Who Started Women’S Education In India?


British India – London Mission Bengali Girls’ School, Calcutta ( LMS, 1869, p.12) The Church Missionary Society tasted greater success in South India. The first boarding school for girls came up in Tirunelveli in 1821. By 1840 the Scottish Church Society constructed six schools with roll strength of 200 Hindu girls.

When it was mid-century, the missionaries in Madras had included under its banner, 8,000 girls. Women’s employment and education was acknowledged in 1854 by the East Indian Company’s Programme: Wood’s Dispatch. Slowly, after that, there was progress in female education, but it initially tended to be focused on the primary school level and was related to the richer sections of society.

The overall literacy rate for women increased from 0.2% in 1882 to 6% in 1947. In western India, Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule became pioneers of female education when they started a school for girls in 1848 in Pune. In eastern India, apart from important contributions by eminent Indian social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune was also a pioneer in promoting women’s education in 19th-century India.

With participation of like-minded social reformers like Ramgopal Ghosh, Raja Dakshinaranjan Mukherjee and Pandit Madan Mohan Tarkalankar, he established Calcutta’s (now Kolkata) first school for girls in 1849 called the secular Native Female School, which later came to be known as Bethune School. In 1879, Bethune College, affiliated to the University of Calcutta, was established which is the oldest women’s college in Asia.

In 1878, the University of Calcutta became one of the first Indian universities to admit female graduates to its degree programmes, before any British universities would begin to do the same. This point was later raised during the controversy surrounding the 1883 Ilbert Bill, a proposed legislation which would allow Indian judges to judge European offenders.
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Who was the first woman to study in India?

Cornelia Sorabji
Cornelia Sorabji, c.  1924
Born 15 November 1866 Nashik, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died 6 July 1954 (aged 87) London, United Kingdom
Alma mater
  • Bombay University
  • Somerville College, Oxford
Occupation Lawyer, social reformer, writer

Francina Ford (mother)

Relatives Susie Sorabji (sister) Alice Pennell (sister) Richard Sorabji (nephew)

Cornelia Sorabji (15 November 1866 – 6 July 1954) was an Indian lawyer, social reformer and writer, She was the first female graduate from Bombay University, and the first woman to study law at Oxford University, Returning to India after her studies at Oxford, Sorabji became involved in social and advisory work on behalf of the purdahnashins, women who were forbidden to communicate with the outside male world, but she was unable to defend them in court since, as a woman, she did not hold professional standing in the Indian legal system.

  1. Hoping to remedy this, Sorabji presented herself for the LLB examination of Bombay University in 1897 and the pleader’s examination of Allahabad High Court in 1899.
  2. She became the first female advocate in India but would not be recognised as a barrister until the law which barred women from practising was changed in 1923.

She was involved with several social service campaigning groups, including the National Council for Women in India, the Federation of University Women, and the Bengal League of Social Service for Women. She opposed the imposition of Western perspectives on the movement for women’s change in India, and took a cautious approach to social reform, opposing rapid change.
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Who first fought for women’s education?

Mary Wollstonecraft’s Fight for Women’s Education By Natacha Mourin – History and Spanish Student @ St Catharine’s College, Cambridge Mary Wollstonecraft is seen as a key pillar of British proto-feminist political thought. In her 1792 work A Vindication of Rights of Woman, she argued for the education of woman, a topic which was being hotly debated at the time, for example in Rousseau’s famous Emile.

  1. In fact, throughout this text she reviews a range of educational writings for women such as the aforementioned work by Rousseau.
  2. Wollstonecraft saw the women of her time as corrupt and ignorant, but she thought this occurred through nurture rather than by nature.
  3. This was a large distinction she took from other authors of her time.

Thus, by changing the way women were educatedl she believed they could become more virtuous. A quick definition of virtue Many writers of political thought talked about the idea of virtue. In short it is a concept related to the personal qualities individuals held and how these qualities went to make society better.

  • How would education help women and then society?
  • She opens the book in a letter to M. Talleyrand-Périgord, Late Bishop of Autun
  • where she argues ‘That if she not be prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge and virtue; for truth must be common to all, or it will be inefficacious with respect to its influence on general practice.’
  • Throughout the book there is a thread that women’s lack of education only goes to bring down the rest of society, as seen in the above quote.
  • The issues with womens’ education

In her work, Wollstonecraft argues that men and women hold the same type of virtue as one another. Through the conditions society put on women, Wollstonecraft believed they were being forced into being weak of constitution and of mind; through the way they were socialised and educated.

