Indian Social Reformers but by many feminist women in London who, with the help of Dr Edith Pechey then Senior Physician at the new Cama Women's Hospital in Bombay, raised a fund to bring Rukhmabai to London. Here she entered the London School of Medicine for Women and qualified as a doctor in 1894. During this time Rukhmabai met and studied alongside Louisa Martindale, becoming a frequent visitor to Brighton and Mrs Martindale's house. She then returned to India where she continued to work as a doctor in Bombay. In 1901 on their World Tour the Martindale entourage visited Rukhmabai in India, spending the Diwali of 1900 with her family in Bombay. Rukhmabai became Chief Medical Officer of Hospitals in Surat and Rajkot, continuing to write against the harmful effects on women of purdah and life in the zenana. She did not marry; although Dadaji had finally accepted financial compensation not to continue with his claims, her legal situation in Hindu law as neither married nor unmarried, was never clear. She died in Bombay in 1955 aged ninety one.


Established social practice became the point of reference and legitimation of appropriate sexual behaviour. According research conducted by United Nations, Urban women in the younger cohort, regardless of socio-economic stratum, said that sexual activity should not be confined to procreation. They pointed out that it was a right acquired by couples and that their companions shared this view. Sexuality and procreation were two independent realities: the former was not subordinate. This dichotomy was not so clear to the older women. Even though some of them agreed with the younger cohort, the majority thought that to separate sexuality from procreation "is to go against God's will," although they said their husbands did not necessarily share this opinion. There was no such distinct difference in the rural cohorts. In general, the women interviewed did not think that couples should have sexual relations only when they wanted to have children. On the other hand, their subordination to the sexual demands of their husbands was manifested in expressions like "You are under the command of your husband," "from the time you marry, you are under this obligation," and "when they want it, you have to give it to them." The idea that the wife should be available to provide sexual services for her husband, without considering her own interests, emphasized the virtual absence of explicit female pleasure in sexuality. Of course these statements were affected by a double standard of sexual behaviour justified by the "different" nature of man and woman: "If you're a woman, yes you would have sexual relations only to have children], men no," and "they need to use your body." This study by UN also revealed that when asked if men agreed that sex should be solely for procreation, a majority of the group said no. The difference between male power and perceptions and female submission was reiterated. Some said that "they need a woman when they want it" and "they decide what to do." Analysing attitudes to sexuality and premarital sex together reveals a well-defined difference between cohorts. Older urban women maintained a definite moral perspective, considering sexual relations to be exclusively for legally married couples. Premarital sexual relations were seen as immoral. Moreover, deeper examination suggested that for them morality had specific cultural connotations which emphasized the differences between the genders and women's subordinate status. Younger urban women approved of sex for single women, but their opinions differed by stratum. Upper- and middle-strata women agreed with such relationships because they believed that women have the same rights as men, and that it was a good idea for couples to get to know each other before marriage. From this perspective these young women appraised sexual activity in a positive way, reinforcing equality between men and women. However, women from the lower stratum did not identify with sexual equality. For them, premarital sex was conditional on contraception, since they thought that this was a situation in which they ran a high risk of being cheated by their companion, even to the extent of being rejected if they got pregnant. Two-thirds of all the women in the rural area disapproved of premarital sex. The others, mostly older women in the middle and upper strata, were not so critical. Although ethical and moral considerations were mentioned, fear of social sanctions and distrust of men were more important factors. Of course,

the social sanctions only operated against women. They distrusted men as they may "ridicule you," or "toss you on the junk pile," or "trick" women with whom they had sex without any formal agreement. In fact the great majority of women did not believe men and women had equal rights to engage in premarital sex. Younger rural women from the lower and middle strata rejected the idea unanimously. Few of the older rural women from the upper stratum claimed to be in agreement. By and large, they emphasized the double standard of sexual behaviour - "The woman should be more sensible," "a woman is faithful to one man only," or "a woman should be careful and control herself" - while men were considered "rovers" or "tom-cats": "The man has a thousand times more freedom; they're not criticized." However, there were older women who thought that the same standards should apply to both women and men: "We should have this freedom because we are human beings equal to men. But for us, the women, we are branded for any little thing." "We women have equal rights to those of men! It's just that unfortunately we have been denied this freedom to define our own lives, have our relationships."


Sexism against women came about because of a patriarchal society that has been run, influenced, and dominated by males. Gender inequality starts right from the home, so family is also a contributor to the unequal treatment of women in society. In most families, the male child has more privileges than the female child. There are inequalities against women inherent in the laws of the land. Laws that help women fight against domestic violence, violence against women such as rape and sexual harassment have been later developments, after women had fought for these basic human rights themselves. Political representation of women is also a rather recent development because governments are largely patriarchal. Media portrays women as objects of sexual exploitation and sources of male pleasure, such as in advertising or pornography. The glass ceiling in workplaces is proof that women have to struggle to establish their presence and worth in the realm of employment. Religion is a huge culprit in the discrimination against women. All the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are patriarchal, with God having the sex designation of male.

The renunciation of physical pleasure; for example, in eating, drinking, sexuality, and human company. Discomfort or pain may be sought, often for religious reasons. The most acute asceticism is the self-mortification of some Hindu saints and Islamic fakirs; the Buddhists and Persian Sufis emphasized the uprooting of worldly thoughts by meditation. Asceticism has from the beginning played an important part in Christian life, especially in monasticism. Opposition to it reached its height in the Reformation. The reasons for asceticism vary: some Christian asceticism has been in order to share some of the sufferings of Christ; frequently it is undertaken in order to discipline the body and thereby learn to ignore bodily demands when meditating. In Buddhism, Prince Siddhartha, the Buddha, tried extreme asceticism before he reached enlightenment, to the extent of living on one grain of rice a day, but found that it did not bring him enlightenment. He later taught the Middle Way, which entails

moderation and occasional fasting, as a path to enlightenment. Yoga is a Hindu practice aimed at religious development through physical discipline, with the aim of detaching the soul from the body, which tends to hold back spiritual development. Some Chinese ascetic practices in the past were part of a quest for physical immortality. Chinese Taoist monks still run great distances up steep mountains as part of their training.


Feminism is the belief that women should have equal political, social, sexual, intellectual and economic rights to men. It involves various movements, theories, and philosophies, all concerned with issues of gender difference, that advocate equality for women and that campaign for womens rights and interests. Feminism, movement for the political, social, and educational equality of women with men; the movement has occurred mainly in Europe and the United States. It has its roots in the humanism of the 18th century. And in the Industrial Revolution. Feminist issues range from access to employment, education, child care, contraception, and abortion, to equality in the workplace, changing family roles, redress for sexual harassment in the workplace, and the need for equal political representation According to Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker, the history of feminism can be divided into three waves. The first wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was in the 1906s and 1970s, and the third extends from the 1990s to the present.

FIRST WAVE: First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the 19th century

and early 20th century in the United Kingdom and the United States. Originally, it focussed on the promotion of equal contract and property rights for women and the opposition to chattel marriage and ownership of married women and their children by their husbands. However, by the end of the 19th century, activism focused primarily on gaining political power, particularly the right to suffrage. Yet, freminists such as Voltairine de Cleyre and Margaret Sanger were still active in campaigning for womens sexual, reproductive and economic rights at this time. In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who owned houses in Britain. In 1928 this was extended to all women over twenty-one. In the US leaders of this movement included Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who each campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing womens right to vote. American first-wave feminism involved a wide range of women, some belong to conservative Christian groups (such as Frances Willard and the Womans Christian Temperance Union), others resembling the diversity and radicalism of much of second-wave feminism (such as Matilda Joslyn Gage and the National Woman Suffrage Association). American first-wave feminism is considered to have ended with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1919), granting women the right to vote in all states. The term first wave was coined retrospectively after the term second-wave feminism began to be used to describe a newer feminist movement that focused as much on fighting social and cultural inequalities as political inequalities. The first wave of feminists, in contrast to the second wave, focused very little on the subject of abortion. In general, they were against the concept.

SECOND WAVE: Second-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity beginning in the
early 1960s and lasting through the late 1980s. The scholar Imelda Whelehan suggests that the second wave was a continuation of the earlier phase of feminism involving the suffragettes in the UK and USA. Second-wave feminism has continued to exist since that time and coexists with what is termed third-wave feminism. The scholar Estelle Freedman compares first and second-wave feminism saying that the first wave focused on rights such as suffrage, whereas the second wave was largely concerned with other issues of equality, such as ending discrimination. THE FEMINIST ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR CAROL HANISCH COINED THE SLOGAN "THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL" WHICH BECAME SYNONYMOUS WITH THE SECOND WAVE. SECOND-WAVE FEMINISTS SAW WOMEN'S CULTURAL AND POLITICAL INEQUALITIES AS INEXTRICABLY LINKED AND ENCOURAGED WOMEN

In 1946 the UN Commission on the Status of Women was established to secure equal political rights, economic rights, and educational opportunities for women throughout the world. In the 1960s feminism experienced a rebirth, especially in the United States. The National Organization for Women (NOW), formed in 1966, had over 400 local chapters by the early 1970s. NOW, the National Women's Political Caucus, and other groups pressed for such changes as abortion rights, federally supported child care centres, equal pay for women, the occupational upgrading of women, the removal of all legal and social barriers to education, political influence, and economic power for women.

WOMEN'S LIBERATION IN THE USA: The phrase "Womens Liberation" was first used in the
United States in 1964 and first appeared in print in 1966. By 1968, although the term Womens Liberation Front appeared in the magazine Ramparts, it was starting to refer to the whole womens movement. Bra-burning also became associated with the movement, though the actual prevalence of bra-burning is debatable. One of the most vocal critics of the women's liberation movement has been the African American feminist and intellectual Gloria Jean Watkins (who uses the pseudonym "bell hooks") who argues that this movement glossed over race and class and thus failed to address "the issues that divided women." She highlighted the lack of minority voices in the women's movement in her book Feminist theory from margin to center (1984). THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE: Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) criticized the idea that women could only find fulfillment through childrearing and homemaking. According to Friedan's obituary in the The New York Times, The Feminine Mystique ignited the contemporary women's movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world and is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century. In the book Friedan hypothesizes that women are victims of a false belief system that requires them to find identity and meaning in their lives through their husbands and children. Such a system causes women to completely lose their identity in that of their family. Friedan specifically locates this system among post-World War II middle-class suburban communities. At the same time, America's post-war economic boom had led to the development of new technologies that were supposed to make household work less difficult, but that often had the result of making women's work less meaningful and valuable.


Third-wave feminism began in the early 1990s, arising as a response to perceived failures of the second wave and also as a response to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second wave. THIRD-WAVE FEMINISM SEEKS TO CHALLENGE OR AVOID WHAT IT DEEMS THE SECOND WAVE'S ESSENTIALIST DEFINITIONS OF FEMININITY, WHICH (ACCORDING TO THEM) OVER-EMPHASIZE THE EXPERIENCES OF UPPER MIDDLE-CLASS WHITE WOMEN. A post-structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality is central to much of the third wave's ideology. Third-wave feminists often focus on "micro-politics" and challenge the second wave's

paradigm as to what is, or is not, good for females. The third wave has its origins in the mid-1980s. Feminist leaders rooted in the second wave like Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Chela Sandoval, Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde,Maxine Hong Kingston, and many other black feminists, sought to negotiate a space within feminist thought for consideration of race-related subjectivities. Third-wave feminism also contains internal debates between difference feminists such as the psychologist Carol Gilligan (who believes that there are important differences between the sexes) and those who believe that there are no inherent differences between the sexes and contend that gender roles are due to social conditioning. With the leadership of women such as Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem, the Equal Rights Amendment was pushed through Congress in 1972, but by 1982 it fell short of ratification. While Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibited discrimination based on sex, the Roe v. Wade court decision, legalizing abortion, energized an antiabortion, antifeminist backlash. Nevertheless, the movement begun in the 1960s resulted in a large number of women moving into the workplace (59.8% of civilian women over age 16 were working in 1997, compared to 37.7% in 1960) and in broad changes in society.




It is also known as mainstream feminism asserts the equality of men and women through political and legal reform. It is an individualistic form of feminism and theory, which focuses on womens ability to show and maintain their equality through their own actions and choices. LIBERAL FEMINISM LOOKS AT

Liberal feminism tends to have a neutral vision towards different gender. According to liberal feminists, all women are capable of asserting their ability to achieve equality; therefore it is possible for change to happen without altering the structure of society. Issues important to liberal feminists include reproductive rights and abortion access, sexual harassment, voting, education, fair compensation for work, affordable childcare, affordable health care, and bringing to light the frequency of sexual and domestic violence against women. SUSAN WENDELL, WHO IS NOT A LIBERAL FEMINIST HERSELF, PROCLAIMED THAT CONTEMPORARY LIBERAL FEMINISM IS "COMMITTED TO MAJOR ECONOMIC RE-ORGANIZATION AND CONSIDERABLE REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH, SINCE ONE OF THE MODERN POLITICAL GOALS MOST CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH LIBERAL FEMINISM IS EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY WHICH WOULD UNDOUBTEDLY REQUIRE AND LEAD TO BOTH." LIBERAL FEMINISM WORKS FOR: Liberal feminists generally work for the eradication of institutional bias and the implementation of better laws. The school of Liberal Feminism also placed emphasis on the role of the individual, ideas, education, and law. Since laws and ideas can be changed, their political action took the form of lobbying to remove sex discrimination in the legal system, and education in order to bring about a

more gender equal upbringing of children, and reform of the school system to teach the values of gender equity, as in female principals acting as role models for young school girls. Liberal feminists reject the views of the radical feminists and socialist feminists in not supporting revolution against capitalism or patriarchy as systems of oppression/exploitation. In the United States, liberal feminists have historically worked for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment or Constitutional Equity Amendment, in the hopes it will ensure that men and women are treated as equals under the democratic laws that also influence important spheres of women's lives, including reproduction, work and equal pay issues. LIBERAL FEMINISTS GOALS: Constitutional Equality Amendment Eradication of workplace discrimination Reproductive issues and abortion access Legal recognition of same-sex marriages Working for peace; opposition to wars Ending violence against women Mothers' economic Rights Gay and lesbian rights Combating racism Economic justice Global feminism Women's health Media activism Social Security Ecofeminism




According to the theory, FEMINISM is an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. However, there are many different kinds of feminism. Feminists disagree about what sexism consists in, and what exactly ought to be done about it; they disagree about what it means to be a woman or a man and what social and political implications gender has or should have. The school states that law is predominantly a product of males and therefore has a patriarchal character. The purpose of feminist theory is to identify and articulate the perspectives, needs and rights of women. Feminism is divided except for one premise: the general neglect by male-dominated jurisprudence of the values, fears, and harms experienced by women. According to Marxist theory, the individual is heavily influenced by the structure of society, which in all modern societies mean a class structure; that is, people's opportunities, wants and interests are seen to be shaped by the mode of production that characterizes the society they inhabit. Marxist feminists see contemporary gender inequality as determined ultimately by the capitalist mode of production. Gender oppression is class oppression and women's subordination is seen as a form of class oppression which is maintained (like racism) because it serves the interests of capital and the ruling class. Marxist feminists have extended traditional Marxist analysis by looking at domestic labour as well as wage work in order to support their position. Radical Women, a major Marxist-feminist organization, bases its theory on Marx' and Engels' analysis that the enslavement of women was the first building block of an economic system based on private property. They contend that elimination of the capitalist profit-driven economy will remove the motivation for sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms of oppression. SOLUTION: MARXIST-FEMINISM FOCUS ON DESTRUCTION OF CAPITALISM AS WAY TO LIBERATE WOMEN AND STATES THAT CAPITALISM, WHICH GIVES RISE OF ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE, IS THE ROOT OF WOMEN'S OPPRESSION.



CAUSES FOR THE SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS REFORM MOVEMENT POLITICAL UNITY : India was politically united due to the expansion and consolidation of British rule. It led to the understanding of many common problems of the Indians. The nature of the British rule provoked many young Indians to find out the causes of their misery and degradation. REACTION AGAINST THE PROPAGANDA OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES: The Christian missionaries made all possible attempts to spread Christianity particularly among the poor and the oppressed. Educational institutions, hospitals, charity services and official support were also made use for this purpose. Therefore, both the Hindus and the Muslims made efforts to protect their religions. CONTRIBUTION OF FOREIGN SCHOLARS: Many western scholars like Max Muller and William Jones rediscovered Indias past. They studied the scholarly works of Indians of the ancient period. They brought to light the rich cultural heritage of India which was even superior to the western culture. They translated many literary and religious texts. These works received worldwide recognition. It made the educated Indians develop faith in their culture. They wanted to establish the superiority of Indian culture against the western culture. INDIAN PRESS: The Europeans introduced the printing press in India. It made possible the appearance of many newspapers and magazines. Books were also published in different Indian languages. Mostly their subject matter was Indian. It certainly helped to open the eyes of the educated Indians with regard to the national heritage and glory. Therefore they started to work for the revival of Indian culture. WESTERN EDUCATION: The spread of western education led to the spread of the western concepts of democracy, liberty, equality and nationalism. The Indians who went abroad came in direct contact with the working of these concepts. After their return they were pained to see the lack of awareness among the Indians about such concepts. They did the spade work for the spread of such ideas.


The Brahmo Samaj was established by Raja Rammohan Roy in 1828. He was born in a Brahmin family of Bengal. He learnt many languages like Arabic, Sanskrit, Persian, English, French, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He also studied several religious philosophies like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sufism. His primary aim was to reform the Hindu society and religion. He wrote a number of books in Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian and English. Precepts of Jesus Christ, the Guide to Peace and Happiness are some of them. He started newspapers one in Bengali, and the other in Persian. He was given the title of Raja and sent to England by the Mughal Emperor Akbar II as his envoy. The Brahmo Samaj was an assembly of all those who believed in a universal religion based on the principle of one Supreme God. Raja Rammohan Roy condemned idol worship, rites and rituals. But he never lost his faith in Hinduism and the Vedas. The Brahmo Samaj condemned caste, untouchability, the practice of Sati and image worship. In order to improve the position of women Raja Rammohan Roy and Lord William Bentinck tried to abolish Sati. Bentinck declared in 1829 that the practice of Sati as an offence, punishable with death sentence. The Brahmo Samaj also opposed child marriage and polygamy. It supported widow remarriage. Due to the efforts of Keshab Chandra Raja Rammohan Roy 52 Sen, one of the leaders of Brahmo Samaj, an Act was passed in 1872. It abolished polygamy and childmarriage. The Act also supported intercaste marriage and widow remarriage. After the death of Raja Rammohan Roy, the work of the Samaj was carried by great men like Keshab Chandra Sen and Devendranath Tagore.


