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Mains Marathon

  • 12 Aug 2022 GS Paper 1 History

    Day 33: India’s post-independence period has missed the perspective of women. Critically examine.

    Approach
    • Introduce by stating perspective of women in the post-independence India and urged for equality.
    • Give reasons about women’s perspective has not been missed such as constitutional provisions, acts related to women.
    • Discuss the various areas where perspective of women is missing.
    • Conclude suitably.

    Answer:

    If we trace the pages of history nowhere men and women were treated alike and assigned the same status. Women have been always fighting for their rights and position in society.

    They have several times urged for equality so that they can lead a life exactly on par with men. If talking about the women’s status in Independent India, then it has been surely improved. The structural and cultural changes in India have brought into many opportunities for women in the fields of education, employment and politics.

    Post-independence India has not missed the perspective of women on the grounds that

    • Constitution and legislation for women’s upliftment: Constitution of India guarantees equal status to all citizens of India including women under article 14 and does not distinguish or discriminate between a man or a woman. Moreover, article 15 empowers the government to make special provisions for women. Women are free to participate in all the religious, cultural, economic and political activities.
    • Legislation safeguarding women’s interests:
      • The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 – The act provides women with equal rights to divorce and remarry. Also, the act prohibits polygamy, polyandry and child marriage.
      • The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 – The act provides women with the right and claim over parents' property.
      • The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 – It provides a childless woman with the right to adopt a child and a divorced woman with the right to claim maintenance from her husband.
      • Special Marriage Act, 1954 – It provides women with the rights to inter-caste marriage, love marriage and is only permitted for the girls above 18 years.
      • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 – It protects women from exploitation by declaring taking of dowry an unlawful activity.
    • One-third reservation of seats for women: The 73rd amendment has made an effort to provide women with some special powers in all the 3 tiers of Panchayati Raj. As per the act, one-third of seats are reserved for women in addition to the seats reserved for SCs and STs.
    • Women in the field of Education: The government provided several benefits to women such as scholarship, loan facilities, hostel facilities etc. who wished to go out to pursue higher education.
    • Women in the Economic and Employment fields: Women have been recruited in all posts such as teachers, doctors, nurses, advocates, police officers, bank employees in all major cities of India. Since 1991 women have been recruited into 3 wings of armed forces that are military, air force and naval force.

    But still perspective of women is missing in various areas

    • Awareness of Women regarding their rights: Uneducated women have a lack of awareness of their rights. They are not completely free from the hold of the traditional customs practiced in society. Still, many are being exploited, they are completely dependent on their spouses.
    • Illiteracy – Due to illiteracy in rural areas women are unable to assert themselves at different tiers of Panchayati Raj.
    • Non-availability of women – It is very difficult to find out an adequate number of women who are qualified and are aware of the rights as most of the women are illiterate and ignorant about their rights in the rural areas.
    • Health problem of women – Poor health conditions of women is also a hindrance in their progress. The main reason for such health conditions is the traditional importance given to a male child neglecting the presence of a female child.
    • Economic Exigencies of women – Indian women are economically weak since education was not given to them for years and property laws were also not in favour of them. They were dependent on men financially as all economic power used to be in the hands of men.
    • Atrocities against women – Women on all walks of life have been discriminated against men. They become victims of atrocities in a number of ways as there are cases of sexual harassment, molestation, kidnapping, dowry harassment and so on.

    Thus, women require empowerment of all kinds in order to protect themselves from all such atrocities and to preserve their purity and dignity.

    Women’s status in Indian society has radically changed since Independence. Government after realizing the situations of women and their worse position in the society took huge initiatives to bring about a change and improve the social, economic and political conditions of women.

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