Women have occupied a significant, place in Indiansociety through the ages. Throughout, women have been viewed as the pivotaround which the family revolves. In the Vedic society, women enjoyed aprivileged status, in no way less than men. After the Vedic age, the positionof women in society weakened. At a later period in history, during the earlyBritish regime, the situation was no better. However, with the time, the British presence had theeffect of generating self-awareness among women and they make their presencefelt in the freedom struggle. The 20th century saw the emergence ofMahila Samitis and other organizations devoted to the upliftment of women.
Theeducated society about the ill-effects of the purdah system, child marriage andill-treatment of widows. They campaigned for equal rights for women infranchise and education. The status of women in Hindu family has changed fromtime to time. Their position has been variously estimated the opposite viewsare exits regarding her place in different stages of civilization.
There is somuch variability in the relation of women to society that any general statementmust be taken with caution. Her utility, resourcefulness in domestic life,refreshing company and affectionate care of children have always proved a greatasset to her partner in life and have, to a considerable extent, determined herstatus at different stages of civilization.Macaulay’sMinute 1835, was responsible to bring renaissance in Indian history by givingstress on English as medium of instruction but forgot the issue of women’seducation, which was responsible for upliftment of women.
J.J. Rousseau, whomwe call today the father of modern educational theory and practice, comparedwomen with decoration pieces.Thestatus of women in any civilization shows the stage of evolution at which, thecivilization has arrived.
The term status includes not only personal andproprietary rights, her duties, her liabilities towards the society and familymembers. The role and behavior of women in the society is determined by oursocial structure, cultural norms, value system and social expectations etc. toa great extent. The norms and standards of our society do not change at thesame pace as changes take place due to technological advancement, urbanization,cost and standard of living, growth in population, industrialization andglobalization. Social and educational policies fail to cope with desiredchanges in various fields. Particularly, social status of women in India is atypical example of the gap between position and role accorded to them byConstitution and the restrictions imposed on them by social traditions. Anythingthat is practicable and possible by women and useful for them, in fact, is notwithin their reach.
They have to exist within the framework of social norms andstandards, which in turn cause infinite harm. In Hindu tradition, practiceslike giving away daughters in marriage and sending them to their in laws’ houseafter marriage and importance attached to sons for maintaining continuity inthe line have strengthened male dominated social structure. Women are debarredfrom joining religious ceremonies during the period of menstruation and childbirth makes the women inferior in status than men.