Feminism in India

Topics: Feminism, India, Women's rights Pages: 13 (4677 words) Published: November 27, 2012
Feminism in India
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Feminism in India is a set of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for Indian women. It is the pursuit of women's rights within the society of India. Like their feminist counterparts all over the world, feminists in India seek gender equality: the right to work for equal wages, the right to equal access to health and education, and equal political rights.[1] Indian feminists also have fought against culture-specific issues within India's patriarchal society, such as inheritance laws and the practice of widow immolation known as Sati. The history of feminism in India can be divided into three phases: the first phase, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, initiated when male European colonists began to speak out against the social evils of Sati;[2] the second phase, from 1915 to Indian independence, when Gandhi incorporated women's movements into the Quit India movement and independent women's organizations began to emerge;[3] and finally, the third phase, post-independence, which has focused on fair treatment of women in the work force and right to political parity.[3] Despite the progress made by Indian feminist movements, women living in modern India still face many issues of discrimination. India's patriarchal culture has made the process of gaining land-ownership rights and access to education challenging.[4] In the past two decades, there has also emerged a disturbing trend of sex-selective abortion.[5] To Indian feminists, these are seen as injustices worth struggling against.[6] As in the West, there has been some criticism of feminist movements in India. They have especially been criticized for focusing too much on women already privileged, and neglecting the needs and representation of poorer or lower caste women. This has led to the creation of caste-specific feminist organizations and movements.[7] Contents  [hide]  * 1 Defining feminism in the Indian context * 2 History * 2.1 First phase: 1850–1915 * 2.2 Second Phase: 1915–1947 * 2.3 Feminism: Post-1947 * 3 Issues * 3.1 Birth ratio * 3.2 Marriage * 4 Theology * 4.1 Hindu feminism * 4.2 Islamic feminism * 5 Impact * 5.1 Employment * 5.2 Globalization * 5.3 Education * 5.4 Modernization * 6 Notable Indian feminists * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links| -------------------------------------------------

[edit]Defining feminism in the Indian context

Tribal widow and single women protesting in Jawhar, Maharashtra Women's role in Pre-colonial social structures reveals that feminism was theorized differently in India than in the West.[8] In India, women’s issues first began to be addressed when the state commissioned a report on the status of women to a group of feminist researchers and activists. The report recognized the fact that in India, women were oppressed under a system of structural hierarchies and injustices. During this period, Indian feminists were influenced by the Western debates being conducted about violence against women. However, due to the difference in the historical and social culture of India, the debate in favor of Indian women had to be conducted creatively and certain Western ideas had to be rejected.[9] Women’s issues began to gain an international prominence when the decade of 1975-1985 was declared the United Nations Decade for Women.[2] Historical circumstances and values in India have caused feminists to develop a feminism that differs from Western feminism. For example, the idea of women as...
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