  1. ‘The most perfect education an exercise of the understanding as is best calculated to strengthen the body and form the heart to enable the individual to attain such habits of virtue as will render it independent.’
  2. The type of education women were receiving concluded Wollstonecraft was detrimental to society seeing as without bettering women’s educations, society as a whole could not move forward.
  3. Societal change
  4. In turn, what Wollstonecraft holds as an end goal with women’s education, is not only a change for women but rather a more virtuous society.
  5. ‘It is time to effect a revolution in female manners – time to restore to them to their lost dignity – and make them, as a part of the human species, labour by reforming themselves to reform the world.’
  6. Education was seen as a tool to better women’s manners and virtue but also as the only way to truly completely reform the world, an interesting commentary taking into account the societal revolution that was taking place at the same time just across the channel.
  7. Further reading:
  1. A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ed.S. Tomaselli, (Cambridge, 1995)
  2. S. Bergès and A. Coffee (eds), The Social and Political Philosophy of Mary Wollstonecraft (Oxford, 2016)
  3. R.M. Janes, ‘On the Reception of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women’, Journal of the History of Ideas 39 (1978), 293-302.
  4. D. Engster, ‘Mary Wollstonecraft’s Nurturing Liberalism: Between an Ethic of Justice and Care’, American Political Science Review 95 (2001), 577-588.

: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Fight for Women’s Education
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Who fought for women’s education?

There are many things that hinder women from getting something as basic as an education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says that poverty, geographical isolation, minority status, early marriage and pregnancy, gender-based violence, and traditional attitudes about the status and role of women are among the many obstacles that prevent women from fully exercising their right to participate in, complete, and benefit from education.

The result, the UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics reveals, is that there are 16 million girls in the world who will never set foot in a classroom. Why men need to play a role in women’s education Women also account for two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy, indicating that while boys in some regions of the world are equally disadvantaged, lack of access to education plagues girls more, clearly.

What’s equally evident is that to bring about concrete global changes, and bridge this gender gap in education, engaging men and boys in gender transformative programs or initiatives is of vital importance. This is primarily because women’s empowerment is not a goal that can be achieved in a vacuum.

The everyday inequality and discrimination women face is directly associated with our relations with men, especially when it comes to accessing resources and decision-making. It’s therefore quite logical that eliminating these inequalities require equal, if not more, efforts by men and boys. Now if you’re assuming this is a new-fangled idea, think again.

History is testament to the fact that enlightened men—men who see women as equal partners with unlimited potential rather than subjects or objects to control—have played a huge role in helping women find their voice, make their stand and march towards liberation. Raja Ram Mohun Roy You may know this 19th century social reformer as the leader credited for the abolition of the Sati pratha—where a widow is burned alive on the funeral pyre of her dead husband—but there’s a lot more that Raja Ram Mohun Roy accomplished during his life.

When it comes to education reform, Roy was one of the leading Bengali intelligentsia who believed in teaching Indians Western science, literature, philosophy and medicine. Not only was he one of the founders of major educational institutions like Hindu College (later known as Presidency College), the City College, and numerous English Schools across colonial Calcutta, but also advocated the need for educating women.

Education Indian women was already a target set by Christian missionaries, but it was Roy who helped popularize the concept among the elite Hindus. His argument against those naysayers who believed educating women was against Hindu culture was to delve into the shastras and prove that women’s education formed a core of ancient Hindu traditions, and had led to near-mythical women scholars like Gargi and Maitreyi. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Quite like Roy, school textbooks celebrate Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar as the Indian reformer behind the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856. What many don’t know is that Vidyasagar was a social reformer who understood that a mere act of legislation cannot change the fate of women in the country, nor would it help women fight centuries of social oppression.

Educating women was, therefore, the larger, lifelong goal he tireless worked towards. As one of the leading educators of the time, Vidyasagar held power to lobby for schools for the Indian girl child, and the fact that he exercised this power to the hilt is a fact that cannot be denied. Vidyasagar organized a fund called the Nari Shiksha Bhandar, and led door-to-door campaigns asking families to allow their daughters to be enrolled in schools.

He frequently campaigned for women’s education through contemporary English and Bengali publications like the Hindu Patriot, Tattwabodhini Patrika and Somprakash. He not only opened 35 girls schools across Bengal, enrolling 1,300 girls successfully, but also helped JE Drinkwater Bethune establish the first permanent girls’ school in India, the Bethune School, in 1849. Jyotirao Phule The fact that Jyotirao Phule, and his wife, Savitribai Phule, were the pioneers of women’s education in India is well known. Phule’s lifelong drive for women’s education stemmed from his own personal experiences as a Dalit man living in 19th century India.