Swami Dayananda Saraswathi started the Arya Samaj in 1875. He was born at a small town in Gujarat in a conservative Brahmin family. His childhood name was Mul Shankar. He met Swami Vrajanand at Mathura. He became the disciple of Vrajanand. There he studied Vedas. He devoted his life to the propagation of the Vedas. He wanted to reform the Hindu Society. According to Dayananda Saraswathi the Vedas contained all the truth. His motto was Go back to the Vedas. His book Sathyartha Prakash contains his views about Vedas. In the field of religion Arya Samaj opposed idol worship, ritualism, animal sacrifice, the idea of heaven and hell and the concept of fatalism. Dayananda Saraswathi started Suddhi movement to reconvert the Hindus who had been converted to other religions earlier. By his efforts, large number of people was taken back within the fold of Hinduism. The Arya Samaj provided useful service to Hindu society. It opposed child marriage, polygamy, purdah system, casteism and the practice of Sati. The Samaj insisted the education of the women and upliftment of the depressed classes. Intercaste marriages and interdining were encouraged. The Samaj established a number of educational institutions in India particularly in the North. Gurukulas and Kanya Gurukulas provide education mostly on Sanskrit, the Vedas and Ayur Vedas. Dayanand AngloVedic (DAV) Schools and Colleges provide modern education in humanities and sciences. His followers Lala Lajpat Rai, Lala Hansraj and Pandit Guru Dutt propagated the ideas of the Arya Samaj. Many Indian national leaders like Bala Gangadhara Tilak and Gopala Krishna Gokhale were deeply influenced by the philosophy and principles of the Arya Samaj.


The word theosophy has been coined by combining two Greek words Theos and Sophos. Theos means God and Sophos means wisdom. Therefore theosophy means knowledge of God. In Sanskrit it is called Brahma Gyan. The society was first established by Madame Blavatsky and Colonel H.S. Olcott in the United States of America. They were inspired by Indian thought and culture. Then they shifted the headquarters of the society to Adyar in Chennai. The main principles of the Theosophical Society: They are 1. To form an organization of all people on the basis of fraternity, 2. To study ancient religion, philosophy and science and 3. To find out the laws of Nature and development of divine powers in man. Mrs. Annie Besant, a prominent member of this Society came to India in 1893. She became the President of this society. She devoted herself to the revival of Hindu religion. Her activities in the field of education were more significant. She founded the Central Hindu College at Benares which was ultimately merged with the Benares Hindu University. Her paper New India spread the theosophical ideas. Later she started the Home Rule Movement to give momentum to the national movement in India.


Another important reformer of the 19th century was Rama Krishna Paramahamsa. He was a priest in a temple of Kali at Dakshineswar near Kolkata. He had no formal education. However, he won the hearts of all who gathered around him by his simplicity of character and homely wisdom. He had deep faith in the basic truth of all religions. He preached the unity of all religions. He explained the principles contained in the Vedas and Upanishads through simple stories, called parables. He stressed that every individual is a part of God. Therefore, according to him service to man means service to God.

The credit of propagating his ideas goes to his great disciple, Swami Vivekananda. Vivekanandas childhood name was Narendra Nath. He was educated in English schools and graduated himself. He studied the works of the western philosophers. Once he went to meet Ramakrishna in the Kali Temple. He was attracted by him. From that time onwards he moved closer with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. After the death of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda carried the messages of his master all over India. His eloquence and personality endeared both Princes and Peasants around him. According to Vivekananda, The best way to serve God is to serve the poor and the downtrodden. It became his motto. He participated in the World Religious Congregation held at Chicago in the United States of America in 1893. He started his speech by addressing the audience with the words, Brothers and Sisters of this universe. Vivekananda raised the prestige of Indian culture and religion in the eyes of the world. His speeches at Chicago and other places in the United States of America and the United Kingdom brought him fame and friends. Ramakrishna Mission was established in 1897 by Swami Vivekananda at Belur near Kolkata. It has branches all over India and the other parts of the world. The Missions motto is Service to humanity. It serves for the education, upliftment of women, and removal of poverty among the poor and downtrodden. The Mission has opened Rama Krishna Paramahamsa Swami Vivekananda 55 many schools, technical institutions, Orphanages and hospitals. It also rendered service to the people in times of distress caused by natural calamities like flood and famine.

For a long time, the Muslims remained outside the influence of western education and the British rule. Reform movements among the Muslim community began in the later half of the 19th century. They aimed at the spread of modern education and removal of social abuses like the Purdha System and polygamy. In the beginning Mohammeden Literary Society of Kolkata was founded in 1863 by Nawab Abdul Latif. It played an important role in the spread of education among the Muslims and started a number of schools in Bengal.


The most important movement for the spread of modern education and social reforms among the Muslims was started by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. He had been in the service of British Government as a judicial officer. He remained loyal to them during the revolt of 1857. He insisted on the co-operation of the Muslims with the British Government. So he opposed the Indian National Congress. He believed that the Muslims would be affected if they started taking part in political agitation. Though Syed Ahmed Khan opposed the Indian National Congress, he insisted the unity between the Hindus and Muslims. He viewed that both the Hindus and the Muslims belong to the same country and the progress of the country depend on their unity. In 1864 Sir Syed Ahmed Khan started a school at Ghazipur. It was later called as the Scientific Society. The Society translated many Sir Syed Ahmed Khan 56 scientific works into Urdu and published them. His greatest achievement was the establishment of the Mohammeden Anglo Oriental College (MAO) at Aligarh in 1875. In course of time, this became the most important educational institution of Indian Muslims. It later developed into the Aligarh Muslim University. The reform movement started by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was called the Aligarh Movement. He was in favour of the abolition of Purdah and education of women. He propagated his views through his magazine called Tahzil-ud-Akhlaq (Reform of Morals). A large number of societies were started for the service of the Muslim community.


Dadabai Naoroji and Naoroji Furdoonji were the pioneers of religious and social reform among the Parsi community. For the progress of women and the spread of modern education they, together, started a journal Rast Goftar. Another important social reformer in the Parsi community was Sorabjin Bengali. Among the Sikhs, the movement for reform was started by the Singh Sabhas. They were started at Amristar and Lahore. The two Sabhas merged together and played an important role in the spread of education. The Khalsa College was founded at Amristar in 1892 and many schools were also started. In the early decades of the 20th century, the Gurudwaras (the places of worship for the Sikhs) were under the control of priests and Mahants. They treated them as their private property. Both Shiromany Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee and the Akali Dal party aimed at handing over the control of the Gurudwaras to the representative of the Sikh community. The leaders of the freedom movement supported them. In 1925 a law was passed which gave the right of managing the Gurudwaras to the Shiromany Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee. EFFECTS OF THE REFORM MOVEMENTS 1. The reform movements brought about remarkable changes in the society and religion. Initially the great changes affected a small group of people, but gradually 2. these ideas spread among many sections of the people, 3. The reform movements strengthened the Hindu and Muslim religions and made 4. efforts to remove social evils among them, 5. The educated Indians started to think reasonably, 6. The reform movements helped in the revival of the past glory. They also helped in making up of a modern India, 7. It led to the progress of literature in different regional languages, 8. The caste system began to lose its hold on the society, 9. There was a significant achievement in the field of emancipation of women. Some legal measures were introduced to raise their status, 10. To travel abroad, which was considered as a sin before, was accepted, 11. The reform movements created the rise of a middle class which consisted of the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the scientists, and the journalists who helped in the progress of India in different fields and 12. The reform movements also contributed for the growth of Indian Nationalism as the reform activities united the people all over India and created a feeling of oneness.


THE TERM GENDER is used to describe a set of qualities and behaviours expected from men and women by their societies. A person's social identity is formed by these expectations. These expectations stem from the idea that certain qualities, behaviour, characteristics, needs and roles are natural' for men, while certain other qualities and roles are natural' for women. Gender is not biological girls and boys are not born knowing how they should look, dress, speak, behave, think or react. Their "gendered" masculine and feminine identities are constructed through the process of socialisation, which prepares them for the social roles they are expected to play. These social roles and expectations differ from culture to culture and at different periods in history. GENDER IDENTITY [known as core gender identity] is how a person identifies him/her self in terms of their gender. Gender identity is not necessarily based on the person's sexual orientation. The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, Plans and programmes have aimed at womens advancement in different spheres. From the Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-78) onwards has been a marked shift in the approach to womens issues from welfare to development. In recent years, the empowerment of women has been recognized as the central issue in determining the status of women. The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women. The 73rd and 74th Amendments (1993) to the Constitution of India have provided for reservation of seats in the local bodies of Panchayats and Municipalities for women, laying a strong foundation for their participation in decision making at the local levels. India has also ratified various international conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights of women, viz., and the ratification of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993. The Mexico Plan of Action (1975), the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies (1985), the Beijing Declaration as well as the Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome Document adopted by the UNGA Session on Gender Equality and Development & Peace for the 21st century, titled "Further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action" have been unreservedly endorsed by India for appropriate follow up. The Policy also takes note of the commitments of the Ninth Five Year Plan and the other Sectoral Policies relating to empowerment of Women. However, there still exists a wide gap between the goals enunciated in the Constitution, legislation, policies, plans, programmes, and related mechanisms on the one hand and the situational reality of the status of women in India, on the other. Gender disparity manifests itself in various forms, the most obvious being the trend of continuously declining female ratio in the population in the last few decades. Social stereotyping and violence at the domestic and societal levels are some of the other manifestations. Discrimination against girl children, adolescent girls and women persists in parts of the country.


The State has fought against child marriage since the 19th century and the legal age of marriage for girls has been raised continuously: from 12 in 1891, 14 in 1929, 15 in 1955, and finally to 18 in 1976. However, a high percentage of women married before the age of 20 shows that the law is not respected. An estimated 30 percent of girls between 15 and 19 years of age are currently married, divorced or widowed. What is more, in rural areas in the North, more than 50% of women are believed to be married even before the age of 15 (2004). Polygamy is legal for Muslims and it also exists to some extent among Hindus, particularly in cases where the first wife has not given birth to any sons. Repudiation is also legal for Moslems. For persons of other religious believes, the divorce proceedings have been equal for men and women since 1976. Divorce by mutual consent is legal but in reality, any woman who initiates a divorce is condemned by the public opinion. For that reason, divorces are very rare. The father alone detains parental authority in Hindu and Muslim families. His authority is partially limited only in educated and urban families. In the event of divorce, the law assures some equality with regards to child custody, but any advantages granted to the mother in this aspect are rarely exercised as divorces are not common practice. The old Hindu traditions privileged men in matters of inheritance: only sons not daughters - could inherit their parents. After independence, however, these traditions were abolished by law. But in the North, nothing has really changed and women are still deprived of inheritance. Contrary to laws passed by the Indian Union, several local states allow the exclusion of widows and daughters for land inheritance. The conditions for women are most favourable in the South, where the national laws tend to be respected more often. For the Muslim population, inheritance practices are discriminatory. A daughter, for example, inherits half as much as a son. This is commonly justified by the fact that a woman has no financial responsibility towards her husband and children.

Violence against women is very frequent in India. Statistics show that wives are often the victim of domestic violence: in half the states, the percentages of women that are beaten by their husbands vary between 10% and 20%. The practise of dowry has been maintained and thousands of women are murdered every year by their husbands because the dowry is too low. An estimated 6000 women are killed every year. However, this figure most likely underestimates the reality as the majority of murders do not get registered. Selective abortions are more and more frequent in India, which explains a high percentage of missing women. Census data show that almost 40 million Indian women were missing in 2001. This practice is linked to an old tradition: during the past centuries, young girl killings were frequent. In 1870, the authorities probibited this practice and demanded the registration of all births. But especially in rural areas, girl killings have continued and now, owing to technological progress, it is even getting easier to be sex-selective before birth. Moreover, when children are ill, the fathers prefer to pay treatment for sons than for daughters, so that more girls die.

Women are not free to move in the villages of the North and suffer severe restriction of their movement in the South. In the North the tradition of the purdah prevails except in large towns: 80% to 85% of women do not have any freedom. Purdah imposes at the same time the veil and reclusion at home: the wife must ask permission to go to the village market or to visit friends. Before the 10th century purdah did not exist. The Muslim invasion at that time lead the Hindu husbands to enforce this practise because they feared Muslims who imposed the purdah on their wives. But the purdah is less respected in large towns: in Delhi nearly half the women can move freely. In the South, Muslims ruled only for a short time during the 18th century. As a consequence, purdah affects less than half the women in this region.

Restrictions on freedom of dress only affect 50-60% of women if the following facts are taken into account: in the villages of the North the obligation to wear of a veil and reclusion are always linked, but in the South the obligation of the veil is less frequent. On the other hand, freedom of dress prevails often in towns.

In principle, several laws guarantee that women have access to property, including land. In the North, however, these laws are not respected. On average half the women may not even have access to money (e.g. they must ask their husbands for a small amount of money before going shopping). In these cases, women naturally do not have access to other forms of property as well, including credit. The situation is worse for land ownership which is always restricted to men. In the South, women can sometimes inherit land and frequently have access to money: between 70 and 80% according to surveys.


The term WOMEN'S RIGHTS refer to freedoms and entitlements of women and girls of all ages. These rights may or may not be institutionalized, ignored or suppressed by law, local custom, and behavior in a particular society. These liberties are grouped together and differentiated from broader notions of human rights because they often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by or recognized for men and boys and because activists for this issue claim an inherent historical and traditional bias against the exercise of rights by women and girls. Issues commonly associated with notions of women's rights include, though are not limited to, the right: to bodily integrity and autonomy; to vote; to hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to serve in the military or be conscripted; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and religious rights. Women and their supporters have campaigned and in some places continue to campaign for the same rights as modern men. In the subsequent decades women's rights again became an important issue in the English speaking world. By the 1960s the movement was called "feminism" or "women's liberation." Reformers wanted the same pay as men, equal rights in law, and the freedom to plan their families or not have children at all. Their efforts were met with mixed results. In the UK a public groundswell of opinion in favour of legal equality had gained pace, partly through the extensive employment of women in men's traditional roles during both world wars. By the 1960s the legislative process was being readied, tracing through MP Willie Hamilton's select committee report, his Equal Pay For Equal Work Bill, the creation of a Sex Discrimination Board, Lady Sear's draft sex anti-discrimination bill, a government Green Paper of 1973, until 1975 when the first British Sex Discrimination Act, an Equal Pay Act, and an Equal Opportunities Commission came into force. With encouragement from the UK government, the other countries of the EEC soon followed suit with an agreement to ensure that discrimination laws would be phased out across the European Community. In the USA, the US National Organization for Women (NOW) was created in 1966 with the purpose of bringing about equality for all women. NOW was one important group that fought for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). This amendment stated that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex." The amendment died in 1982 because not enough states had ratified it. ERAs have been included in subsequent Congresses, but have still failed to be ratified.

In the last three decades of the 20th century, Western women knew a new freedom through birth control, which enabled women to plan their adult lives, often making way for both career and family. The movement had been started in the 1910s by US pioneering social reformer Margaret Sanger and in the UK and internationally by Marie Stopes. Over the course of the 20th century women took on a greater role in society. For example, many women served in government. In the U.S. government some served as U.S. Senators and others as members of the U.S. Cabinet. Many women took advantage of opportunities to become educated. In the United States at the beginning of the 20th century less than 20% of all college degrees were earned by women. By the end of the century this figure had risen to about 50%. Opportunities also expanded in the workplace. Fields such as medicine, law, and science opened to include more women. At the beginning of the 20th century about 5% of the doctors in the United States were women. As of 2006, over 38% of all doctors in the United States were women, and today, women make almost 50% of the medical student population. While the numbers of women in these fields increased, many women still continued to hold clerical, factory, retail, or service jobs. For example, they worked as office assistants, on assembly lines, or as cooks. SUFFRAGE, THE RIGHT TO VOTE: The ideas that were planted in the late 1700s took root during the 1800s. Women began to agitate for the right to vote and participate in government and law making. The ideals of Women's suffrage developed alongside that of universal suffrage, and women's movements took lessons from those in other countries. Today women's suffrage is considered a right (under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), although a few countries, mainly in the Middle East, continue to deny voting rights to women. In UK for many years the ability to vote was restricted to wealthy property owners within British jurisdictions. This arrangement implicitly excluded women as property law and marriage law gave males ownership rights at marriage or inheritance until the 19th century. Although male suffrage broadened during the century, women were explicitly prohibited from voting nationally and locally in the 1830s by a Reform Act and the Municipal Corporations Act. Throughout the 19th century women reformers developed their own dialogue through many various groups until, by 1903, they had formed into two distinct organizations; THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL UNION OF WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE SOCIETIES, AND THE MILITANT WOMEN'S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNION. In 1918 the British Parliament finally passed a bill allowing women over the age of 30 to vote. In 1928 the age limit was lowered to 21. American women advocated women's right to vote from the 1820s onward, but national women's suffrage did not come until the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1920.

Women first won the right to vote in New Zealand in 1893, in Australia in 1902, and in Finland in 1906, preceding the United States and Britain in affirming full voting rights. However, in some of these countries only women in the ruling population were able to vote at first. For example, Aboriginal women in Australia were not allowed to vote until they became citizens in 1967. Many other nations have proved much slower to change. For example, in Switzerland women gained the right to vote only in February 1, 1959, after a referendum on women's suffrage.


