Status of Women in Contemporary Indian Society

Topics: India, Marriage, Discrimination Pages: 12 (3990 words) Published: November 23, 2009


To critically analyse the role and status of women in the contemporary Indian society and the crimes committed against them.


Within the Indian subcontinent, there have been infinite variations of the status of women, differing according to the cultural milieu, family structures, caste, class, property right etc. we have to specify as to whether we are talking about rural women or urban women, about middle class or lower class women, about Brahmin or scheduled caste woman, about women in the Hindu society or in the Muslim community. All these distinctions are significant determinants of variations in her position in different groups. Status of woman is affected by certain macro-forces as economic development, political participation, and ideological overtones. It is also shaped by the norms and values society lays down with regard to woman’s behaviour. There are numerous prescriptions, sanctions, and constraints which overtly or covertly determine the behaviour of a woman. A girl is expected to be docile, shy, non-aggressive, self-effacing. After she reaches puberty she is generally not encouraged to mix with the boys; she should walk slowly, she has to be married early; marriage is obligatory for girls. Famous poet Tulsidas says, “An animal, a rustic, a drum and a woman all require beating”. Sage Manu who had enshrined woman as goddess says, woman does not deserve freedom; she will have to be protected by father, husband and son. What does the legend of the seed and the earth/field suggest? The seed symbolizes father’s contribution to reproduction and field represent the child’s identity. Thus though in reality both man and women are equally important in the reproduction process, the myth is created that man who is the more important determinant. Another myth that she only works at home and man is the bread winner, is also contrary to reality. It has been recorded that nearly ten percent of the households in our county are female headed i.e. women in these households are primarily responsible for maintain the family –this is in spite of the husband‘s presence in the household. Myths glorify women or devalue them. Reality gives an equally different picture, and this project aims to search for the true picture.[1]

1. To study the status of women in the Indian society. 2. To critically analyse the caste discrimination amongst women. 3. To compare the status of women with men.
4. To find out about the various crimes committed against women. 5. To know about the various steps taken for the protection of women.

In Indian society the status of women has changed from time to time; position of women in society is the index to the standard of social organization .We can divide the past [history] in to three phases to analyse the status of women. In ancient India women enjoyed equal status with men in all fields of life, she received the same education like men, many Hindu religious books like Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata have mentioned the names of several women who were great scholars, poets, philosophers of the time. They were given great importance, the wife was 'Ardhangini' which means she is half of her husband. An unmarried man was considered to be incomplete man. All religious ceremonies were performed by the husband along with the wife. This shows the importance given to the women in ancient period. But in the medieval period, the status of women went down considerably. She was considered to be inferior to men. Many historians have called this age as the 'dark age'. Her position became very miserable. Decline in the status of women in Indian society begins with the Muslims rule in India: customs of pardha, sati, child marriage &...
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