He realized that as long as the shudras, ati-shudras and women—all marginalized categories—were deprived of education, they would not be able to get a voice of their own, let alone develop as communities with self-respect and basic human rights. This idea was proved when Phule visited the Christian missionary school run by Cynthia Farrars in Ahmednagar (the institution where Savitribai also studied), and observed how much confidence the female students had gained.

So, in August 1848, Phule opened the first girls’ school in the house of Shri Bhide in Pune. It’s reported that on the very first day, nine girls from different social backgrounds enrolled at the school. Between 1848 and 1852, Phule and Savitribai opened 18 schools in and around Pune, all of them for girls as well as for children from Dalit families. Periyar EV Ramaswamy “Only education, self-respect and rational qualities will uplift the down-trodden,” the Dravidian social reformer EV Ramaswamy, popularly known as Periyar or Thanthai Periyar, is known to have quipped once upon a time—and never have words been truer, especially for women.

You may not know much about this social reformer, but the work he did to advocate for women’s rights, especially right to education, vocation and property, is unparalleled in Indian history. Not only did he argue that ideas like chastity should not be unfairly heaped on only women, but also believed that women should have unhindered access to education, especially vocational education.

A scholar of ancient Tamil literature, Periyar used instances from these texts to prove that education is a basic women’s right. Not only did he actively campaign for women’s education, but also wanted it to be holistic with an inclusion of physical activity so that women develop physical strength as well as mental acuity. BR Ambedkar Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is popularly celebrated as the chief architect of the Indian constitution, and also as an icon for the Dalit rights movements in the country. But Ambedkar believed that women have a key role to play in the emancipation of oppressed communities, and this could be done by ensuring their own rights to property and education.

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I measure the progress of community by the degree of progress which women have achieved,” he said at the Second All-India Depressed Classes Women’s Conference held on 20 July, 1942. “I shall tell you a few things which I think you should bear in mind. Learn to be clean; keep free from all vices. Give education to your children.

Instill ambition in them. Inculcate on their minds that they are destined to be great. Remove from them all inferiority complexes.” To achieve these goals, Ambedkar advocated for women’s right to be educated along with men in the same schools and colleges, since it would ensure that both get the same quality of education.

  • He believed that women’s education could help them achieve two purposes: their own empowerment, and the empowerment of others through them.
  • However, Ambedkar argued against professional or vocational education as per the British education system, since it aims at creating a clerical nature of workers.

His emphasis, instead, was on secular education for social emancipation and freedom so that depressed classes can enhance their social, economic and political status.
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Who is the founder of women’s history?

Our History In 1980, the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) was founded in Santa Rosa, California by Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett, and Bette Morgan to broadcast women’s historical achievements. The NWHP started by leading a coalition that successfully lobbied Congress to designate March as National Women’s History Month, now celebrated across the land.

Since, the beginning, the project has established the theme for women’s history each year and provided resources and materials for education and celebration of the women honored. In 2018, the project transitioned to the National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA) to better support the study and celebration of women’s history all year long.

The NWHA continues to employ the collaborative spirit of the original project and works with women’s history organizations throughout the country to ensure that the incredible contributions of women are remembered and celebrated. Today, NWHA is known nationally as the only clearinghouse providing information and training in multicultural women’s history for educators, community organizations, and parents-for anyone wanting to expand their understanding of women contributions to U.S.