In 1946 the United Nations established a Commission on the Status of Women. Originally as the Section on the Status of Women, Human Rights Division, Department of Social Affairs, and now part of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Since 1975 the UN has held a series of world conferences on women's issues, starting with the World Conference of the International Women's Year in Mexico City. These conferences created an international forum for women's rights, but also illustrated divisions between women of different cultures and the difficulties of attempting to apply principles universally Emerging from the 1985 Nairobi conference was a realization that feminism is not monolithic but "constitutes the political expression of the concerns and interests of women from different regions, classes, nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds. There is and must be a diversity of feminisms, responsive to the different needs and concerns of women, and defined by them for themselves. This diversity builds on a common opposition to gender oppression and hierarchy which, however, is only the first step in articulating and acting upon a political agenda." At the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, The Platform for Action was signed. This included a commitment to achieve "gender equality and the empowerment of women". The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, enshrines "the equal rights of men and women", and addressed both the equality and equity issues. In 1979 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Described as an international bill of rights for women, it came into force on 3 September 1981. The United States is the only developed nation that has not ratified the CEDAW. THE CONVENTION DEFINES DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN THE FOLLOWING TERMS: Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It also establishes an agenda of action for putting an end to sex-based discrimination: States ratifying the Convention are required to enshrine gender equality into their domestic legislation, repeal all discriminatory provisions in their laws, and enact new provisions to guard against discrimination against women. They must also establish tribunals and public institutions to guarantee women effective protection against discrimination, and take steps to eliminate all forms of discrimination practiced against women by individuals, organizations, and enterprises. The CEDAW has been controversial for statements seen by some as promoting radical feminism. Particularly referenced is a 2000 report which said that in Belarus, "the Committee is concerned by the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the reintroduction of such symbols as a Mothers' Day and a Mothers' Award, which it sees as encouraging women's traditional roles." MAPUTO PROTOCOL: The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol, was adopted by the African Union on 11 July 2003 at its second summit in Maputo, Mozambique. On 25 November 2005, having been ratified by the required 15 member nations of the African Union, the protocol entered into force. THE PROTOCOL GUARANTEES COMPREHENSIVE RIGHTS TO WOMEN INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO TAKE PART IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS, TO SOCIAL AND POLITICAL EQUALITY WITH MEN, AND TO . CONTROL OF THEIR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, AND AN END TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION Reproductive rights:

Reproductive rights are rights relating to sexual reproduction and reproductive health. "Reproductive rights" are not recognized in international human rights law and is used as an umbrella term that may include some or all of the following rights: the right to legal or safe abortion, the right to control one's reproductive functions, the right to access quality reproductive healthcare, and the right to education and access in order to make reproductive choices free from coercion, discrimination, and violence.[55] Reproductive rights may also be understood to include education about contraception and sexually transmitted infections, and freedom from coerced sterilization and contraception, protection from gender-based practices such as female genital cutting, or FGC, and male genital mutilation, or MGM. Reproductive rights are understood as rights of both men and women, but are most frequently advanced as women's rights. The United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) advocate for reproductive rights with a primary emphasis on women's rights. The idea of these rights was first discussed as a subset of human rights at the United Nation's 1968 International Conference on Human Rights. The sixteenth article of the Proclamation of Teheran recognises reproductive rights as a subset of human rights and states, "Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children." ABORTION: Women's access to safe and legal abortions is restricted in law or in practice in most countries in the world. Even where abortion is permitted by law, women may only have limited access to safe abortion services. Only a small number of countries prohibit abortion in all cases. In most countries and jurisdictions, abortion is allowed to save the pregnant woman's life, or where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Human Rights Watch considers abortion within the context of human rights, arguing: "Abortion is a highly emotional subject and one that excites deeply held opinions. However, equitable access to safe abortion services is first and foremost a human right. Where abortion is safe and legal, no one is forced to have one. Where abortion is illegal and unsafe, women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term or suffer serious health consequences and even death. Approximately 13% of maternal deaths worldwide are attributable to unsafe abortionbetween 68,000 and 78,000 deaths annually." They furthermore argue that " human rights legal instruments and authoritative interpretations of those instruments compel the conclusion that women have a right to decide independently in all matters related to reproduction, including the issue of abortion." Human Rights Watch argues that "the denial of a pregnant woman's right to make an independent decision regarding abortion violates or poses a threat to a wide range of human rights." Basing its analysis on the authoritative interpretations of international human rights instruments by UN expert bodies Human Rights Watch states that where women's access to safe and legal abortion services are restricted, the following human rights may be at risk: the right to life, the right to health, right to freedom from discrimination, right to security of person, the right to liberty, the right to privacy, the right to information, the right to be free from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment , the right to decide the number and spacing of children (reproductive rights), the right to freedom of thought, and the right to freedom of religion. OTHER GROUPS HOWEVER, SUCH AS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, REGARD ABORTION NOT AS A RIGHT BUT AS A 'MORAL EVIL'.


Rape, sometimes called sexual assault, is an assault by a person involving sexual intercourse with or sexual penetration of another person without that person's consent. Rape is generally considered a serious sex crime as well as a civil assault. When part of a widespread and systematic practice rape and

sexual slavery are now recognized as crime against humanity and war crime. Rape is also now recognized as an element of the crime of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted group. RAPE AS AN ELEMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE: In 1998, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda established by the United Nations made landmark decisions that rape is a crime of genocide under international law. An estimated 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.


The womens movements for the changes in different aspects of womens lives can be traced back to the 19th century when social reformers put forth the plea for removing various social customs which were thwarting the development of Indian women, to a pre-independence period when Indian women demanded the right to equality in different spheres of life. If one goes back into the past then in the 19th, for the first time, social reformers in various parts of country, Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, Maharshi Karve, Jyotiba Phule, Durgaram Mehtaji, Narmad and many others campaigned against social customs and struggled to eradicate them. Moving to the 20th century, with the political movement gathering momentum, especially under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, women participated in large numbers and through their own organizations made demands for equality in various spheres of life. India after independence enshrined the principle of equality in the Constitution, so the largest democracy in the world accepted the de jure equal status of women of India, irrespective of class creed. The first two decades after independence were full of optimism over the achievement of goals. Quite a few women who had taken an active part in the Freedom Movement were occupying important positions in Government, educational institutions an social welfare organizations. The govt. also initiated certain policies of social welfare which were trying to assist women to improve their status. Higher education among women was more widespread and upper middle class women were not only going in for higher education but were also planning their careers as active earning members of their families. The seventies turned out not only to be very crucial for different sector of Indian society, but also proved to be significant for the womens movement. In 1972, the United Nations requested all member nations to prepare a report on the Status of women in their respective countries. The Committee toured round the country; met women from various strata and commissioned researches in different fields, then prepared the report entitled TOWARDS EQUALITY. It was submitted to the govt. of India in December 1974 and tabled in Parliament in March 1975. The report has been not only an eye-opener with regard to the actual conditions of women, but the findings have been significant in bringing the womens question to centre stage after about two decades of silence. The Committees findings such as the adverse sex ratio, indicating that fewer girls survive at the time of birth than boys, the declining participation of women in electoral politics; women constrained to work mostly in the unorganised sector; entailing all sorts of hardships and uncertainties indicated the plight of women. Even in the sphere of education, though the literacy rate had improved, the spread of education was much skewed. The report further highlighted the shocking regional disparities; for instance, by and large, in the regions above the Vindhya that is in the North the conditions of women seemed to be far less egalitarian than in the South. Further, Rajasthan, Bihar, Utter Pradesh and Punjab had shocking tales to relate. The menace of dowry was spreading far and wide. The findings were sad indicators of the failure of govt. programs and policies initiated after independence to improve the condition of women.


The late 60s indicated the growing erosion of Nehruvian optimism. Voices of dissidence could be heard from various sides. In the northern hill areas of Uttarakhand, movements against degradation of environment and especially forests were launched. Of these, the most prominent as far as womens participation is concerned was the CHIPKO MOVEMENT of the seventies. The women came to the forefront and transformed the struggle into their own movement. Chipko literally meant clinging: men, and later women, expressed their concern for tress by clinging to them and not allowing forest officers and contractors to fell the tress for profit. This movement subsequently included protests against alcoholism and wife battering. The following couplet became quite popular during the movement: The forest is our mothers home. We will protect it will all our might. The first effort to question the social system was made in 1973 when a group of young women belonging to the Far Left group in Hyderabad formed itself into an organisation called PROGRESSIVE ORGRANISATION OF WOMEN (POW). The Group stressed the fact of gender oppression and drafted a manifesto indicating the ideology and agenda for action. It was, in a way, the first feminist articulation analysing the subordinate condition of women and formulating a feminist program. According to POW, two structures the sexual division of labour and the culture which legitimised the inequality were primarily instruments of subordination of women. ABOUT CONDITIONS OF HOUSEWIVES IT MADE THE FOLLOWING SCATHING REMARK: The opposition of housewife is no better. Confined to her home, working from morning to night in backbreaking chores, she has neither independence nor dignity. The declaration of Emergency in 1975 was a setback in all human rights movements, and affected the nascent womans movements. Activists went underground or behind bars. Those who were spared punishment worked on a very low key. However, 1975 signaled another eventful period. The United Nations had declared the year as an INTERNATIONAL WOMENS YEAR (IWY), and first world conference on women was held in Mexico in June 1975. Considering the grave condition of women in all countries, the Year was turned into a Decade. The IWY led to spate of activities focused on womens issues, that most significant being the organization of the United Womens Liberation Struggles conference in October 1975 at Pune. It was attended by most groups in Maharasthra, including the political left groups, women of the middle class and even dalit communities. THUS THE YEAR BROUGHT THE BEGINNINGS OF MOVEMENTS FOR ERADICATING GENDER INEQUALITY AND ESTABLISH GENDER JUSTICE. IT ALSO BEGAN THE THEORETICAL QUESTIONING OF THE SUBORDINATION OF WOMEN. THUS, THE WOMENS MOVEMENT AND WOMENS STUDIES BEGAN TOGETHER.


The state of Emergency declared in 1975 was lifted in 1977. Issues of civil liberties, repression of political activists and political prisoners by the state generated great stir among enlightened masses. Instances of mass rapes of poor, Dalit and tribal women appeared in the newspapers. Rape was discussed as an issue of civil liberty. Awareness about democratic rights brought with it awareness about atrocities on women. With this background the mergence of New Group in one sense heralded the third wave of the Womens Movement which significantly differ from the earlier movements. The group called themselves Saheli, Schetana, ALOCHANA, AKSHARA, VACHA, SHIYAR, AWAG, ASTITVA, ASMITA, VIMOCHANA. The group was basically involved in building womens history or documenting on varied issues pertaining to women. They believe that oppression of women is mainly due to a patriarchal structure and the ideology of male dominance. They further feel that

this structural subordination could be removed only by the efforts of women themselves, and liberation should be the goal. In the 70s, womens groups took up issues such as rape, dowry, domestic violence, media projection women as sex objects, abortion of female foetus, harmful birth control devices, legal amendments of laws such a the amendment to the Dowry bill, Muslim womens maintenance rights, Christian womens rights to divorce, abolition of Sati, reservation of seats for women in the electoral bodies, the plight of displaced woman /slum women, and rigid censorship in media. Thus, women from different strata were mobilized and various forms of protests organized. The Movement was triggered off on the occasion of the reopening of the Mathura case. Rape as crime against women has not been uncommon, but the incidents of rape of Rameeza Bee in Hyderabad and Mathura in Maharasthra drew the attention of the feminist groups who were beginning to be aware of the complexities of womens oppression. Cases of poor women being raped by landlords or other powerful people came to light. Incidents of upper caste men raping during political crises, communal outbursts and particularly during partition days indicate harsh reality. As a result of these activities and continuous focusing on the womens issues, the then government was forced to cognizance of womens demands. One response to the movement was the enactment of certain laws and the introduction of amendments to some existing laws. Further, due to the declaration of 1975-85 as the Womens Decade, the govt. was forced to appoint commissions and committees to introduce certain relief measures for promoting gender equality. Various international agencies assisted in undertaking of programs which would empower women. Many projects for rural women were initiated. These programs further resulted in the formation of NGOs through which many developmental programs were implemented. THE WOMENS MOVEMENT AFTER THE EIGHTIES The major controversy during this phase were the Shah Bano case, the Roop Kunwar Sati incident, the reservation policy and the growing phenomena of communalism and fundamentalism, with over stress on identity assertions. The judgment in the Shah Bano case indirectly hinted at the superiority of the Hindu marriage and divorce act and a recommendation was made by the judiciary that a Union Civil Code should be applied to all Indian citizens. Another significant feature of this phase was the new economic policy adopted by the state. Liberalization, information explosion, supremacy of the electronic media and market determining the norms of relationships significantly affected womens life and more important, influenced the contours of the Womens Movement in the next decade. Homogeneity within the womens groups declined. A number of differences arose in conceptualizing problems as well as in deciding strategies The reality is somewhat different. While the participation of urban, middle class women is undeniable, it is not they who make up the backbone of the movement, or of the many, different campaigns that are generally seen as comprising the movement. The anti-alcohol agitation in Andhra Pradesh, and similar campaigns in other parts of India were started and sustained by poor, low-caste, often working-class women. The movement to protect the environment was begun by poor women in a village called Reni in the northern hill regions of India, and only after that did it spread to other parts of the country. There are any number of such examples. .One of the biggest challenges women have had to face in recent years is the growing influence of the religious right in India. Right-wing groups have built much of their support on the involvement of women: offering to help them with domestic problems, enabling them to enter the public space in a limited way, and all the while ensuring that the overall ideology within which they operate remains firmly patriarchal. For activists too, this has posed major problems. It has forced them to confront the fact that they cannot assume solidarity as women that cuts across class,

religion, caste, ethnic difference. And yet, they must hold fast to such an assumption if they are to work with women: for how, as an activist, do you deal with a woman who takes part in a violent right wing demonstration one day, and comes to you for help as a victim of domestic violence the next.? PERHAPS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT FOR WOMEN IN THE LAST FEW DECADES HAS BEEN THE INTRODUCTION OF 33% RESERVATION FOR WOMEN IN LOCAL, VILLAGE-LEVEL ELECTIONS. In the early days, when this move was introduced, there was considerable scepticism. How will women cope? Are they equipped to be leaders? Will this mean any real change, or will it merely mean that the men will take a backseat and use the women as a front to implement what they want? While all these problems still remain, in a greater or lesser degree, what is also true is that more and more women have shown that once they have power, they are able to use it, to the benefit of society in general and women in particular. The women's movement in India today is a rich and vibrant movement, which has spread to various parts of the country. It is often said that there is no one single cohesive movement in the country, but a number of fragmented campaigns. Activists see this as one of the strengths of the movement which takes different forms in different parts. While the movement may be scattered all over India, they feel it is nonetheless a strong and plural force. It is important to recognise that for a country of India's magnitude, change in male-female relations and the kinds of issues the women's movement is focusing on, will not come easy. For every step the movement takes forward, there will be a possible backlash, a possible regression. And it is this that makes for the contradictions, this that makes it possible for there to be women who can aspire to, and attain, the highest political office in the country, and for women to continue to have to confront patriarchy within the home, in the workplace, throughout their lives. As activists never tire of repeating: out of the deepest repression is born the greatest resistance.


The status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia. From a largely unknown status in ancient times through the low points of the medieval period, to the promotion of equal rights by many reformers, the history of women in India has been eventful. Women in India now participate in all activities such as education, politics, media, art and culture, service sectors, science and technology, etc. The Constitution of India guarantees to all Indian women equality (Article 14), no discrimination by the State (Article 15(1)), equality of opportunity (Article 16), equal pay for equal work (Article 39 (d)). In addition, it allows special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women and children (Article 15(3)), renounces practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e)), and also allows for provisions to be made by the State for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. (Article 42).

Education and economic development: According to 1992-93 figures, only 9.2% of the households in India were female-headed. However, approximately 35% of the households below the poverty line were found to be female-headed. EDUCATION: Though it is gradually rising, the female literacy rate in India is lower than the male literacy rate. Compared to boys, far fewer girls are enrolled in the schools, and many of them drop out. According to the National Sample Survey Data of 1997, only the states of Kerala and Mizoram have approached universal female literacy rates. According to majority of the scholars, the major factor behind the improved social and economic status of women in Kerala is literacy. The 2001 Indian

Census provisional results demonstrate the continued discrepancy between male and female literacy rates. For example, in Uttar Pradesh 70.23% of men are said to be literate in contrast to only 42.98% of women. Under Non-Formal Education programme, about 40% of the centers in states and 10% of the centers in UTs are exclusively reserved for females. As of 2000, about 0.3 million NFE centers were catering to about 7.42 million children, out of which about 0.12 million were exclusively for girls. In urban India, girls are nearly at par with the boys in terms of education. However, in rural India girls continue to be less educated than the boys. According to a 1998 report by U.S. Department of Commerce, the chief barrier to female education in India are inadequate school facilities (such as sanitary facilities), shortage of female teachers and gender bias in curriculum (majority of the female characters being depicted as weak and helpless). WORKFORCE PARTICIPATION: Contrary to the common perception, a large percent of women in India work. The National data collection agencies accept the fact that there is a serious under-estimation of women's contribution as workers. However, there are far fewer women in the paid workforce than there are men. In urban India Women have impressive number in the workforce? As an example at software industry 30% of the workforce is female. They are at par with their male counter parts in terms of wages, position at the work place. In rural India, agriculture and allied industrial sectors employ as much as 89.5% of the total female labour. In overall farm production, women's average contribution is estimated at 55% to 66% of the total labour. According to a 1991 World Bank report, women accounted for 94% of total employment in dairy production in India. Women constitute 51% of the total employed in forest-based small-scale enterprises. One of the most famous female business success stories is the Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad. In 2006, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, who started Biocon - one of India's first biotech companies, was rated India's richest woman. Lalita Gupte and Kalpana Morparia (both were the only businesswomen in India who made the list of the Forbes World's Most Powerful Women), run India's second-largest bank, ICICI Bank. LAND AND PROPERTY RIGHTS: In most Indian families , women do not own any property in their own names, and do not get a share of parental property. Due to weak enforcement of laws protecting them, women continue to have little access to land and property. In fact, some of the laws discriminate against women, when it comes to land and property rights. The Hindu personal laws of mid-1956s (applied to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains) gave women rights to inheritance. However, the sons had an independent share in the ancestral property, while the daughters' shares were based on the share received by their father. Hence, a father could effectively disinherit a daughter by renouncing his share of the ancestral property, but the son will continue to have a share in his own right. Additionally, married daughters, even those facing marital harassment, had no residential rights in the ancestral home. After amendment of Hindu laws in 2005, now women in have been provided the same status as that of men. In 1986, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Shah Bano, an old divorced Muslim woman was eligible for maintenance money. However, the decision was vociferously opposed by fundamentalist Muslim leaders, who alleged that the court was interfering in their personal law. The Union Government subsequently passed the Muslim Women's (Protection of Rights Upon Divorce) Act. Similarly, the Christian women have struggled over years for equal rights of divorce and succession. In 1994, all the churches, jointly with women's organisations, drew up a draft law called the Christian

