Women in India are beginning to follow the direction that the women of the Western world took more than eighty years ago; demanding treatment as human equals. However, it has become more and more evident as the revolution ages that Indian women may have to adapt the Western feminist method to their very traditional and religious culture. India has different complications that put the development of women in a completely altered context than their Western counterparts. Although the key targets remain similar: improvement of health care, education and job opportunities in order to gain equality between men and women in the various settings of public society, the workplace, the school yard and – possibly the most fundamental setting of all – the home. Women are striving to be independent on the equal level of men. The additional complexities that the women of India must also challenge are the caste system, the heavy religious customs, older and more traditional roles of the sexes, as well as the even stronger power that men hold in India. The status was at one time accepted, but with the Western women’s revolution and perception, the role is slowly succeeding in its development through both independent groups of women and national and worldwide organizations based on the goal of gaining equality. They have all accomplished much, but have yet to overthrow the male dominated society.
The Original Status
A patriarichal and oppressed society with an inhumane caste system supposedly based on religious faith, however, their religious beliefs are obviously not understood since their masculine domination acts against the religious base of men and women living as equals. Despite modernization, women’s status remained low and devalued well into the 20th century. Gargi Chakravarty of the National Federation of Indian Women stated in 1990 that “Girls are looked upon by their parents as burdens”.