In 1980, we were a group of women who noticed that women were absent from our texts. No more than 3% of the content was devoted to women. Girls had few role models. Girls and boys and many adults assumed women did nothing important. This perception needed to be addressed. We convinced Congress and the White House of the need for our nation to celebrate and recognize women’s role in history on an annual basis. As a result of our efforts, the week of March 8th (International Women’s Day) was officially designated as National Women’s History Week. In 1987, we led the successful campaign to have the entire month of March declared National Women’s History Month. We mobilize and unify the national celebrations of Women’s History Month in March each year by choosing an annual theme. We promote a multicultural women’s history perspective by honoring women of diverse cultural, ethnic, occupational, racial, class, and regional backgrounds. Today our aim is as clear and simple as it was 38 years ago: to teach as many people as possible about women’s role in history. Every year we send out 50, gazettes and distribute thousands of women’s history posters, celebratory materials, books, videos, and curriculum resources. Our website has millions of visitors. Additionally, we answer over 2,500 e-mails and letters each year from students, teachers, reporters, and other interested individuals requesting information. We work with schools, colleges, companies, churches, clubs, communities, government offices, unions, publishers, and the media. Our staff has conducted women’s history training sessions and women’s historic site tours in 42 states. We have trained over 30,000 teachers and federal program managers and have delivered over 2,500 speeches. We created the national clearinghouse to provide multicultural women’s history information, materials, referrals, and strategies. This service also provides easy access to women’s history performers, organizations, museums, and historic sites. We have designed, developed, and produced more than 200 multicultural women’s history resource materials, such as videos, speeches, posters, celebratory items, guides, program kits, and curriculum units. We established the NWHA Network, which in 2018 became the National Women’s History Alliance, to strengthen the connections between and among local, state, and national women’s history and educational organizations. In 1995 and 1998, we created and led national campaigns to celebrate and recognize the work of women in expanding and enriching our democracy. In 1995, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of women in the United States winning the right to vote and in 1998 we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Women’s Rights Movement. These successful campaigns resulted in tens of thousands of local, state, and national celebrations. In 2005, celebrated the 85th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the 25th anniversary of the women’s history movement. We are now promoting the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment at the local, state, and national level. Our staff has responded to more than 200,000 requests for information from students, teachers, authors, historians, librarians, corporate and government agency executives. In 1997 we launched our website to serve as the digital clearinghouse for multicultural women’s history information. Today, our award-winning website is the first women’s history choice on all website search engines. We have been honored to work with the President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History. Our Executive Director was appointed by the White House to serve on the Congressional Commission on Women’s Historic Landmarks. Our work has been recognized by a wide range of educational organizations including the National Educational Association, the National Association for Multicultural Education, the Association for Gender Equity Leadership in Education, and the American Educational Research Association. We are retelling history. And changing the future. We believe that knowing women’s history gives all of us—female and male—the power and inspiration to succeed. We believe that Our History Is Our Strength

Accomplishments The National Women’s History Project has been recognized for its groundbreaking work in education and its many nationally recognized programs and services by organizations throughout the country, including:

The National Association for Multicultural Education Award The Jessie Bernard Wise Women Award from the Center for Women Policy Studies The National Education Association’s prestigious Mary Hatwood Furtrell Award The Myra Sadker Equity Award for their work in achievement in gender equity

: Our History
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Who is the first feminist of India?