Marriage and Matrimonial Causes Bill. However, the government has still not amended the relevant laws. CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN: Police records show high incidence of crimes against women in India. The National Crime Records Bureau reported in 1998 that the growth rate of crimes against women would be higher than the population growth rate by 2010. Earlier, many cases were not registered with the police due to the social stigma attached to rape and molestation cases. Official statistics show that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of reported crimes against women. DOWRY: In 1961, the Government of India passed the Dowry Prohibition Act, making the dowry demands in wedding arrangements illegal. However, many cases of dowry-related domestic violence, suicides and murders have been reported. In the 1980s, numerous such cases were reported. In 1985, the Dowry Prohibition (maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom) rules were framed. According to these rules, a signed list of presents given at the time of the marriage to the bride and the bridegroom should be maintained. The list should contain a brief description of each present, its approximate value, the name of whoever has given the present and his/her relationship to the person. However, such rules are hardly enforced. A 1997 report claimed that at least 5,000 women die each year because of dowry deaths, and at least a dozen die each day in 'kitchen fires' thought to be intentional. The term for this is "bride burning" and is criticized within India itself. Amongst the urban educated, such dowry abuse has reduced considerably. CHILD MARRIAGE: Child marriage has been traditionally prevalent in India and continues to this day. Historically, young girls would live with their parents till they reached puberty. In the past, the child widows were condemned to a life of great agony, shaving heads, living in isolation, and shunned by the society. Although child marriage was outlawed in 1860, it is still a common practice. According to UNICEFs State of the Worlds Children-2009 report, 47% of India's women aged 2024 were married before the legal age of 18, with 56% in rural areas. The report also showed that 40% of the world's child marriages occur in India. FEMALE INFANTICIDES AND SEX SELECTIVE ABORTIONS: India has a highly masculine sex ratio, the chief reason being that many women die before reaching adulthood. Tribal societies in India have a less masculine sex ratio than all other caste groups. This, in spite of the fact that tribal communities have far lower levels of income, literacy and health facilities. It is therefore suggested by many experts, that the highly masculine sex ratio in India can be attributed to female infanticides and sexselective abortions. All medical tests that can be used to determine the sex of the child have been banned in India, due to incidents of these tests being used to get rid of unwanted female children before birth. Female infanticide (killing of girl infants) is still prevalent in some rural areas. The abuse of the dowry tradition has been one of the main reasons for sex-selective abortions and female infanticides in India. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Domestic Violence isn't just hitting, or fighting, or an occasional argument. It's an abuse of power. The abuser tortures and controls the victim by calculated threats, intimidation, and physical violence. Although both men and women can be abused, in most cases, the victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are also abused or neglected. Although the woman is usually the primary target, violence is sometimes directed toward children, and sometimes toward family members and friends The incidents of domestic violence are higher among the lower Socio-Economic Classes (SECs).

Domestic violence can take many forms and variations and can happen once in a while or all at the same time. Domestic violence can be Psychological Abuse, Social Abuse, Financial Abuse, Physical Assault or Sexual Assault. Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault or injury (hitting, beating, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (forced sexual activity), or stalking. Female feticide (selective abortion based on the fetus gender or sex selection of child), Domestic violence, Dowry death or harassment, Mental and physical torture, Sexual trafficking, and Public humiliation. HEALTH: The average female life expectancy today in India is low compared to many countries, but it has shown gradual improvement over the years. In many families, especially rural ones, the girls and women face nutritional discrimination within the family, and are anemic and malnourished. India's population of over 1 billion is still growing by 1.7% per year. Despite improvements in lowering infant and maternal mortality, every year 65 infants die per 1000 live births and some 440 women perish in childbirth per 100,000 live births. Most of these preventable deaths occur in rural villages where trained personnel and supplies are not available. With the contraceptive prevalence rate hovering below 50% for all methods, the government recently abandoned contraceptive targets. The maternal mortality in India is the second highest in the world. Only 42% of births in the country are supervised by health professionals. Most women deliver with help from women in the family who often lack the skills and resources to save the mother's life if it is in danger. According to UNDP Human Development Report (1997), 88% of pregnant women (age 15-49) were found to be suffering from anemia. Only a very limited number of Indian women have the opportunity to choose whether or when to have a child. Women, particularly women in rural areas, do not have access to safe and self-controlled methods of contraception. The public health system emphasizes permanent methods like sterilization, or long-term methods like IUD's that do not need follow-up and are thus felt to be more fool-proof than other spacing methods. In fact, sterilization accounts for more than 75% of total contraception, with female sterilization accounting for almost 95% of all sterilizations. FAMILY PLANNING: The average woman in rural areas of India has little or no control over her reproductivity. Women, particularly women in rural areas, do not have access to safe and self-controlled methods of contraception. The public health system emphasizes permanent methods like sterilisation, or long-term methods like IUDs that do not need follow-up. Sterilization accounts for more than 75% of total contraception, with female sterilisation accounting for almost 95% of all sterilisations. TRAFFICKING: Prostitution is often referred to as the oldest profession in the world. Trading in human beings and their exploitation in varied forms by traffickers in human beings is one of the most despicable forms of violation of human rights. Trafficking in its widest sense includes not just exploitation of prostitution of others or forms of sexual exploitation, it also includes forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery or trade in human beings for removal of organs. Trafficking clearly violates the fundamental right to a life with dignity. It also violates right to health and health care, right to liberty and security of person, right to freedom from torture, violence, cruelty or degrading treatment. It violates for children who have been trafficked, or victims of child marriages their right to education, it violates the right to employment and the right of self determination. According to a 1994 report in Asian Age there are at least 70,000 women sex workers in Delhi, Madras, Calcutta, Bangalore and Hyderabad. 30% of these women are under 20 years of age. 40% are 20-30 years of age, and approximately 15% of them became prostitutes as children under the age of 12. In India Around 30 to 90 per cent of women and girls are under 18 at the time of entry in to prostitution. The population of women and children in sex work in India is stated to be between 70,000 and 1 million. Of these, 30 per cent are 20 years of age. Nearly 15 per cent began sex work when they

were below 15, and 25 per cent entered between 15 and 18 years. A news item published in Statesman (12 August 2002) states that roughly 2 million children are abused and forced into prostitution every year in India. A rough estimate prepared by an NGO called End Childrens Prostitution in Asian Tourism reveals that there are around 2 million prostitutes in India; 20 per cent among them are minors. A study conducted in 1992 estimates that any one time, 20,000 girls are being transported from one part of the country to another. NGO estimates of sex work are however much higher (UNICEF 1994). A CEDPA report states that in 1997, approximately 200 girls and women in India entered prostitution on a daily basis and 80 per cent were coerced into it (SOS 2001). There are reportedly 300,000 to 500,000 children in prostitution in India. Maharashtra states that at any given time, approximately 40 per cent of the victims of CSE and trafficking are found to be below 18 years. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act was passed in 1956. However many cases of trafficking of young girls and women have been reported.


Domestic violence is undoubtedly a human rights issue and serious deterrent to development. The Vienna Accord of 1994 and the Beijing Platform of Action (1995) both have acknowledged this. The United Nations Committee on CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) in its general recommendation No. XII (1989) has recommended that State parties should act to protect women against violence of any kind especially that occurring within the family. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 was brought into force by the Indian government from October 26, 2006. The Act was passed by the Parliament in August 2005 and assented to by the President on 13 September, 2005. As of November 2007, it has been ratified by four of twenty-eight state governments in India; namely Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa. Of about 8,000 criminal cases registered all over India under this act, Rajasthan had 3440 cases, Kerala had 1,028 cases, while Punjab had 172 cases registered. SCOPE OF THE BILL: Primarily meant to provide protection to the wife or female live-in partner from domestic violence at the hands of the husband or male live-in partner or his relatives, the law also extends its protection to women who are sisters, widows or mothers. Domestic violence under the act includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic. Harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives would also be covered under this definition. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE PROTECTION FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005 ARE AS FOLLOWS: 1. The Act seeks to cover those women who are or have been in a relationship with the abuser where both parties have lived together in a shared household and are related by consanguinity, marriage or a relationship in the nature of marriage, or adoption; in addition relationship with family members living together as a joint family are also included. Even those women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women, or living with the abuser are entitled to get legal protection under the proposed Act. 2. "Domestic violence" includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic. Harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives would also be covered under this definition. 3. One of the most important features of the Act is the womans right to secure housing. The Act provides for the womans right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household. This right is secured by a residence order, which is passed by a court. These residence orders cannot be passed against anyone who is a woman.

4. The other relief envisaged under the Act is that of the power of the court to pass protection orders that prevent the abuser from aiding or committing an act of domestic violence or any other specified act, entering a workplace or any other place frequented by the abused, attempting to communicate with the abused, isolating any assets used by both the parties and causing violence to the abused, her relatives and others who provide her assistance from the domestic violence. 5. The draft Act provides for appointment of Protection Officers and NGOs to provide assistance to the woman w.r.t medical examination, legal aid, safe shelter, etc. 6. The Act provides for breach of protection order or interim protection order by the respondent as a cognizable and non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or with both. Similarly, non-compliance or discharge of duties by the Protection Officer is also sought to be made an offence under the Act with similar punishment. OTHER LEGAL PROVISIONS The Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act and the Dowry Prohibition Act, with the intention of protecting wives from marital violence, abuse and extortionist dowry demands. The most notable ones are sections 304B, 406 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 113 A of the Indian Evidence Act. In 1983, Section 498A of the IPC defined a new cognizable offence, namely, cruelty by husband or relatives of husband. This means that under this law the police have no option but to take action, once such a complaint is registered by the victim or any of her relatives. It prescribes imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and also includes a fine. The definition of cruelty is not just confined to causing grave injury, bodily harm, or danger to life, limb or physical health, but also includes mental health, harassment and emotional torture through verbal abuse. This law takes particular cognisance of harassment, where it occurs with a view to coercing the wife, or any person related to her, to meet any unlawful demand regarding any property or valuable security, or occurs on account of failure by her, or any person related to her, to meet such a demand. Under section 304B, in the case of a dowry death, where allegations of demand of dowry or nonreturn of dowry are made, the accused are frequently denied anticipatory, or even regular bail.


Sexual harassment at the work place is a growing concern for women. Employers abuse their authority to seek sexual favours from their female co- workers or subordinates, sometimes promising promotions or other forms of career advancement or simply creating an untenable and hostile work environment. Women who refuse to give in to such unwanted sexual advances often run the risk of anything from demotion to dismissal. But in recent years more women have been coming forward to report such practices- some taking their cases to court. The special report in the book Hand book on Women and Human Rights stressed that sexual harassment constitutes a form of sex discrimination. It not only degrades the woman but also reinforces and reflects the idea of non-professionalism on the part of woman workers, who are consequently regarded as less able to perform their duties than their male colleagues. It is a clear violation of rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the constitution. One of the logical consequences of such an incident is also the violation of victims fundamental rights under article 19 (1) (g) to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation, trade or business. The right depends on the availability of safe working environment. Right to life means right to life with dignity. The

primary responsibility for ensuring such safety and dignity through suitable legislation and the creation of a mechanism for its enforcement is of the legislature and the executive. When however the domestic law in the field is absent, there is a need to formulate effective measures and find an alternative mechanism to fill the legislative vacuum. The sexual harassment crimes are identified under Section 509 of IPC. Sexual harassment compared to the year (1994) recorded a declining crime rate by 0.7 at all- India in 1995. Delhi UT recorded the highest crime rate at 2.0%. In all as many as 7 States/ UTs recorded higher crime rate over the national average (0.5). These are the datas of the cases which are registered and therefore it cannot be presumed that the sexual harassments are lessened because so many cases are never registered and because of the various reasons no complains are made. FACTS ABOUT MOLESTATION IN INDIA India is home to the largest number of sexual abused children in the World. It is estimated that one of every three girls and one of every five boys before the age of 18 have been sexually molested. A nationwide survey conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child development threw light on the amount of Child Abuse that children suffer in our country. 53% of the children surveyed in the survey reported Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse of the children is highest at work followed by those at Institutional care. The number of cases of Sexual Harassment in India in 2002 were 10,155, an increase of 4.2 per cent over the previous year (9746). There has been a steady increase in the number of women reporting sexual harassment, from 4,756 in 1995 to 11,024 in 2000. A survey by the National Womens Commission reports that 46.58% of women report sexual harassment in the work place; only about 3.54% report the matter to authorities; 1.4% reported it to the police. In 2001, a five-state survey of workplace sexual harassment undertaken by Sakshi, a NGO in New Delhi, reported that 80% of the respondents said sexual harassment existed in their work place. Only 23% had heard of the Vishaka Guidelines; 66% of these said that the institutions had not effectively implemented these guidelines. When they had been implemented, redress seemed to be biased. In India every 26 minutes, a woman is molested In India every 34 minutes, a woman is raped. In India every 93 minutes, a woman is killed. Till December 2007, in Mumbai there had been 160 cases of rape reported and there were about 1100 cases of molestation, eve teasing and other crimes against Women. In Delhi in 2007, there were 587 reported cases of rape. Of the people arrested in rape cases, 340 were neighbours, 94 were friends and 62 were relatives. Only in ten cases, the accused were strangers


In cases where the accused molests or insults the modesty of a woman by way of obscene acts or by means of words, gesture, or acts that are intended to insult the modesty and dignity of a woman, he shall be punished under the following sections: Under Sec.294 the obscene act must cause annoyance. The annoyance should be done in a public place and cause mental harassment. Section.509 of IPC, comes into effect when there is an intention to insult the modesty of any woman by the offender by uttering any word, making any sound or gesture or by exhibiting any object, with the intention that such word or such sound be heard, or that such gesture or object be seen by such a woman, or by intruding upon the privacy of such a woman.

Section 354 of the IPC considers the assault or criminal force to woman with the intention to outrage her modesty. This offense is considered less serious than Rape. Punishment: Upto two years imprisonment or a fine or both. Section 323 punishes anyone causing voluntarily hurt(non cognizable), Punishment: Upto one year or Rs. 1000 or both. The Criminal Law Amendment Act has substantially changed Sections.375 and 376 of the IPC. Several new sections have been introduced therein- viz. Section. 376(A) punishes sexual intercourse with wife without her consent by a judicially separated husband. Section. 376(B) punishes for sexual intercourse by a public servant with a woman in custody. Section. 376(C) punishes sexual intercourse by superintendent of jail, remand house, etc. whereas Section. 376(D) punishes sexual intercourse by any member of the management or staff of a hospital with any woman in that hospital.

IINDIAN WOMENS ISSUES: India has an elaborate laws to protect the rights of women, including the Prevention of Immoral Traffic, the Sati (widow burning) Act, and the Dowry Prevention Act. Women and children have figured prominently in the government's agenda of social reforms and initiatives. However the Government is often unable to enforce these laws, especially in rural areas where traditions are deeply rooted. Dowry, Female bondage and forced prostitution are widespread in some parts of India. Many obstacles to the realization of women's human rights in India are social and cultural in nature, deeply rooted in the traditions of its communities. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution gives equality of status and opportunity. Articles 14 provides for equality in general and article 15 (18) prohibits discrimination on special grounds of inter alia, se, Art 15 (3) embodies the exception which permits the state to make special provisions for women. The 73rd and 74 Amendment in the India Constitution provides reservations of seats of women in election to panchayats and municipalities. SOME OF THE BURNING WOMENS ISSUES IN RECENT TIME ARE GIVEN BELOW 1. RAPE: Rape is a humiliating and the most shocking of the crimes against human conscience and morality. This crime occupies a significant place in the penal statues of every country. The laws relating to sexual offences do not have adequate provisions for the protection of female victims. Section 375 to 376 (D) of Indian Penal Code deal with the issues of rape. 2. INDECENT REPRESENTATION: Derogatory depiction of women whether in print or electronic media is rampant. In the existing statures Sections 292, 293 and 294 of IPC deal with obscenity. However, the concept of obscenity was based on the nineteenth century notion which considered anything concerning sex as dirty and obscene. Under these sections, the definition of obscenity was vague and the interpretation depended on the individuals judges. 3. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: With increase in the number of cases relating to violence against women especially in matrimonial homes, a new terminology was coined that is domestic violence. This term distinguishes if from external violence. As this type of violence increase day-to-day there were

pressures and protests against it. Since the police in a majority of cases refused to register cases, there was demand for a special act under which the offenders could be punished. Generally complaints can be registered only afer an offence has been committed but in a situation of domestic violence a women needs protection even before the crime is committed as she apprehends danger to her life from the assaulter on whom she is dependent and the threat is constant. To meet this challenge of increasing domestic violence, the Criminal Acts were amended in 1983 and 1986 to create special categories of offences dealing with cruelty to wives, dowry harassments and dowry death. 4. DOWRY: Dokshina, originally a token having its origin in the sublime sentiments of parents and relatives of a bride in a marriage gained all characteristics of a market transaction where women were killed, burned or thrown out of their hours. With increase in cases of dowry deaths or bride burning or suicide it became a unique form of violence experienced by women in India. To curb the evil of dowry both giving and taking dowry Prohibition Act. 1961 was passes. In this Act, dowry was defined as any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given directly or indirectly by one party to the marriage to other party. The act of giving and taking of dowry or abetting to take dowry became an offence with the punishment prescribed. 5. IMMORAL TRAFFICKING: Prostitutions is said to be the oldest among the professions in the world and is rampant throughout the world. The need for gratification of sexual urge impelled men and women of all ages in every country to exploit the other sex. Though in some countries it was regulated by law or regulations. The prostitution and the accompanying evil of traffic in human beings for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the basic human dignity and worth of human beings. 6. SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORK: With the increase in the number of working women a new arena has opened in which the violation of human rights and the dignity of women is challenged, that is, sexual harassment at work place. Each such incident results in the violation of fundamental rights of gender equality and right to life and liberty. It is a clear violation of rights under Articles 14,15 and 21 of the Constitution.


The media as an indigenous industry is a phenomenon of the post independence period. Magazines in English and in regional languages mushroomed in the 1960s and TV became popular only in 1980s. The mass media apart from providing information have tremendous influence. Every message we see or hear shapes the way we see ourselves. Our understanding of the world, of issues, of what and who is important. Since media is a powerful agent of change. It can either be used for social development or to reinforce prejudicial stereotypes. There is a fast growth of newspapers in India. Robin Jeffery who has studied the growth of newspapers during 1977-199 is convinced that the newspapers have been the main motivating factor behind the A Million Mutinies raging in different parts of the country noticed by V.S Naipaul in his much acclaimed book. There is no doubt that the newspapers have increased political awareness and democratic participation in the country. In the last two decades they have also been acting as catalysts in the process of socio-political transformation that is taking place in different parts of the country. Although women are increasingly entering into media, top management is still largely male dominated and the culture of patriarchy is perpetuated through this disparity. There is a gender division of labour that is evident through the way that stories are assigned. Soft issues like fashion, culture, arts and lifestyle are often consigned to women media practitioners, whereas hard and what is considered serious issues like finance, economics and politics are often within the purview of the male counterparts. The criteria of newsworthiness are similarly and consequently understood through this gendered lens. Headline materials often constitute of hard issues whilst soft issues are shunted to special and supplementary segments of the media. Gender stereotyped views and attitudes, such as

the attachment of productive incapacity and womens reproductive roles, can hinder womens opportunities to assume decision-making positions. Further, sexual harassment has been particularly cited as one of the methods to control and exclude women from these positions. WOMEN, NEWS AND POLITICS : Women professionals and athletes continue to be under-represented in news coverage, and are often stereotypically portrayed when they are included. Although there has been a steady increase in the number of women professionals over the past 20 years, most mainstream media coverage continues to rely on men as experts in the fields of business, politics and economics. Women in the news are more likely to be featured in stories about accidents, natural disasters, or domestic violence than in stories about their professional abilities or expertise. Women in politics are similarly sidelined. Canadian journalist Jenn Goddu studied newspaper and magazine coverage of three womens lobby groups over a 15-year period. She discovered that journalists tend to focus on the domestic aspects of the politically active womans life (such as "details about the high heels stashed in her bag, her habit of napping in the early evening, and her lack of concern about whether or not she is considered ladylike") rather than her position on the issues. Quebec political analyst Denis Monire uncovered similar patterns. In 1998, Monire analysed 83 late evening newscasts on three national networksthe Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, RadioCanada (the French-language public broadcaster) and TV. He observed that womens views were solicited mainly in the framework of "average citizens" and rarely as experts, and that political or economic success stories were overwhelmingly masculine. Monire also noted that the number of female politicians interviewed was disproportionate to their number in Parliament or in the Quebec National Assembly; nor, he noted, was this deficiency in any way compensated for by the depth and quality of coverage. Inadequate womens coverage seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. In 2000 the Association of Women Journalists (Association des femmes journalistes AFJ) studied news coverage of women and womens issues in 70 countries. It reported that only 18 per cent of stories quote women, and that the number of women-related stories came to barely 10 per cent of total news coverage. News talk shows are equally problematic. The White House Project reports that only 9 per cent of the guests on Sunday morning news shows such as Meet the Press and Face the Nation are women, and even then they only speak 10 per cent of the timeleaving 90 per cent of the discussion to the male guests. Project president Marie Wilson warns that the lack of representation for women will have profound consequences on whether or not women are perceived as competent leaders, because "authority is not recognized by these shows. It is created by these shows." Professor Caryl Rivers notes that politically active women are often disparaged and stereotyped by the media. When Hillary Clinton was still first lady, she was referred to as a "witch" or "witchlike" at least 50 times in the press. Rivers writes, "male political figures may be called mean and nasty names, but those words dont usually reflect superstition and dread. Did the press ever call Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, or Clinton warlocks?" WOMEN AND SPORTS: Women athletes are also given short shrift in the media. Margaret Carlisle Duncan and Michael Messner studied sports coverage on three network affiliates in Los Angeles. They report that only nine per cent of airtime was devoted to womens sports, in contrast to the 88 per cent devoted to male athletes. Female athletes fared even worse on ESPNs national sports show Sports Center, where they occupied just over two per cent of airtime. And, according to the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women, Sports and Physical Activity, women athletes receive just three per cent of sports coverage in major Canadian dailies.

Margaret Carlisle Duncan notes that commentators (97 per cent of whom are men) use different language when they talk about female athletes. Where men are described as "big," "strong," "brilliant," "gutsy" and "aggressive," women are more often referred to as "weary," "fatigued," "frustrated," "panicked," "vulnerable" and "choking." Commentators are also twice as likely to call men by their last names only, and three times as likely to call women by their first names only. Duncan argues that this "reduces female athletes to the role of children, while giving adult status to white male athletes." The Prix Dmritas (Brickbat Prize) for sexist reporting was awarded by Quebecs Gazette des femmes to the journalists who covered the 2000 International Womens Tennis Cup. The Gazette noted in particular the journalists keen interest in any of the athletes poses that could be seen as suggestive, as well as the excessive attention accorded Anna Kournikovafor her beauty rather than her game. Media images of women in sports are also very different from the familiar pictures of male athletes in action. Female athletes are increasingly photographed in what Professor Pat Griffin calls "hypersexualized poses." Griffin notes, "When it was once enough to feminize women athletes, now it is necessary to sexualize them for men. Instead of hearing, 'I am woman, hear me roar,' we are hearing 'I am hetero-sexy, watch me strip.'"



PRINT MEDIA : The print media has perpetuated the neglect of and damage to women. All the magazines and newspapers have special columns and pages for women. There are exclusive magazines for women in almost all other languages newspapers. Invariably, their fiction sections glorify patriarchy and womens roles as housewives, mothers and dependents. The emphasis remains on embroidery, cooking and home management skills. There is practically no content, which focuses at women as individuals with persona needs, goals or achievements. Occasionally now and then success stories of women in limelight are covered and majority of them again centre round the handicrafts and other household related activities. Men control the Press. There has been a failure to identify womens problems and there is a continued projection of women through mens eyes. There are unwritten codes followed in newspaper offices; information for men, entertainment for women; about the home for women, about the world for men. True to these codes, newspapers are published for men and magazines and magazine sections for women. With the increased role of media in national life, the need of the hour is introspection by the media vis--vis creation of gender sensitive society. though huge changes have taken place in the society, sanctity of the word in print has not been lost. So there lies the increased responsibility on newspapers and magazines which have hit the market to project gender issues and particularly issues relating to women in the right perspective. The front page of dailies and weeklies in supposed to carry all the important news irrespective of sex or gender. It is rare that womens stories get onto the front page. Their concerns are normally tucked away on inside pages. Women get onto the first page usually when they are victims of disasters, or have achieved some distinguishing national or international award. Rarely do we see positive stories of how women are fighting injustice and winning. The story (The Hindu, April 20, 2004) of two women fighting for over 20 years on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and winning the prestigious award took the last page. It appears women are perpetual victims o their circumstances. A case in point is the many stories on rape that abound in our media. These stories get onto the front pages and are a constant reminder of the violence against women in society.

MOST OF THE CONTENT OF WOMEN SUPPLEMENTS OR NEWS RELATED TO WOMEN, CONCENTRATES ON RAPES, DOWRY HARASSMENT AND DEATHS, AND OTHER VIOLENCE COMMITTED ON WOMEN. The women are shown merely as the passive victims of such crimes perpetuated on them. Such reporting only perpetuates the situation and the feeling of womens powerlessness. There is no attempt to dig deeper into the facts of the case and do any follow- up on the development of the police and court proceedings, and the situation of women concerned. Often, when the accused man goes scot-free or pays only an insignificant fine, this fact goes unnoticed and unreported by the press. This sensationalisation of reports over dowry deaths, rapes and violence against women often leads to a growing desensitization of the reader population on these issues. Any other news other than such atrocities is often given a light-hearted or negative slant whether it is the statement in the headline or copy, or in the facts highlighted, or in the choice of words used. For examples; when a news story reported that a women pickpocket was caught red-handed by a woman, they chose to headline the news item Woman is womans worst enemy. Many newspapers often use such euphemism and archaic phraseology as eves, weaker sex, fairer sex, etc. to refer to women thereby indirectly emphasizing womens inequality to men. The portrayal of women in the media is stereotyped and unrealistic. The coverage of womens issues clearly relate to the stereotypes in mens minds. Editors have considered women to be newsmakers only if they belonged in the categories of important husband, beauty, victimization, cine, glamour, political significance, performance in the arts or athletics. Unequal coverage of women includes unequal coverage of womens sports events. In fact, a girl cricket team receives hardly any publicity when compared to their male counterparts which has made fund raising difficult coupled as it was with the set preferences of many organisations for boys team.

PORTRAYAL OF WOMEN IN TV: Satellite TV has offered the Indian viewers a variety of channels and genres of programming along with heavy dose of family oriented serials for women viewers. According to the National Readership Survey (NRS) cable and satellite subscription has now penetrated to 50% of all TV homes. One of the main features of the phenomenal growth of satellite TV has been the media focus on women both as consumers and as main protagonists. They entry of private TV channels has increased the visibility of women. Ratings of some of the more recent prime time soaps indicate a very high percentage of women viewers. It has also been found that women are more regular in TV viewing than men which mean women are the vivid viewers of modern soap operas. Thus 70% of TV advertisement revenue target women as prime time TV is dominated by women oriented soaps. A pre-dominantly middle class viewership ensures middle class themes and interests on TV. Todays soaps follow a new package formula that emphasizes personal relationships, family conflicts, emotions that are generally confined in a domestic space. In most serials, the soap story lines remain female centered in a stereotypical pattern focusing on womens emotions and relationships and men figuring peripherally in many ways to the bonds between women. Across entertainment channels (Zee, Sony, Star, DD Metro) there are excessive scenes of physical, psychological and verbal violence manifested in crying, screaming, ominous phone calls, verbal abuse, and threatening postures. The multiple story lines packed with emotions have women together to lure the women audience. There is much higher involvement with the characters that viewers almost live with them on a daily basis. Earlier Hindi soaps like Tara, Saans, Shanti, Aurat , projected women in multiples roles and dealt with issues of married women, extra marital relationships, sexual harassment and women fighting for their identity.

RADIO: Currently there are seven FM channels apart form four major radio stations. The women programmes on radio usually are in the format of talks, chats and interviews and include a few local and traditional songs. The content centers around the themes of health, housekeeping, childcare etc. the songs with regard to women moralize on womens and how she can keep her husbands health and wealth. The FM radio stations involve women who are associated with development or welfare programmes like DWCRA and have made constructive programmes to create an atmosphere of

women empowerment. A number of programmes on alternative employment for women in no-crop seasons are also broadcast.

In advertisements, whether it is a detergent, cosmetic, automobile or any other product youthful and beautiful images of women are frequently used to sell the product. At another level, women are strictly shown as being housebound being solely responsible for household tasks. Advertisements for food products, household cleanliness and domestic appliances are all addresses to women. In fact, whenever men and women are portrayed, the man is the achiever and the decision maker, while the women plays either a decorative or passive role. For example, the Margadarsi chit Fund advertisement clearly says that without the knowledge of wife the husband constructs the house and only takes her to the housewarming function. Another example is that of a cooking oil ad wherein mothers, grandmothers and daughters may disagree on many other things but they agree on brand oil. Very pervasive in the voice over of authority that gives approval to the product. Men in these ads are in electronic media is the male voice over of authority that gives approval to the product. Men in these advertisements are constantly telling women about the goodness of the products being advertised. This unrealistic and unfair portrayal of women by advertisers is potentially harmful since the commercials are repeated over and over again, often within the same hour. This repetition can instil roles into the minds of the viewers and often therefore serve to reinforce societys chauvinistic view of women. Women models in regional ads are basically of two kinds: the traditional women dressed in the sari and portraying the housewife or a romantic bride, and the modern women, always young in modern/western dress. The danger in such stereotyping lies in confining the sari clad woman to the home and condemning the jean-wearing young girl to being a sex object, subtle or otherwise. The attainment of gender equality is a basic development indicator. The mass media play a key role as a public forum, as a conveyer of information, and as a champion of freedom of opinion. Exploitation of women is not a new issues. Despite protests by womens groups on programmes and advertisements that degraded women, there seems to be an increase in the use of women in media to portray and carry a sexist and sexual message. It seems to be a current norm and the institutions that encourage portrayal of such images include advertisers, writers and producers, who earn huge profits. This is indeed a frightening situation. Further, the various media codes and policies are not always consistent in their guidelines. For example, alcohol ads are prohibited in the electronic media, but not in film and print media. There is inconsistency between various codes formulated by the Indian government in curbing such portrayal though all the codes specifically talk about the indecent exposure of human regarding the stereotyped portrayal of women, including domestic abuse. Although, the laws and policies exist, to control and monitor how women are portrayed and used in the media, they are seldom enforced. Hence, it is necessary to ensure that existing laws are enforced. Most clauses not clearly defined. Interpretation becomes subjective and usually up to the discretion of the enforcement officers. This is where the difficulty and root to the problem lies. The role of TV is increasing in the daily lives of people and TV, in once form or another, is here to stay. Hence it is important that the images that come across on the screen into the minds of viewers be as close to reality and al positive as possible, to enable each individual viewer grasp life as it is and therefore be able to cope better with real life situations. The portrayal of women needs to be addressed not only by women, but also by the men who are involved in the production of such portrayals.


the mass media are powerful socialization agents. The mass media have largely perpetrated and reinforced the status quo through selective dissemination of ideology and information regarding the role and status of women. The growth of media institutions and organizations has not been accompanied by growth in participation of and employment of women in the media. Communication and information are important resources to be strengthened and shared to raise community awareness and action on various development issues. Community forums of rural poor and women must be represented in various mass media councils and bodies so that their concerns and problems find expression. The just demand of the right to information campaign to release all development project details through the mass media and other channels to the people must be accepted as it will establish the right of ordinary people including women to protest against corruption, monitor use of funds and become part of governance. The contribution of womens movements and peoples initiatives for human development must be regarded as expressions of an awakened and participative community and not repressed as anti-establishment forces. All development programs must incorporated a module on communication skills, information processing and management to empower local communities to become knowledge centres. The national policy for Empowerment of Women (2001) aims to remove demeaning, degrading and negative conventional stereotypical images of women and violence against women and to use the mass media to portray images consistent with human dignity of girls and women. The policy will also involve private sector partners and media networks to insure equal access for women particularly in the area of information and communication technologies. The policy would encourage media to develop codes of conduct, professional guidelines and other self-regulatory mechanisms to remove gender stereotypes and promote balanced portrayals of women and men. Specific policy measures also include widespread dissemination of information on all aspects of legal rights, human rights and other entitlements of women, through specially designed legal literacy programmes and rights information programmes. The National Policy for Womens Empowerment also focuses on gender executive, legislative and judicial wings of the State, with a special focus on policy and programme framers, implementation and development agencies, law enforcement machinery and judicial, as well as nongovernmental organizations. Other measures of policy include: 1. Promoting societal awareness to gender issues and womens human rights. 2. Review of curriculum and educational materials to include gender education and human right issues; 3. Removal of all references derogatory to the dignity of women from all public documents and legal instruments; 4. Use of different forms of mass media to communicate social messages relating to womens equality and empowerment. the policy also aims at implementation of international commitments on empowerment of women such as the CEDAW, Convention on Rights of the Child, International Conference on Population and Development and such other instruments. International, regional and sub-regional cooperation towards the empowerment of women will continue to be encouraged by the policy through sharing experiences, exchange of ideas and technology, networking with institutions and organizations and through bilateral and multilateral partnerships. A multi-sectoral and integrated approach should be adapted to the womens empowerment programme to reinforce the benefits of health, nutrition, education and livelihood components. Property rights of women must be ensured and strengthened to safeguard their interests when in crisis. Economic empowerment alone may not be a sufficient condition for womens empowerment. Raising levels of

awareness about public policy, encouraging women to express their perspectives, confidence and self esteem building measures, stress management and capacity and skill training must all complement economic empowerment if women of India must step into a more secure future towards empowerment. Freedom of communication will be an important resource and the key for self-expression of womens choices in their development and empowerment. Womens solidarity to ensure this freedom for the female members in their own families and community will significantly influence the future empowerment of women in India.


The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, Plans and programmes have aimed at womens advancement in different spheres. From the Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-78) onwards has been a marked shift in the approach to womens issues from welfare to development. In recent years, the empowerment of women has been recognized as the central issue in determining the status of women. The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women. The 73rd and 74th Amendments (1993) to the Constitution of India have provided for reservation of seats in the local bodies of Panchayats and Municipalities for women, laying a strong foundation for their participation in decision making at the local levels. - India has also ratified various international conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights of women. Key among them is the ratification of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993. - The Mexico Plan of Action (1975), the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies (1985), the Beijing Declaration as well as the Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome Document adopted by the UNGA Session on Gender Equality and Development & Peace for the 21st century, titled "Further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action" have been unreservedly endorsed by India for appropriate follow up. - The Policy also takes note of the commitments of the Ninth Five Year Plan and the other Sectoral Policies relating to empowerment of Women. - The womens movement and a wide-spread network of non-Government Organisations which have strong grass-roots presence and deep insight into womens concerns have contributed in inspiring initiatives for the empowerment of women. However, there still exists a wide gap between the goals enunciated in the Constitution, legislation, policies, plans, programmes, and related mechanisms on the one hand and the situational reality of the status of women in India, on the other. This has been analyzed extensively in the Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India, "Towards Equality", 1974 and highlighted in the National Perspective Plan for Women, 1988-2000, the Shramshakti Report, 1988 and the Platform for Action, Five Years After- An assessment" Gender disparity manifests itself in various forms, the most obvious being the trend of continuously declining female ratio in the population in the last few decades. Social stereotyping and violence at the domestic and societal levels are some of the other manifestations. Discrimination against girl children, adolescent girls and women persists in parts of the country. The underlying causes of gender inequality are related to social and economic structure, which is based on informal and formal norms, and practices.