Indian feminists –

  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772–1833) – crusaded against sati, polygamy, and child marriage. Fought for education and property inheritance rights for women.
  • Jyotirao Phule (1827–1890) – worked with his wife, Savitribai Phule and friend, Sadashiv Ballal Govande to set up a centre against infanticide, to help widows in labor give birth.
  • Savitribai Phule (1831–1897) – started the first school for girls in the subcontinent.
  • Tarabai Shinde (1850–1910) – activist whose work Stri Purush Tulana is considered the first modern Indian feminist text.
  • Pandita Ramabai (1858–1922) – social reformer a champion for the emancipation of women in British India,
  • Kamini Roy (1864–1933) – poet, suffragette, and first woman honors graduate in India.
  • Sarala Devi Chaudhurani (1872–1945) – early feminist and founder of the Bharat Stree Mahamandal, one of the first women’s organisations in India.
  • Saroj Nalini Dutt (1887–1925) – early social reformer who pioneered the formation of educational Women’s Institutes in Bengal,
  • Durgabai Deshmukh (1909–1981) – public activist for women’s emancipation and was also the founder of Andhra Mahila Sabha.
  • Barnita Bagchi – scholar and sociologist with a focus on women’s education.
  • Jasodhara Bagchi (1937–2015) – founder of the School of Women’s Studies at Jadavpur University,
  • Rita Banerji – feminist author and founder of The 50 Million Missing Campaign, an online, global lobby working to raise awareness about the female gendercide ( femicide ) in India.
  • Prem Chowdhry – social scientist, feminist, Senior Academic Fellow and critic of violence against couples refusing arranged marriages. She is a Life Member of the Center for Women Studies. She is a well-known scholar of gender studies, authority on the political economy and social history of Haryana state in India and daughter of Hardwari Lal, the renowned educationist and Indian National Congress member of parliament for Haryana.
  • Mira Datta Gupta – activist for women’s issues and one of the founding members of the All India Women’s Conference,
  • Meghna Pant – author known for taking a strong feminist stance in her writing and work
  • Padma Gole – poet whose writings faithfully depicted the domestic lives of Indian middle-class women.
  • Devaki Jain – founder of the Institute of Social Studies Trust and scholar in the field of feminist economics,
  • Anuradha Ghandy (1954–2008) was an Indian communist, Proletarian Feminist, and revolutionary leader. She was a prominent leader of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), In her book ” Philosophical Trends in the Feminist Movement “, she outlines the history of the world’s feminist movements and critiques them to create the foundation for proletarian feminism.
  • Brinda Karat – first woman member of the CPI(M) Politburo and former Vice President of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).
  • Madhu Kishwar – founding president of Manushi Sangathan, a forum that will promote greater social justice and strengthen human rights, especially for women. She founded the magazine Manushi: A Journal about Women and Society devoted to feminism as well as to gender studies and activism in 1978 with Ruth Vanita,
  • Vina Mazumdar – secretary of the first Committee on the Status of Women in India and founding Director of Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS).
  • Uma Narayan – feminist scholar, and Chair of Philosophy at Vassar College,
  • Asra Nomani – Indian-American journalist, author of Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam
  • Medha Patkar – feminist social worker and politician who advocates for women’s rights in post-independence India.
  • Angellica Aribam – Political activist, fourth-wave feminist working to get more women into politics.
  • Manasi Pradhan – founder of Honour for Women National Campaign, a nationwide movement to end violence against women in India
  • Amrita Pritam – first woman to win the Sahitya Akademi Award for literature.
  • Gita Sahgal – writer and journalist on issues of feminism, fundamentalism, and racism, a director of prize-winning documentary films, and a women’s rights and human rights activist,
  • Manikuntala Sen – politician in the Communist Party of India whose memoir described her experiences as a woman activist.
  • Vandana Shiva – environmentalist and prominent leader of the Ecofeminist movement.
  • Sophia Duleep Singh – prominent suffragette and daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh, She was a firebrand feminist and is best remembered for her leading role in the Women’s Tax Resistance League, but she also participated in other women’s suffrage groups including the Women’s Social and Political Union, Secret documents revealed her identity as a firebrand “harridan law breaker” for her diaries revealed that she maintained contacts with the leaders of the Indian nationalist movement like Gopalkrishna Gokhale, Sarala Devi and Lala Lajpat Rai,
  • Nivedita Menon – feminist and academic. Author of Seeing like a Feminist,
  • Nandini Sahu – eco-feministic Indian English poet and academic. Author of Sita (A poem),
  • Ruth Vanita – academic, activist and author who specializes in lesbian and gay studies, gender studies, British and South Asian literary history. She founded the magazine Manushi: A Journal about Women and Society devoted to feminism as well as to gender studies and activism in 1978 with Madhu Kishwar,
  • Ramarao Indira – academic, critic, rationalist who is an expert in modern feminism thoughts. She has written many articles and books on feminism in Kannada and English,
  • Theilin Phanbuh – chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women and Padma Shri awardee
  • Kirthi Jayakumar – founder of The Red Elephant Foundation, Author, Artist and Intersectional Feminist.
  • Sharmila Rege – sociologist, Dalit Feminist, Activist in academia and Teacher of Women’s Studies at Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women’s Studies Center, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune.
  • Neera Desai – founder of first Research Centre for Women’s Studies in SNDT Women’s University, She wrote her M.A. thesis on Women in Modern India, with a particular focus on the Bhakti Movement,
  • Rajeswari Sunder Rajan – contemporary feminist and academic. Author of Real and Imagined Women: Gender, Culture, and Postcolonialism,
  • Gita Sen – academic, scholar, and activist specializing in population policy. She has worked with the United Nations System and is the General Coordinator of DAWN ( Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era ). Currently, Sen is an adjunct professor at Harvard University and a Professor Emeritus at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore,
  • Nandini Sahu – contemporary eco-feministic Indian English Poet and Professor at IGNOU. Author of Sita (An Epic)
  • Jyoti Puri – Hazel Dick Leonard Chair and Professor of Sociology at Simmons University, She is a leading feminist sociologist who advocates for transnational and postcolonial approaches to the study of gender, sexuality, state, nationalism, and death and migration. Focus includes anti- sodomy laws in India,
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Who started feminism first?

This piece was originally published online in conjunction with the Fall 2008 issue of Pacific magazine, Martha Rampton is a professor of history and director of the Center for Gender Equity at Pacific University. Her specialty is the early medieval period with an emphasis on social history and the activities and roles of women. It is common to speak of three phases of modern feminism; however, there is little consensus as to how to characterize these three waves or what to do with women’s movements before the late nineteenth century. Making the landscape even harder to navigate, a new silhouette is emerging on the horizon and taking the shape of a fourth wave of feminism.