Consequently, the access of women particularly those belonging to weaker sections including Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/ Other backward Classes and minorities, majority of whom are in the rural areas and in the informal, unorganized sector to education, health and productive resources, among others, is inadequate. Therefore, they remain largely marginalized, poor and socially excluded. GOAL AND OBJECTIVES: The goal of this Policy is to bring about the advancement, development and empowerment of women. The Policy will be widely disseminated so as to encourage active participation of all stakeholders for achieving its goals. Specifically, the objectives of this Policy include 1. Creating an environment through positive economic and social policies for full development of women to enable them to realize their full potential 2. The de-jure and de-facto enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by women on equal basis with men in all spheres political, economic, social, cultural and civil 3. Equal access to participation and decision making of women in social, political and economic life of the nation 4. Equal access to women to health care, quality education at all levels, career and vocational guidance, employment, equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, social security and public office etc. 5. Strengthening legal systems aimed at elimination of all forms of discrimination against women 6. Changing societal attitudes and community practices by active participation and involvement of both men and women. 7. Mainstreaming a gender perspective in the development process. 8. Elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and the girl child; and 9. Building and strengthening partnerships with civil society, particularly womens organizations. VARIOUS POLICIES THAT IS PRESCRIBED IN THE ACT:

JUDICIAL LEGAL SYSTEMS: Legal-judicial system will be made more responsive and gender sensitive to womens needs, especially in cases of domestic violence and personal assault. New laws will be enacted and existing laws reviewed to ensure that justice is quick and the punishment meted out to the culprits is commensurate with the severity of the offence. 1. At the initiative of and with the full participation of all stakeholders including community and religious leaders, the Policy would aim to encourage changes in personal laws such as those related to marriage, divorce, maintenance and guardianship so as to eliminate discrimination against women. 2. The evolution of property rights in a patriarchal system has contributed to the subordinate status of women. The Policy would aim to encourage changes in laws relating to ownership of property and inheritance by evolving consensus in order to make them gender just.

3. Womens equality in power sharing and active participation in decision making, including decision making in political process at all levels will be ensured for the achievement of the goals of empowerment. All measures will be taken to guarantee women equal access to and full participation in decision making bodies at every level, including the legislative, executive, judicial, corporate, statutory bodies, as also the advisory Commissions, Committees, Boards, Trusts etc. Affirmative action such as reservations/quotas, including in higher legislative bodies, will be considered whenever necessary on a time bound basis. Womenfriendly personnel policies will also be drawn up to encourage women to participate effectively in the developmental process.

MAINSTREAMING A GENDER PERSPECTIVE IN THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS: Policies, programmes and systems will be established to ensure mainstreaming of womens perspectives in all developmental processes, as catalysts, participants and recipients. Wherever there are gaps in policies

and programmes, women specific interventions would be undertaken to bridge these. Coordinating and monitoring mechanisms will also be devised to assess from time to time the progress of such mainstreaming mechanisms. Womens issues and concerns as a result will specially be addressed and reflected in all concerned laws, sectoral policies, plans and programmes of action.

the majority of the population below the poverty line and are very often in situations of extreme poverty, given the harsh realities of intra-household and social discrimination, macro economic policies and poverty eradication programmes will specifically address the needs and problems of such women. There will be improved implementation of programmes which are already women oriented with special targets for women. Steps will be taken for mobilization of poor women and convergence of services, by offering them a range of economic and social options, along with necessary support measures to enhance their capabilities 2. MICRO CREDIT: In order to enhance womens access to credit for consumption and production, the establishment of new, and strengthening of existing micro-credit mechanisms and micro-finance institution will be undertaken so that the outreach of credit is enhanced. Other supportive measures would be taken to ensure adequate flow of credit through extant financial institutions and banks, so that all women below poverty line have easy access to credit. 3. WOMEN AND ECONOMY: Womens perspectives will be included in designing and implementing macro-economic and social policies by institutionalizing their participation in such processes. Their contribution to socio-economic development as producers and workers will be recognized in the formal and informal sectors (including home based workers) and appropriate policies relating to employment and to her working conditions will be drawn up. Such measures could include: Reinterpretation and redefinition of conventional concepts of work wherever necessary e.g. in the Census records, to reflect womens contribution as producers and workers. 4. GLOBALIZATION: Globalization has presented new challenges for the realization of the goal of womens equality, the gender impact of which has not been systematically evaluated fully. However, from the micro-level studies that were commissioned by the Department of Women & Child Development, it is evident that there is a need for re-framing policies for access to employment and quality of employment. Benefits of the growing global economy have been unevenly distributed leading to wider economic disparities, the feminization of poverty, increased gender inequality through often deteriorating working conditions and unsafe working environment especially in the informal economy and rural areas. Strategies will be designed to enhance the capacity of women and empower them to meet the negative social and economic impacts, which may flow from the globalization process. 5. WOMEN AND AGRICULTURE: In view of the critical role of women in the agriculture and allied sectors, as producers, concentrated efforts will be made to ensure that benefits of training, extension and various programmes will reach them in proportion to their numbers. The programmes for training women in soil conservation, social forestry, dairy development and other occupations allied to agriculture like horticulture, livestock including small animal husbandry, poultry, fisheries etc. will be expanded to benefit women workers in the agriculture sector. 6. WOMEN AND INDUSTRY: The important role played by women in electronics, information technology and food processing and agro industry and textiles has been crucial to the development of these sectors. They would be given comprehensive support in terms of labour legislation, social security and other support services to participate in various industrial sectors.

Women at present cannot work in night shift in factories even if they wish to. Suitable measures will be taken to enable women to work on the night shift in factories. This will be accompanied with support services for security, transportation etc. 7. SUPPORT SERVICES: The provision of support services for women, like child care facilities, including crches at work places and educational institutions, homes for the aged and the disabled will be expanded and improved to create an enabling environment and to ensure their full cooperation in social, political and economic life. Women-friendly personnel policies will also be drawn up to encourage women to participate effectively in the developmental process.
E) SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN 1. EDUCATION: Equal access to education

for women and girls will be ensured. Special measures will be taken to eliminate discrimination, universalize education, eradicate illiteracy, create a gendersensitive educational system, increase enrolment and retention rates of girls and improve the quality of education to facilitate life-long learning as well as development of occupation/vocation/technical skills by women. Reducing the gender gap in secondary and higher education would be a focus area. Sectoral time targets in existing policies will be achieved, with a special focus on girls and women, particularly those belonging to weaker sections including the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/Other Backward Classes/Minorities. Gender sensitive curricula would be developed at all levels of educational system in order to address sex stereotyping as one of the causes of gender discrimination. 2. HEALTH: A holistic approach to womens health which includes both nutrition and health services will be adopted and special attention will be given to the needs of women and the girl at all stages of the life cycle. The reduction of infant mortality and maternal mortality, which are sensitive indicators of human development, is a priority concern. This policy reiterates the national demographic goals for Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) set out in the National Population Policy 2000. Women should have access to comprehensive, affordable and quality health care. Measures will be adopted that take into account the reproductive rights of women to enable them to exercise informed choices, their vulnerability to sexual and health problems together with endemic, infectious and communicable diseases such as malaria, TB, and water borne diseases as well as hypertension and cardio-pulmonary diseases. The social, developmental and health consequences of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases will be tackled from a gender perspective. To effectively meet problems of infant and maternal mortality, and early marriage the availability of good and accurate data at micro level on deaths, birth and marriages is required. Strict implementation of registration of births and deaths would be ensured and registration of marriages would be made compulsory. In accordance with the commitment of the National Population Policy (2000) to population stabilization, this Policy recognizes the critical need of men and women to have access to safe, effective and affordable methods of family planning of their choice and the need to suitably address the issues of early marriages and spacing of children. Interventions such as spread of education, compulsory registration of marriage and special programmes like BSY should impact on delaying the age of marriage so that by 2010 child marriages are eliminated. Womens traditional knowledge about health care and nutrition will be recognized through proper documentation and its use will be encouraged. The use of Indian and alternative systems of medicine will be enhanced within the framework of overall health infrastructure available for women. 3. NUTRITION: In view of the high risk of malnutrition and disease that women face at all the three critical stages viz., infancy and childhood, adolescent and reproductive phase, focussed attention would be paid to meeting the nutritional needs of women at all stages of the life cycle. This is also

important in view of the critical link between the health of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women with the health of infant and young children. Special efforts will be made to tackle the problem of macro and micro nutrient deficiencies especially amongst pregnant and lactating women as it leads to various diseases and disabilities. Intra-household discrimination in nutritional matters vis--vis girls and women will be sought to be ended through appropriate strategies. Widespread use of nutrition education would be made to address the issues of intra-household imbalances in nutrition and the special needs of pregnant and lactating women. Womens participation will also be ensured in the planning, superintendence and delivery of the system. 4. DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION: Special attention will be given to the needs of women in the provision of safe drinking water, sewage disposal, toilet facilities and sanitation within accessible reach of households, especially in rural areas and urban slums. Womens participation will be ensured in the planning, delivery and maintenance of such services. 5. HOUSING AND SHELTER: Womens perspectives will be included in housing policies, planning of housing colonies and provision of shelter both in rural and urban areas. Special attention will be given for providing adequate and safe housing and accommodation for women including single women, heads of households, working women, students, apprentices and trainees. 6. ENVIRONMENT: Women will be involved and their perspectives reflected in the policies and programmes for environment, conservation and restoration. Considering the impact of environmental factors on their livelihoods, womens participation will be ensured in the conservation of the environment and control of environmental degradation. The vast majority of rural women still depend on the locally available non-commercial sources of energy such as animal dung, crop waste and fuel wood. In order to ensure the efficient use of these energy resources in an environmental friendly manner, the Policy will aim at promoting the programmes of non-conventional energy resources. Women will be involved in spreading the use of solar energy, biogas, smokeless chulahs and other rural application so as to have a visible impact of these measures in influencing eco system and in changing the life styles of rural women. 7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Programmes will be strengthened to bring about a greater involvement of women in science and technology. These will include measures to motivate girls to take up science and technology for higher education and also ensure that development projects with scientific and technical inputs involve women fully. Efforts to develop a scientific temper and awareness will also be stepped up. Special measures would be taken for their training in areas where they have special skills like communication and information technology. Efforts to develop appropriate technologies suited to womens needs as well as to reduce their drudgery will be given a special focus too. 8. WOMEN IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES: In recognition of the diversity of womens situations and in acknowledgement of the needs of specially disadvantaged groups, measures and programmes will be undertaken to provide them with special assistance. These groups include women in extreme poverty, destitute women, women in conflict situations, women affected by natural calamities, women in less developed regions, the disabled widows, elderly women, single women in difficult circumstances, women heading households, those displaced from employment, migrants, women who are victims of marital violence, deserted women and prostitutes etc.

forms of violence against women, physical and mental, whether at domestic or societal levels, including those arising from customs, traditions or accepted practices shall be dealt with effectively with a view to eliminate its incidence. Institutions and mechanisms/schemes for assistance will be created and strengthened for prevention of such violence , including sexual harassment at work place and customs like dowry; for the rehabilitation of the victims of violence and

for taking effective action against the perpetrators of such violence. A special emphasis will also be laid on programmes and measures to deal with trafficking in women and girls.

GIRL CHILD: All forms of discrimination against the girl child and violation of her rights shall be eliminated by undertaking strong measures both preventive and punitive within and outside the family. These would relate specifically to strict enforcement of laws against prenatal sex selection and the practices of female foeticide, female infanticide, child marriage, child abuse and child prostitution etc. Removal of discrimination in the treatment of the girl child within the family and outside and projection of a positive image of the girl child will be actively fostered. There will be special emphasis on the needs of the girl child and earmarking of substantial investments in the areas relating to food and nutrition, health and education, and in vocational education. In implementing programmes for eliminating child labour, there will be a special focus on girl children.

MASS MEDIA: Media will be used to portray images consistent with human dignity of girls and women. The Policy will specifically strive to remove demeaning, degrading and negative conventional stereotypical images of women and violence against women. Private sector partners and media networks will be involved at all levels to ensure equal access for women particularly in the area of information and communication technologies. The media would be encouraged to develop codes of conduct, professional guidelines and other self regulatory mechanisms to remove gender stereotypes and promote balanced portrayals of women and men. OPERATIONAL STRATEGIES ACTION PLANS: All Central and State Ministries will draw up time bound Action Plans for translating the Policy into a set of concrete actions, through a participatory process of consultation with Centre/State Departments of Women and Child Development and National /State Commissions for Women. The Plans will specifically including the following: 1. Measurable goals to be achieved by 2010. 2. Identification and commitment of resources. 3. Responsibilities for implementation of action points. 4. Structures and mechanisms to ensure efficient monitoring, review and gender impact assessment of action points and policies. 5. Introduction of a gender perspective in the budgeting process. In order to support better planning and programme formulation and adequate allocation of resources, Gender Development Indices (GDI) will be developed by networking with specialized agencies. These could be analyzed and studied in depth. Gender auditing and development of evaluation mechanisms will also be undertaken along side. Collection of gender disaggregated data by all primary data collecting agencies of the Central and State Governments as well as Research and Academic Institutions in the Public and Private Sectors will be undertaken. Data and information gaps in vital areas reflecting the status of women will be sought to be filled in by these immediately. All Ministries/Corporations/Banks and financial institutions etc will be advised to collect, collate, disseminate and maintain/publish data related to programmes and benefits on a gender disaggregated basis. This will help in meaningful planning and evaluation of policies. INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISMS Institutional mechanisms, to promote the advancement of women, which exist at the Central and State levels, will be strengthened. These will be through interventions as may be appropriate and will relate to, among others, provision of adequate resources, training and advocacy skills to effectively influence macro-policies, legislation, programmes etc. to achieve the empowerment of women.

National and State Councils will be formed to oversee the operationalisation of the Policy on a regular basis. The National Council will be headed by the Prime Minister and the State Councils by the Chief Ministers and be broad in composition having representatives from the concerned Departments/Ministries, National and State Commissions for Women, Social Welfare Boards, representatives of Non-Government Organizations, Womens Organisations, Corporate Sector, Trade Unions, financing institutions, academics, experts and social activists etc. These bodies will review the progress made in implementing the Policy twice a year. The National Development Council will also be informed of the progress of the programme undertaken under the policy from time to time for advice and comments. National and State Resource Centres on women will be established with mandates for collection and dissemination of information, undertaking research work, conducting surveys, implementing training and awareness generation programmes, etc. These Centers will link up with Womens Studies Centres and other research and academic institutions through suitable information networking systems. While institutions at the district level will be strengthened, at the grass-roots, women will be helped by Government through its programmes to organize and strengthen into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) at the Anganwadi/Village/Town level. The womens groups will be helped to institutionalize themselves into registered societies and to federate at the Panchyat/Municipal level. These societies will bring about synergistic implementation of all the social and economic development programmes by drawing resources made available through Government and Non-Government channels, including banks and financial institutions and by establishing a close Interface with the Panchayats/ Municipalities. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Availability of adequate financial, human and market resources to implement the Policy will be managed by concerned Departments, financial credit institutions and banks, private sector, civil society and other connected institutions. This process will include: a. Assessment of benefits flowing to women and resource allocation to the programmes relating to them through an exercise of gender budgeting. Appropriate changes in policies will be made to optimize benefits to women under these schemes; b. Adequate resource allocation to develop and promote the policy outlined earlier based on (a) above by concerned Departments. c. Developing synergy between personnel of Health, Rural Development, Education and Women & Child Development Department at field level and other village level functionaries d. Meeting credit needs by banks and financial credit institutions through suitable policy initiatives and development of new institutions in coordination with the Department of Women & Child Development. The strategy of Womens Component Plan adopted in the Ninth Plan of ensuring that not less than 30% of benefits/funds flow to women from all Ministries and Departments will be implemented effectively so that the needs and interests of women and girls are addressed by all concerned sectors. The Department of Women and Child Development being the nodal Ministry will monitor and review the progress of the implementation of the Component Plan from time to time, in terms of both quality and quantity in collaboration with the Planning Commission. Efforts will be made to channelize private sector investments too, to support programmes and projects for advancement of women LEGISLATION: The existing legislative structure will be reviewed and additional legislative measures taken by identified departments to implement the Policy. This will also involve a review of all existing laws including personal, customary and tribal laws, subordinate legislation, related rules as well as executive and administrative regulations to eliminate all gender discriminatory references. The process will be planned over a time period 2000-2003. The specific measures required would be evolved through a consultation process involving civil society, National Commission for Women and

Department of Women and Child Development. In appropriate cases the consultation process would be widened to include other stakeholders too. Effective implementation of legislation would be promoted by involving civil society and community. Appropriate changes in legislation will be undertaken, if necessary. In addition, following other specific measures will be taken to implement the legislation effectively. (a) Strict enforcement of all relevant legal provisions and speedy redressal of grievances will be ensured, with a special focus on violence and gender related atrocities. (b) Measures to prevent and punish sexual harassment at the place of work, protection for women workers in the organized/ unorganized sector and strict enforcement of relevant laws such as Equal Remuneration Act and Minimum Wages Act will be undertaken, (c) Crimes against women, their incidence, prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution will be regularly reviewed at all Crime Review fora and Conferences at the Central, State and District levels. Recognised, local, voluntary organizations will be authorized to lodge Complaints and facilitate registration, investigations and legal proceedings related to violence and atrocities against girls and women. (d) Womens Cells in Police Stations, Encourage Women Police Stations Family Courts, Mahila Courts, Counselling Centers, Legal Aid Centers and Nyaya Panchayats will be strengthened and expanded to eliminate violence and atrocities against women. (e) Widespread dissemination of information on all aspects of legal rights, human rights and other entitlements of women, through specially designed legal literacy programmes and rights information programmes will be done. GENDER SENSITIZATION: Training of personnel of executive, legislative and judicial wings of the State, with a special focus on policy and programme framers, implementation and development agencies, law enforcement machinery and the judiciary, as well as non-governmental organizations will be undertaken. Other measures will include: a. Promoting societal awareness to gender issues and womens human rights. b. Review of curriculum and educational materials to include gender education and human rights issues c. Removal of all references derogatory to the dignity of women from all public documents and legal instruments. d. Use of different forms of mass media to communicate social messages relating to womens equality and empowerment. PANCHAYATI RAJ INSTITUTIONS: The 73rd and 74th Amendments (1993) to the Indian Constitution have served as a breakthrough towards ensuring equal access and increased participation in political power structure for women. The PRIs will play a central role in the process of enhancing womens participation in public life. The PRIs and the local self Governments will be actively involved in the implementation and execution of the National Policy for Women at the grassroots level.