  1. Some thinkers have sought to locate the roots of feminism in ancient Greece with Sappho (d.c.570 BCE), or the medieval world with Hildegard of Bingen (d.1179) or Christine de Pisan (d.1434).
  2. Certainly Olympes de Gouge (d.1791), Mary Wollstonecraft (d.1797) and Jane Austen (d.1817) are foremothers of the modern women’s movement.

All of these people advocated for the dignity, intelligence, and basic human potential of the female sex. However, it was not until the late nineteenth century that the efforts for women’s equal rights coalesced into a clearly identifiable and self-conscious movement, or rather a series of movements.

The first wave of feminism took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, emerging out of an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when three hundred men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement’s ideology and political strategies. In its early stages, feminism was interrelated with the temperance and abolitionist movements and gave voice to now-famous activists like the African-American Sojourner Truth (d.1883), who demanded: “Ain’t I a woman?” Victorian America saw women acting in very “un-ladylike” ways (public speaking, demonstrating, stints in jail), which challenged the “cult of domesticity.” Discussions about the vote and women’s participation in politics led to an examination of the differences between men and women as they were then viewed.

Some claimed that women were morally superior to men, and so their presence in the civic sphere would improve public behavior and the political process. The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90s. This wave unfolded in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of a variety of minority groups around the world.

The New Left was on the rise, and the voice of the second wave was increasingly radical. In this phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were dominant issues, and much of the movement’s energy was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing social equality regardless of sex.

This phase began with protests against the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City in 1968 and 1969. Feminists parodied what they held to be a degrading “cattle parade” that reduced women to objects of beauty dominated by a patriarchy that sought to keep them in the home or in dull, low-paying jobs. The radical New York group called the Redstockings staged a counter pageant in which they crowned a sheep as Miss America and threw “oppressive” feminine artifacts such as bras, girdles, high-heels, makeup and false eyelashes into the trashcan.

Because the second wave of feminism found voice amid so many other social movements, it was easily marginalized and viewed as less pressing than, for example, Black Power or efforts to end the war in Vietnam. Feminists reacted by forming women-only organizations (such as NOW) and “consciousness raising” groups.

  • In publications like “The BITCH Manifesto” and “Sisterhood is Powerful,” feminists advocated for their place in the sun.
  • The second wave was increasingly theoretical, based on a fusion of neo-Marxism and psycho-analytical theory, and began to associate the subjugation of women with broader critiques of patriarchy, capitalism, normative heterosexuality, and the woman’s role as wife and mother.

Sex and gender were differentiated—the former being biological, and the later a social construct that varies culture-to-culture and over time. Whereas the first wave of feminism was generally propelled by middle class, Western, cisgender, white women, the second phase drew in women of color and developing nations, seeking sisterhood and solidarity, claiming “Women’s struggle is class struggle.” Feminists spoke of women as a social class and coined phrases such as “the personal is political” and “identity politics” in an effort to demonstrate that race, class, and gender oppression are all related.

  • They initiated a concentrated effort to rid society top-to-bottom of sexism, from children’s cartoons to the highest levels of government.
  • One of the strains of this complex and diverse “wave” was the development of women-only spaces and the notion that women working together create a special dynamic that is not possible in mixed-groups, which would ultimately work for the betterment of the entire planet.

Women, due whether to their long “subjugation” or to their biology, were thought by some to be more humane, collaborative, inclusive, peaceful, nurturing, democratic, and holistic in their approach to problem solving than men. The term eco-feminism was coined to capture the sense that because of their biological connection to earth and lunar cycles, women were natural advocates of environmentalism.

  1. The third wave of feminism began in the mid-90’s and was informed by post-colonial and post-modern thinking.
  2. In this phase many constructs were destabilized, including the notions of “universal womanhood,” body, gender, sexuality and heteronormativity.
  3. An aspect of third wave feminism that mystified the mothers of the earlier feminist movement was the readoption by young feminists of the very lip-stick, high-heels, and cleavage proudly exposed by low cut necklines that the first two phases of the movement identified with male oppression.

Pinkfloor expressed this new position when she said that it’s possible to have a push-up bra and a brain at the same time. The “grrls” of the third wave stepped onto the stage as strong and empowered, eschewing victimization and defining feminine beauty for themselves as subjects, not as objects of a sexist patriarchy.

  • They developed a rhetoric of mimicry, which appropriated derogatory terms like “slut” and “bitch” in order to subvert sexist culture and deprive it of verbal weapons.
  • The web is an important tool of “girlie feminism.” E-zines have provided “cybergrrls” and “netgrrls” another kind of women-only space.

At the same time — rife with the irony of third-wave feminism because cyberspace is disembodied — it permits all users the opportunity to cross gender boundaries, and so the very notion of gender has been unbalanced in a way that encourages experimentation and creative thought.

This is in keeping with the third wave’s celebration of ambiguity and refusal to think in terms of “us-them.” Most third-wavers refuse to identify as “feminists” and reject the word that they find limiting and exclusionary. Grrl-feminism tends to be global, multi-cultural, and it shuns simple answers or artificial categories of identity, gender, and sexuality.

Its transversal politics means that differences such as those of ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, etc. are celebrated and recognized as dynamic, situational, and provisional. Reality is conceived not so much in terms of fixed structures and power relations, but in terms of performance within contingencies.

Third wave feminism breaks boundaries. The fourth wave of feminism is still a captivating silhouette. A writer for Elle Magazine recently interviewed me about the waves of feminism and asked if the second and third waves may have “failed or dialed down” because the social and economic gains had been mostly sparkle, little substance, and whether at some point women substituted equal rights for career and the atomic self.

I replied that the second wave of feminism ought not be characterized as having failed, nor was glitter all that it generated. Quite the contrary; many goals of the second wave were met: more women in positions of leadership in higher education, business and politics; abortion rights; access to the pill that increased women’s control over their bodies; more expression and acceptance of female sexuality; general public awareness of the concept of and need for the “rights of women” (though never fully achieved); a solid academic field in feminism, gender and sexuality studies; greater access to education; organizations and legislation for the protection of battered women; women’s support groups and organizations (like NOW and AAUW); an industry in the publication of books by and about women/feminism; public forums for the discussion of women’s rights; and a societal discourse at the popular level about women’s suppression, efforts for reform, and a critique of patriarchy.

So, in a sense, if the second wave seemed to have “dialed down,” the lull was in many ways due more to the success of the movement than to any ineffectiveness. In addition to the sense that many women’s needs had been met, feminism’s perceived silence in the 1990s was a response to the successful backlash campaign by the conservative press and media, especially against the word feminism and its purported association with male-bashing and extremism.

However, the second wave only quieted down in the public forum; it did not disappear but retreated into the academic world where it is alive and well—incubating in the academy. Women’s centers and women’s/gender studies have became a staple of virtually all universities and most colleges in the US and Canada (and in many other nations around the word).

Scholarship on women’s studies, feminist studies, masculinity studies, and queer studies is prolific, institutionalized, and thriving in virtually all scholarly fields, including the sciences. Academic majors and minors in women’s, feminist, masculinity and queer studies have produced thousands of students with degrees in the subjects.

However, generally those programs have generated theorists rather than activists. Returning to the question the Elle Magazine columnist asked about the third wave and the success or failure of its goals. It is hard to talk about the aims of the third wave because a characteristic of that wave is the rejection of communal, standardized objectives.

The third wave does not acknowledge a collective “movement” and does not define itself as a group with common grievances. Third wave women and men are concerned about equal rights, but tend to think the genders have achieved parity or that society is well on its way to delivering it to them. The third wave pushed back against their “mothers” (with grudging gratitude) the way children push away from their parents in order to achieve much needed independence.

This wave supports equal rights, but does not have a term like feminism to articulate that notion. For third wavers, struggles are more individual: “We don’t need feminism anymore.” But the times are changing, and a fourth wave is in the air. A few months ago, a high school student approached one of the staff of the Center for Gender Equity at Pacific University and revealed in a somewhat confessional tone, “I think I’m a feminist!” It was like she was coming out of the closet.

  • Well, perhaps that is the way to view the fourth wave of feminism.
  • The aims of the second feminist movement were never cemented to the extent that they could survive the complacency of third wavers.
  • The fourth wave of feminism is emerging because (mostly) young women and men realize that the third wave is either overly optimistic or hampered by blinders.
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Feminism is now moving from the academy and back into the realm of public discourse. Issues that were central to the earliest phases of the women’s movement are receiving national and international attention by mainstream press and politicians: problems like sexual abuse, rape, violence against women, unequal pay, slut-shaming, the pressure on women to conform to a single and unrealistic body-type and the realization that gains in female representation in politics and business, for example, are very slight.

It is no longer considered “extreme,” nor is it considered the purview of rarified intellectuals to talk about societal abuse of women, rape on college campus, Title IX, homo and transphobia, unfair pay and work conditions, and the fact that the US has one of the worst records for legally-mandated parental leave and maternity benefits in the world.