If democracy is the rule by the people, the question that arises is, who participates in political decisions, which is one of the most fundamental questions of democracy. It is the will of the people, men and women, which decides who should be rule and what the goals should be. Citizens use participation as a way to communicate their aspirations and needs, and a technique to strengthen democracy. Lack of ability to participate implies lack of full membership within the system. The government takes important decisions not only on national and international issues, but also on

matters which affect womens lives directly, such as maternity and childcare. Though women have large stake in politics, as large as that of men, they don not have their share of political power. Politics, the sphere of public life that deals with establishing, interpreting and enforcing the rules of personal and community relations, has not welcomed women,. Against the traditional view of politics as an activity conscious, deliberate participation in the formal political process, there is another view which tends to equate politics with the working out of relationships within a given power structure. Traditionally it was believed that politics takes place in the public sphere, distinct and distant from the private sphere. So in a conventional analysis, political participation means activities related to electoral politics, like voting, campaigning, holding party offices and contesting elections. Now such views and the public private divide are challenged by feminist scholars and activist. It is argued that the public private divide has been used to legitimize womens issues in the private sphere. They are issues concerning all in the public sphere. The New Delhi Document on women in development accepted that though there has been a rapid growth of informal political activity by women to advance their own interest and their rights as citizens, their role in the formal political structures has remained virtually unchanged. And this has resulted in a serious conceptual debate among activists regarding the concept and indicators for political participation. Much of politics occurs outside conventional political institutions. Political participation, therefore, has to be understood in its broader context. The concept of political participation encompasses all voluntary actions intended to influence the making of public policies, the administration of public affairs and the choice of political leaders at all levels of government. Political participation is concerned not only with the organization of the state and government and the dialectics of the exercise of power; it also seeks to reorganize the lives of the members of society. Today the political interventions by women in India range from movements for peace and good governance to protests against rape, dowry, domestic violence, food adulteration, the price rise and deforestation. They are raising their voices against discrimination and injustice in social, economic and political spheres. Politics for them does not mean only the activities of electing representatives and governing. It also includes efforts of raising consciousness and changing the unequal power structure for a just and equal system. 1. WOMEN AND ELECTORAL POLITICS: After independence, Indian women slowly began to realize that actualization of promises of equality is not a smooth process. As the euphoria over newly won freedom subsided, the complicated and intricate pattern of politics became clear with its variations of castes, languages, religions and divisions of family structures and cultural tradition. Indian women started becoming aware of the barriers of castes, class, language, religion, and region and the consequent complexity of these issues as well as difficulties encountered in handling them. Participation in the freedom struggle had not generated any controversy on gender roles. The assimilation of women in the struggle to free the nation had given them confidence and access to positions of power and responsibility, still the positions of power were not within easy reach. 2. WOMEN AND VOTING: Since 1951 women have been participating in the formal channel of politics as voters, as party workers, as candidates contesting various elections, and as legislators and ministers involved in deliberations and policy making. But only a few women have been able to occupy decision making positions. Voting is the most important and basic means by which citizens are assimilated into the political process and learn how to exercise power. When India decided to conduct the biggest experiment of democracy by granting adult franchise, millions of men and women participated in the political process for the first time in the history of the nation. It is disappointed that during the initial stages enough care was not taken to compile the data and statistic pertaining to women.

In the very first election, thousands of women were left out, as their names were not properly registered. The reasons for this can be traced to the traditions of a land in which a woman is known mainly by her relation to a man father, husband or son. These women naturally failed to understand the fact that giving ones name correctly in the first step in the process of exercising political power. The striking fact about the male female turn-out in voting was the astoundingly low figure for women in the initial years. A redeeming fact, however, is that the gap between the number of women and men voting has been barrowing. Many factors impact on elections, such as education, religion. Consciousness regarding caste and class, awareness about womens issues, opinions of male members in the family, preferences for women candidates and the programmes and policies of various political parties. The close relationship between literacy and voting is generally accepted. Still, it cannot be assumed that literacy always stimulates political awareness. There is no dearth of evidence to show that educated women are often apathetic to voting, while the uneducated women in rural areas display remarkable enthusiasm for voting. Again, in a society bound by traditions and dominated by religion, there is a great possibility of votes being influenced by religion or religious teachers. Political parties often appeal to the religious sentiments of women voters and make clever use of religious festivals to mobilize women voters. 3. WOMEN AND POLITICAL PARTIES: Almost all political parties are generous in giving promise for a better future for women. The Womens movement and the declaration of 1875 as the Womens Year and later 1975-85 as the Womens Decade brought some change in the perspective of political parties towards women. The government has also accepted the approach of visualizing women as participants in the process of development and not as mere beneficiaries of welfare schemes. The 1989 elections reflected the changing approach of political parties to women, at least in words. Among the many promises doled out to women, prominent were: 30 percent reservation for women in institutions of local self-government; (Congress); 30 percent reservation for women in panchayats (CPM-I); 30% reservation in government jobs (The National Front) and reservation up to 30% for women in certain categories of jobs (BJP). in 1996, up to 30% reservation for women was promised by the Congress and 33% by the BJP and the CPI-M. But the practice showed a different pattern. The number of women candidates fielded was: 49 by the Congress, 23 by the BJP, 13 by the Janata Dal and four by the CPI. In the 1998 elections also, the BJP and alliance partners, the Congress, the United Front, the Janata Dal and left parties promised many programmes for women, including 33% reservations of seats for women in state assemblies and Parliament. But again, not many women candidates were in the election fray. The number of women candidates put up was 44 by the Congress, 26 by the BJP, 10 by the Janata Dal and three by the CPI. 4. ELECTED WOMEN: Many factors are important in the election of women candidates, such as literacy, a liberal family background, the financial position of the family, the support of male family members, involvement of politics, local conditions, campaign strategy, pull within the party, and personality. The combined result of all these factors is that very few women are given tickets and even fewer get elected form among this small number. Getting a ticket is in fact very difficult for women aspiring for political power. There are considerations of the strategies of the party leaders. Party politics, money power, caste affiliation, regional politics and individual capacity of the candidate. Parties are not willing to invest their energy in the election of women contestants, they are doubtful about their success. Often, women candidates dropped to make political compromises, or are given tickets for constituencies where there is little chance of their winning.

5. 2009 GENERAL ELECTION: NUMBER OF WOMEN ELECTED: In 2009 general election 61 women MPs were elected. (from TOI dated 25 May). A record 61 women MPs have been elected to the 15 th Lok Sabha the highest since independence. A majority of these MPs 23 belong to Congress. The BJP has contributed 13 women to the House. UP has sent 13 women to parliament first among the states and WB is second with seven women MPs. So, is India politics getting shade farer? Yes, a ways, says Girija Vyas, who heads the National Commission for Women and is Congress MP from Chittorgarh. It definitely shows a change in the mindset of the parties who are now giving more tickets to women MPs, she says. But human rights researcher Ship Visvanthan, who is a seniour fellow at Delhis Centre for the study of developing societies syas this, is just preliminary indicator at best. But Visvanathan says he hopes the new women MPs pay more attention to womens issues.


Media is powerful tool for change and development. Its role is very important in reference to women development. The target of educational. Social, cultural and economic development of women can not be met without the help of media. It provides the information regarding employment availability enhances the knowledge level and bring to light the social and cultural conditions of women. Media plays an important role in saving the women from atrocities and exploitation. It provides the women information about the laws and makes them aware about negative situations. It also plays an active role in uniting various groups working for women and in the process increasing their efficiency of work. POSITIVE ASPECT: The media is very important for the development and empowerment of women. It has played an active and important role in making women aware about their rights, to associate them with the developmental work and to enhance their education and knowledge level. It has also publicized their progress in various fields and in this way has inspired them to do even better. Wherever social constraints or orthodox powers or male chauvinistic attitudes have tried to control the progress of women or tried to exploit them and not to give them their due media has always been on her side in her to struggle to restore their due rights and respect. Media has provided the stage for various issues related to women development and empowerment like employment, better health services, sexual and mental exploitation, equal right in family property etc. and has inspired the government to make policies regarding them. NEGATIVE ASPECTS: But under the influence of media capitalism and marketing policy, one aspect of media has been negative with respect to women. It has presented women as a commodity in advertisements, films, serials etc. the result of this kind of presentation of women in media is the formation of womens image as an object of desire. This has damaged women empowerment steps and has crested negative and consumerist attitude towards them in society. In India many steps are taken to empower women on constitutional and government level. The year 1975 was declared the international womens year and this was followed in India too. The decade of seventies was celebrated as the womens decade. The year of 2001 was celebrated as the year of women empowerment. During the last decade at panchayat level women were empowered by providing them 33% reservation of seats. At the level of legal front, Dowry abolition act implemented in 1961 have seen two amendments. For working women maternity benefit ordinance 1961 and equal wages ordinance 1976 have been implemented effectively. According to the directions given by Supreme Court of India (13th August 1977) the misbehavior against women has been defined extensively. In 1996 the sex determination before the birth has been regulated through tough laws and punishment is well defined in cases of termination of pregnancy after the embryo had been found to be female.

The government of India has passed National Policy on rights of women on 20th March 2001, whose objective is to safeguard the rights of women, development and progress of women and to stop discriminative behavior against women and to ascertain equal opportunity for women in all walks and streams of social, cultural and political life. Under an act of 1990 the National Commission for women was established to undertake the causes of women and to stop atrocities and exploitation of women. GOVERNMENT SCHEMES OF WOMEN WELFARE: UDISHA: Women and child welfare scheme with the help of World Bang. SHISHU SADAN: Working/sick womens children (less than 5 yrs of a Age) welfare scheme. Started in 1975. STEP: Training and employment scheme established in 1987. SELF EMPLOYMENT: Technical training scheme started with the help of Norwegian government. SVAYAMSIDHA: New concept of Indira scheme. Loan scheme for women. SWA-SHAKTI: Development and rights scheme for rural women. BALIKA SMRIDHI: Scheme related to change social attitude towards girl child. CONDENSED PROGRAMME: Condensed programme for education and vocation. WORKING WOMEN HOSTEL: Residing facility for working women and their children SWADHAR: Welfare and self-employment scheme for homeless and abandoned women and prostitutes. Started in 2001-02 Media has played both positive and negative roles with respect to women related issues. It is natural for the media to support the cause of women because although they are the strongest part of the society but at the same time neglected too at the hands of biased social system and male chauvinism rampantly present in our society. Media has played its role with full capacity and whole heartedly and played an important role in their development. But it has also presented negative image of women. It is the duty of media to refrain from negative presentation of women and to keep playing active role in their development and give full thrust to women empowerment, because the battle is not even half won. When each and every woman and girl child of India will have the right to education, good health, freedom of selection and speech, then only it can be said that the media has worked responsibly.

ILA BHATT: She is also known as Elaben Bhatt. She is born on Sept. 7, 1933 in Ahmadabad city. She is the founder of Indias Self-Employed Womens Association (SEWA) she is a lawyer by training. She did her Law studies at Sir L A Shah Law College in Ahmadabad. she has been conferred with an honorary doctorate by the Harvard University, USA for noble service she is doing to the society. SEWA an NGO run by Elaben Bhatt has been working for poor women for 3 decades. Dr. Elaben Bhatt is a respected leader of the international labour, cooperative, women, and micro-finance movements who has won several national and international awards. She has been awarded by Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Ramon Magsaysay Award. MADHU KISHWAR: Madhu Purnima Kishwar is also known as Madhu Kishwar. She is the Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), based in Delhi and the Director of the Indic Studies Project based at CSDS and Convener of a series of International Conferences on Religions and Cultures in the Indic Civilization.

She was founder editor of Manushi a journal about Women and Society published since 1979. The journal is run by a non-profit trust. Manushi has traveled far and wide, both within India and abroad. It attempts to bridge the gap between academia and activism. It is widely read by social activists, academics, and a whole range of concerned citizens, including Non Resident Indians. Founder President of Manushi Sangathan registered under the Societies Registration. Act, is a forum for research based activist interventions. It works for democratic reforms that will promote greater social justice and strengthen human rights, especially for women. The Sangathan endeavours to go beyond offering critiques and suggestions for reform to actually testing strategist that provide viable and worthwhile solutions to the various problems confronting India today such a denial inheritance rights to women, religion and ethnic conflicts, livelihood rights of the self employed poor. BRINDA KARAT: She is born on 17 Oct, 1947. She is a communist politician of India. She is elected to the Rajya Sabha as a communist Party of India (Marxist) member on April 11, for West Bengal. In 1967, she left for London, where she worked with Air India at Bond Street for fours years. While working for Air India, she campaigned against the mandatory wearing of skirts in the airlines, after which she became an activist. She has returned to India motivated to work for the people. While working in London she became associated with the anti-imperialist, and ant-war movements during the Vietnam war and Marxist ideology. She also attributes many of her political ideals to the economist Devaki Jain, her professor at Miranda House. In 1971 she decided to leave her job and return to Calcutta, where she joined the communist party of India CPI in 1971, under the guidance of B T Ranadive. On the suggestion of the party of understand practical politics, she joined the Calcutta University. Initially she worked with students in the college campus and later during the Bangladesh war at refugee camps in the city. In 1975, she shifted to Delhi and started working as a trade union organizer with textile mill workers in North Delhi. She grew to be active with workers movements and the Indian womens movements. She gained prominence in the campaign for reform of rape laws in the 1980s. Karat resigned from the central committee of the CPI (M) protesting the lack of representation of women. Even today, Brinda stands out as a prominent campaigner for gender issues. In 2005, she became the first woman member of the CPI-M Politburo. She has also been the general secretary of the All India Democratic Womens Association (AIDWA) from 1993 to 2004 and thereafter its Vice President. URVASHI BUTALIA: She is an Indian feminist and historian. She is the Director and Co-founder of Kali for Women, Indias first feminist publishing hours. Born in Ambala, India, in 1952. she earned a BA in literature form Miranda house, Delhi University in 1917, a Masters in literature from Delhi University in 1973. and a Masters in South Asian studies from the University of London in 1977. She worked as an editor for Zed Publishing and later went on to set up her own publishing house. Her writing has appeared in several newspapers including The Guardian, The Statesmen, The Times of India and several magazines including Outlook, the New Internationalist and India Today. Butalia is a consultant for Oxfam India and she holds the position of Reader at the College of Vocational Studies at the University of Delhi. Her main areas of research are partition and oral histories. She has also written on gender, communalism, fundamentalism and media. The Other Side of Silence has been one of the most influential books in South Asian studies of the past decade. The book is the product of more than seventy interviews. Butalia conducted with survivors of the Partition, and emphasizes particularly the role of violence against women in the collective experience of the tragedy.

Butalias book is widely taught in classes in anthropology, South Asian literature, and Womens Studies classes.



EQUAL WAGES: There is no difference between men and women in the work place. Every day women are also working same amount of hours but salary is low compare to men folks. So there should be equal payment for the women too. No discrimination on wages. B) SPECIAL TREATMENT: Since women are backward in many areas they should be given special attentions and privileges. C) MATERNAL LEAVE: Women who are on the stage of pregnancy should be given maternal leave from the job. D) VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT: The government should pass special Act on violence against women. E) DOWRY: Its alarming issue in India. Scores of laws have been enacted but the practices of dowry are still prevalent in many parts of our country. Cases of killing and harassment have been reported. F) REMARRIAGE: Women who loses husband should be allowed to remarry for the security of the woman. There should not be any obstacles in the community. G) SUCCESSION: Many laws on property ownership are discriminatory. Indian societies the family property is usually shared among the male children. Without any discrimination the properties should be also be shared with the girl child. I) EQUAL EDUATION FOR GIRL CHILDREN: every girl child too should get equal opportunities to study like boys.


MARRIAGE LEGISLATION: In March 1961, when the bill on unequal marriages was being discussed in the Rajya Sabha, one member quoted epic against its inclusion in the institution of Hindu marriage. Dr. Radhakrishnan, the then chairman of the Rajya Sabha, had remarked: the ancient history cannot solve the problems of modern society. This is an answer in one sentence to those critics who want to maintain a gap between social opinion and social legislation. The laws enacted in India relate to: (i) age at marriage (ii) field of mate selection, (iii) number of spouses in marriage, (iv) breaking of marriage, (v) dowry to be given and taken, and (vi) remarriage. The important legislations relating to these six aspects of marriage passed from time to time are: (i) The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (dealing with age at marriage), (ii) The Hindu Marriage Disabilities Removal Act 1946 and Hindu Marriage Validity Act, 1949 (dealing with field of mate selection), (iii) The Special Act. 1954 (dealing with age at marriage, freedom to children in marriage without parental consent, bigamy, and breaking up of marriage), (iv) the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (dealing with age at marriage with the consent of parents bigamy, and breaking up of marriage) (v) The Dowry Act 1961, and (vi) The Widow Remarriage Act, 1856. THE CHILD MARRIAGE RESTRAINT ACT, 1929 It came into force on April 1, 1930. It restrains the marriage of a child, though the marriage itself is not declared void. Accordingly, contracting, performing and facilitating the marriage of boys under eighteen and girls less than fourteen years of age were an offence. The age of girls was later on raised to fifteen years. The amendment made in 1978 further rose the age for boys to twenty-one years and for girls to eighteen years.

The violation of the Act prescribes penalty but the marriage itself remains valid. The offence under the Act is non-cognizable and provides punishment for the bridegroom, parent, guardian, and the priest, which are three months of simple imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs. 1000. No woman is, however, punishable with imprisonment under this Act. The Act also provides for the issue of injunction order prohibiting the child marriage. But no action can be taken for the offence if a period of more than one year has expired from the date of the alleged marriage. THE HINDU MARRIAGE DISABILITIES REMOVAL ACT,1946 Among Hindus, no marriage is valid between persons related to each other within the prohibited degrees, unless such marriage is sanctioned by custom. However, this Act validated marriages between persons belonging to the same gotra or parivara (agnatic groups). This Act now stands repealed after the passing of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. THE HINDU MARRIAGE VALIDITY ACT, 1949 Pratiloma (hypogamy) marriage among Hindus was invalid while anuloma (hypergamy) marriage was permitted till late 1940s. However there were judicial decisions against the validity of such marriage. The 1949 Act validated all marriage between parties belonging to different religions, castes sub-castes or sects. But it did not validate marriage between a Hindu and a Muslim. This Act also stands repealed after the 1955 Act. THE HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, 1955: This Act came into force from May 18, 1955 and applies to whole of India, except Jammu and Kashmir. The word Hindu in the Act includes Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists and the Scheduled Castes. The conditions for marriage between any two Hindus as provided in the Act are: (i) neither party has a spouse living; (ii) neither party is an idiot or lunatic; (iii) the groom must have completed eighteen years age and the bride fifteen years age. The amendment in the Act made in 1978 has raised this age to twenty-one years for boys and eighteen years for girls (iv) the parties should not be within the degrees of prohibited relationships, unless the custom permits the marriage between the two; (v) the parties should not be sapindas of each other unless the custom permits the marriage between the two; (vi) where the bride is under eighteen years of age and the groom is under twentyone years of age the consent of her/his guardian in marriage must have been obtained. The persons whose consent may be obtained in order of preference are: father, mother, paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, brother paternal uncle, maternal, maternal grandmother and maternal uncle. No particular form of solemnization is prescribed by the Act. The parties are free to solemnize the marriage in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies. The Act permits judicial separation as well as annulment of marriage. Either party can seek judicial separation on any one of the four grounds; desertion for a continuous of two years, cruel treatment, leprosy, and adultery. The annulment of marriage may be on any one of the following four grounds: (i) the spouse must have been impotent at the time of marriage and continues to be so until the institution of the proceedings, (ii) party to the marriage was an idiot or lunatic at the time of marriage, (iii) consent of the petitioner or of the guardian was obtained by force or fraud. However, the petition presented on this ground will not be entertained after one years of marriage, and (iv) the wife was pregnant by some person other than the petitioner at the time of marriage. The dissolution of marriage may be on the grounds of adultery, conversion of religion, unsound mind, leprosy, venereal disease, renunciation, desertion for seven years, and cohabitation not resumed after two years after judicial separation. A wife may also apply for divorce if her husband had already a wife before marriage, and he is guilty of rape or bestiality. The 1986 amendment permits divorce on the ground of incompatibility and mutual consent also. The petition for dissolution of marriage can be submitted to the court only when three years have elapsed after marriage.

This period has, however, been reduced to one year after the 1986 amendment. The divorcees cannot remarry till one year elapses since the decree of divorce. The Act also provides for the maintenance allowance during judicial separation and alimony after divorce. Not only wife but also husband can also claim the maintenance allowances. THE SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT, 1954: This Act came into force on April 1, 1955. It repealed the Special Marriage Act, 1872 which provided a form of marriage for those who did not wish to conform to the existing forms. The 1872 Act provided that persons wishing to marry (under the Act) had to declare that they did not profess Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Muslim, Parsis, Christian or any other religion. In 1923, an amendment was made in the Act under which a person wanting to marry (under the Act) had not to give any such declaration. Each party was simply required to make a declaration that it professed one or other religion. The Act, thus, recognized inter-religion marriages. The conditions pertaining to age, living spouse, prohibited relationship and mental state as prescribed by the 1954 Act for marriage are the same as provided in the 1955 Act. Under the 1954 Act, a marriage officer solemnizes the marriage. The parties have to notify him at least a month before the marriage date. One of the parties must have resided in the district in which the marriage officer's office is located. During this one month, any person can raise objection against the marriage. If the marriage is not solemnized within three months from the date of notice, a fresh notice is required. Presence of two witnesses is necessary at the time of marriage. This Act also provides for the annulment of marriage, judicial separation, as well as divorce and alimony. The grounds for these are the same as provided in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. THE HINDU WIDOWS REMARRIAGE ACT, 1856: From Smriti period onwards, widows were not permitted to remarry. According to Manu, a widow who marries again brings disgrace on herself; she should, therefore, be excluded from the seat of her lord. The 1856 Act removed all legal obstacles to the marriage of Hindu widows. The object was to promote good morals and public welfare. The Act declares that the remarriage of a widow whose husband is dead at the time of her second marriage is valid and no issue of such marriage will be illegitimate. In case the remarrying widow is a minor whose marriage has not been consummated, the consent of father, mother, grandfather, and elder brother or nearest male relative is required. Any marriage contracted without such consent is void. However, if the marriage has been consummated, it will not be declared void. The Act forfeits the widow her right of maintenance out of the estate of her first husband. THE DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT, 1961: This Act was passed on May 20, 1961. The Act does not apply to Muslims. It permits exchange of gifts for not more than Rs. 2,000. It prescribes the penalty of six month's imprisonment or a fine up to Rs. 5,000 or both for its violation. The police, on its own, cannot take any action for the violation of the Act unless some complaint is lodged with it. No action can be taken after one year of marriage. SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROGRAMME: Under this programme, the Central Social Welfare Board gives financial assistance to voluntary organizations for undertaking a wide variety of income-generating activities which include the production of central components in ancillaries units, handlooms, handicrafts, agro-based activities such as animal husbandry sericulture and fisheries and selfemployment ventures like vegetables or fish-vending, etc. For production units, only women organization and organizations working for the handicapped women cooperatives and institution like jails, and Nariniketans, are eligible for grants to the extent of 85

percent of the project cost and the remaining 15 percent is to be met by the grantee institutions. The dairy scheme focuses exclusively on women's organizations having at least 20 women members, including Mahila Mandals, Indira Mahila Kendras, Self Help Groups and organizations already assisted under STEP schemes. The benefits of the scheme are meant for women whose families are below the poverty line. RURAL WOMEN'S DEVELOPMENT AND EMPLOYMENT PROJECT: The Rural Women's Development and Empowerment Project (now also being called "SWA-SAKTI Project" has been sanctioned on 16 October 1998 as a Centrally-sponsored project for five years at an estimated outlay of Rs. 186.21 crore. In addition, an amount of Rs. Five crore is to be provided, over the project period but outside the project outlay, for facilitating setting up in the project States of revolving funds for giving interestbearing loans to beneficiary groups primarily during their initial formative stage. The objectives of the project are (i) Establishment of self-reliant women's self-help-groups (SHGs) between 7,400 and 12,000 having 15-20 members each, which will improve the quality of their lives, through greater access to and control over, resources; (ii) Sensitizing and strengthening the institutional capacity of support agencies to proactively address women's needs; (ii) Developing linkages between SHGs and leading institutions to ensure women's continued access to credit facilities for income generation activities; (iv) Enhancing women's access to resources for better quality of life, including those for drudgery reduction and time-saving devices; and (v) Increased control of women, particularly poor women, over income and spending, through their involvement in income generating activities. The implementing agencies will be the Women's Development Corporation of the concerned States of Bihar, Haryana, and Karnataka; Gujarat Women's Economic Development Corporation in Gujarat; M.P. Mahila Arthik Vikas Nigam in Madhya Pradesh and Mahila Kalyan Nigam in Uttar Pradesh, who will actively associate NGOs in the implementation tasks. The Government of India in the form of grant-in-aid will provide funds. At the Central level, the Department of Women and Child Development, assisted by the Central Project Support Unit (CPSU), handle the project. NIPCCD has been identified as the Lead Training Agency, while Agricultural Finance Corporation has been contracted as the Lead Monitoring and Evaluation Agency. Both of them work in close liaison with the CPSU, under the directions of the Department. DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN RURAL AREAS (DWCRA): Development of Women and Children in Rural Area Programme (DWCRA) was started in September 1982 in the form of a sub-plan of Integrated Rural Development Programme. The main aim of this programme was to provide proper self-employment opportunities to the women of those rural families who are living below the poverty line, so that their social and economic standard could be improved. INDIRA MAHILA YOJNA: The Indira Mahila Yojana (IMY) aims at organizing at the grass-root level to facilitate their participation in decision-making and their empowerment was launched on 20 August 1995, to start with, in 200 ICDS blocks. The strength of the scheme lies in the strength of group dynamics. The objectives of the scheme are: convergence of the schemes of every sectoral department; awareness generation among the women from rural areas and urban slums; and economic empowerment of women. BALIKA SAMRIDDHI YOJANA: The Balika Samriddhi Yojana (BSY) is a scheme to raise the status of the girl child. The first component of the scheme of BSY was launched with effect from 2 October 1997. Under this, the mother of a girl child born on or after 15 August 1997 in family living below the poverty line was given a grant of Rs. 500. The benefits and means of delivery have been redesigned in the current financial years. The post-delivery grant of Rs. 500 per girl child (up to two girls in a family living below the poverty line) will be deposited in bank account in the name of the girl child or in a

post office if there is no bank nearby. In the same account will be deposited annual scholarships ranging from Rs. 300 for class I to Rs. 1,000 for class X when the girl starts going to school. The matured value of the deposits (along with interest) will be repayable to the girl on her attaining the age of 18 years and having remained unmarried till then. NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN: The National Commission for Women was set up on 31 January 1992 in pursuance of the National Commission for Women Act 1990. The functions assigned to the Commission are wide and varied covering almost all facets of issues relating to safeguarding women's rights and promotion. The Commission has a Chairman, five members and a Member Secretary, all nominated by the Central government. The Commission continues to pursue its mandated activities, namely, review of legislation, interventions in specific individual complaints of atrocities and remedial action to safeguard the interest of women where appropriate and feasible. The Commission has accorded highest priority to securing speedy justice to women. Towards this end, the Commission is organizing Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats, offering counseling in family disputes and conducting training programmes for creating legal awareness among women. PLAN OF ACTION TO COMBAT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN: The Supreme Court in a case passed an order on 9 July 1997, directing interalia the constituting of a committee to make an in-depth study of the problem of prostitution, child prostitutes and children of prostitutes and to evolve suitable schemes for their rescue and rehabilitation. Accordingly the Committee on Prostitution, Child Prostitutes and Children of Prostitutes of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children and children of the women victims was constituted to evolve such schemes as are appropriate and consistent with the directions given by the Supreme Court. A draft plan of Action prepared by the Committee has been approved in a meeting chaired by the Hon'ble Prime Minister. The Plan of Action would guide the actions of the Ministries/ Departments of the Central government, NGOs, the public and private sectors and other sections of society. The Plan of Action consists of action points grouped under prevention, trafficking, awareness generation and social mobilization, health care services, education and childcare, housing, shelter and civic amenities, economic empowerment, legal reforms and law enforcement, rescue and rehabilitation, institutional machinery and methodology. The report of the Committee and the plan of Action to combat trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children have been sent to the concerned Central Ministries/ Departments and State governments/ UT administrations for implementation of the action points. NATIONAL WOMEN FUND: In 1992-93 a National Women Fund was established to meet the loan requirements of the poor women. This fund was established in the form of a society under the Society Registration Act by a collected sum of 31 crore rupees. This fund has given help to more than 250 nongovernment organizations. Women and Children Development Minister of State is the ex-official chairman of this fund. MAHILA SAMRIDHI YOJANA; With the objective of providing economic security to the rural women and to encourage, the saving habit among them, the Mahila Samridhi Yojna was started on 2 October 1993. Under this plan, the rural women of 18 years of above age can open their saving account in the rural post office of their own area with a minimum Rs. 4 or its multiplier. On the amount not withdrawn for 1 year, 25% of the deposited amount is given to the depositor by the government in the form of encouragement amount. Such accounts opened under the scheme account opened under the scheme are provided 25% bonus with a maximum of Rs. 300 every year. Up to 31 March 1997 2.45 crore accounts were opened under this scheme with a total collection of Rs. 265.09 crore. The Department of Women and Child Development, the nodal agency for MSY, decided in April 1997 that

now new MSY accounts should be opened from 1 April 1997 onwards but the existing account could be maintained. HOSTEL FOR WORKING WOMEN : Under the Scheme of `Construction /Expansion of Hostel Building for Working Women with a Day Care Centre implemented by the Department of Women and Child Development , financial assistance is given to voluntary organizations, local bodies and cooperative institutions engaged in the field of women's/ social welfare/ women's education, Public Sector Undertakings, Women Development Corporations, Educational Institutions and State Governments for the construction of hostels for working women in order to enable women seek employment and participate in technical training. The objective of the Scheme is to provide cheap and safe hostel accommodation to employment women living out of their homes. The target beneficiaries are single working women, widows, divorcee, separated and working women whose husbands are out of town. Women getting training for employment and girl students studying in post school professional courses are also to stay in the hostel. Since inception of the programme in 1972-73, 830 hostels for 58,744 working women have been sanctioned so far. Out of the 830 hostels, day care center facilities are also available for 7668 children in 293 hostels. SHORT STAY HOMES FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS: The Government of India launched a programme in 1969 in the Central Sector called the Short Stay Homes for Women & Girls to protect and rehabilitate those women and girls who are facing social and moral danger due to family problems mental strains, social ostracism, exploitation or other causes. The services extended in these Homes include medical care; case work services; occupational therapy; education- cum- vocational training and recreational facilities. The need for providing Short Stay Homes for Women and Girls has been due to the changing pattern of life, rapid urbanization and industrialization and the resulting migration from rural to urban areas. The breakup of social institutions like the joint family, contributes considerably in creating problems of adjustment for women and young girls. Cases of marital conflict and emotional disturbance occur. This effort is made to help the women to rehabilitate them- selves within a short period of time. These Short Stay Homes have been established by voluntary organizations. At present, 273 Short Stay Homes receive grants from the Department, covering approximately 8190 beneficiaries. Under the scheme the grant is being released at the revised financial norms on the recommendation of the State Governments to the extent of Rs.4, 51,350 (Recurring and Non-recurring) when approved by the Government of India and subsequently, recurring grant of Rs. 4, 01,350 is given to the Home every year on the basis of 'C' Class City. There is also a provision for some increase in subsequent years on the component of rent and the maintenance cost for residents. Provisions have also been made for upgrading skills and capacities of staff and residents as well as education of the children of residents. The implementation of the scheme has been transferred to the Central Social Welfare Board. EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME GENERATION-CUM- PRODUCTION UNITS (NORAD) ; Under the scheme, which is assisted by Norwegian agency for International Develop- ment (NORAD), projects of skill development and training of achieving self- reliance through income generation for women are supported. These projects of training for income generation are in the nontraditional trades of electronics, watch manufacturing/assembly, computer programming, garment making, handlooms etc. During the year upto Dec, 1997 Rs, 1.56 crores has been sanctioned to benefit about 6980 women through 45 projects. Between1982-83 when the scheme was launched, till 31 Dec, 1997, 1.40 lakh women have been benefited through 887 projects.

RASHTRIYA MAHILA KOSH (RMK): The National credit Fund for Women is an innovative mechanism for reaching credit to poor women. Through access to credit, it aims to raise the capacity of women by enhancing through productivity and economic self- reliance. It has provided credits to over 2.32 lakh women since its inception from 1993. It encourages formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) for promotion of thrift and credit leading to income generation activities. ERADICATION OF CHILD PROSTITUTION : The public concern on the issue of child prostitution originated in a land mark judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in 1990. In response to Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the subject, the Court ruled that the States and Central Government should initiate comprehensive measures for the rehabilitative care of such children and elimination of this social menace. The Court directed the Government to form a Central and State Advisory Committees. As per the directives of the Supreme Court, a Central Advisory Committee was constituted to eradicate child prostitution. Further a Subcommittee has been set up to frame recommendations/ plan of action for the rescue and rehabilitation of all child prostitutes. The Subcommittee has submitted its report. The report of the Central Committee (1994) was deliberated upon in the national consultations held in 1994 at Mumbai. Predictably, it was felt that regional consultations were essential to document and understand the problem. Accordingly, a number of regional workshops were held at Calcutta, Goa, Hydrabad, Patna, Chandigarh and Bangalore with assistance from UNICEF. A report has been prepared and submitted in August, 1996. REHABILITATION OF MARGINALIZED WOMEN OF VRINDAVAN : The Central Government has set up a Committee under the Chair- personship of Minister of State for Women and Child Development to co-ordinate the efforts of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal Governments and Central Government organizations for rehabilitation of the marginalized women of Vrindavan, to monitor flow of benefits of Central Schemes to the target group; to recommend a plan of Action and implementation schedule for their rehabilitation etc. The Committee consists of Chairpersons of NCW and CSWB, Secretaries of the Department of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Department of Youth Affairs & Sports, Director General of Nehru Yuvak Kendra Sangathan, Joint Secretary (WD), Department of Women and Child Development, Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, besides representative of voluntary organizations and activists in the field. Three meetings were called by the Department of Women and Child Development (on 17.5.1999 in New Delhi, on 29.5.99 in Vrindavan and on 5.8.1999 in New Delhi) to identify action points for rehabilitation of the marginalized women in Vrindavan. Under the programme of Rehabilitation of marginalized women of Vrindavan, "Meera Shabhagini Uddhar Abhiyan was launched on 16.06.1999. CENTRAL SOCIAL WELFARE BOARD : The Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) was set up in 1953 with the objective of promoting social welfare activities and implementing welfare programmes for women, children and the handicapped through voluntary organizations. The SCWB is unique in the sense that it was the first organization in post-Independence era to achieve people's participation for implementation of welfare programmes for women and children through non-governmental organization (NGOs). Presently more than 18,000 NGOs are receiving financial assistance and guidance from the Board. The programmes implemented by the Board include: socio-economic programmes for needy/ destitute women, condensed courses of education and vocational training courses for women and girls, awareness generation projects for rural and poor women, family counseling centres/voluntary action bureau, holiday camps for children, welfare extension projects in border areas, and balwadis, crches and hostels for working women, etc.

IMPACT OF DIFFERENT PROGRAMMES LAUNCHED BY GOVERNMENT ON WOMEN In recent years the result of the programme launched by the programme of India in different fields (social, political and educational) has given some good results. This is quite obvious from the table 4. The literacy rate, which was 8.86% in 1951, has gone up to 53.67%. Although the cent-percent literacy is yet to achieve. In comparison to 1951 the enrolment of the girls in primary school is eight times more. About more than 40 lacs women engage in the organizing sector, playing a very important role in development, whereas in 1951 their number was 19.3 lacs. In these years life expectancy rate has also increased. In 1951 the expectancy rate of women was only 31.6 year, which has gone up to 64.5 by 2001. From the above discussion it is quite clear that the health facility has improved a lot. It is quite clear that the condition of women has improved in all spheres of life but much more is needed to improve and establish their due position. Reality is that in spite of acceptance of science and technology, industrial growth, modernization, our policies, by the government of India, challenge, and the norms values and ethics are changing at very slow rate, leaving women development at the back seat.