Some people who wish to ride this new fourth wave have trouble with the word “feminism,” not just because of its older connotations of radicalism, but because the word feels like it is underpinned by assumptions of a gender binary and an exclusionary subtext: “for women only.” Many fourth wavers who are completely on-board with the movement’s tenants find the term “feminism” sticking in their craws and worry that it is hard to get their message out with a label that raises hackles for a broader audience.

Yet the word is winning the day. The generation now coming of age sees that we face serious problems because of the way society genders and is gendered, and we need a strong “in-your-face” word to combat those problems. Feminism no longer just refers to the struggles of women; it is a clarion call for gender equity.

The emerging fourth wavers are not just reincarnations of their second wave grandmothers; they bring to the discussion important perspectives taught by third wave feminism. They speak in terms of intersectionality whereby women’s suppression can only fully be understood in a context of the marginalization of other groups and genders—feminism is part of a larger consciousness of oppression along with racism, ageism, classism, abelism, and sexual orientation (no “ism” to go with that).

  • Among the third wave’s bequests is the importance of inclusion, an acceptance of the sexualized human body as non-threatening, and the role the internet can play in gender-bending and leveling hierarchies.
  • Part of the reason a fourth wave can emerge is because these millennials’ articulation of themselves as “feminists” is their own: not a hand-me-down from grandma.

The beauty of the fourth wave is that there is a place in it for all –together. The academic and theoretical apparatus is extensive and well-honed in the academy, ready to support a new broad-based activism in the home, in the workplace, in the sphere of social media, and in the streets.
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Who was world’s first woman?

Lilith, The Legend of the First Woman Further information: Lilith, The Legend of the First Woman The cover of Lilith, The Legend of the First Woman AuthorCountryUnited StatesLanguageEnglishGenrePublisher Publication date 1885 (1st edition)Media typePrint ()Pages104 pp (hardcover 1st edition) (hardcover 1st edition) Lilith, The Legend of the First Woman is a 19th-century narrative poem in five books, written by the American poet,, in 1885, and published in by,

It has been reprinted several times in the 21st century. Lilith, The Legend of the First Woman is a 19th-century rendition of the old legend of, the first woman, whose life story was dropped unrecorded from the early world, and whose home, hope, and were passed to another woman. The author warns us in her preface that she has not followed the legend closely.

In her hands, Lilith becomes an embodiment of mother-love that existed forever, and it is her name that lends its itself to the lullabys repeated to young children.
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Who started women’s empowerment?

Women’s Empowerment: History and Policy Rahul Pagare Who Started Women It was 1848 AD when India got its first woman educator in the form of “Savitribai Phule”. This year marks the rise of women’s empowerment in India as Savitribai Phule busted the social norm that a woman cannot be educated. The impact of this movement was so profound that 100 years later, India, as a nation accepted the leadership of a woman and Indira Gandhi, was sworn as the first female prime minister of India.

It is said that sky is the limit, but the term “women’s empowerment” broke that thought and Kalpana Chawla became the first Indian woman to travel in space. All these activities are the fruits of women’s empowerment. Women’s empowerment as a concept was introduced at the UN’s Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985, which defined it as a redistribution of social and economic powers and control of resources in favor of women.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNDFW) includes the following factors in its definition of women’s empowerment. Acquiring knowledge and understanding of gender relations and the way in which these relations may be changed. Developing a sense of self-worth, a belief in one’s ability to secure desired changes and the right to control one’s life.

  • The history of women’s empowerment in the ancient age is quite confusing because on one side it encouraged women to choose their life partner on their own and on the other side, they were forced to perform Sati as per social norms.
  • The first ever social network for women was created in ancient age, and it was known as the “Bhikkuni Sangh”.

It was created by the “Enlightened Buddha”. As per Buddha, women too can achieve nirvana by the systematic practice of his teachings (Dhamma). This was an unprecedented step. Soon this network of equality and justice spread all over and had a major impact on humanity.

  • But soon after Buddha’s death, the Bhikkuni Sangh lost its connectivity and this group of women was oppressed by society.
  • Looking at these circumstances, ‘Manu’, an ancient sage, created a book of laws and named it as ‘Manusmriti’ (Laws of Manu).
  • In this ancient text, he framed laws which not only insulted women but also degraded them to the lowest level.

One of his laws says, “Pita Rakshati.” which means, since a woman is not capable of living independently, she must be kept under the custody of her father as a child, under her husband as a woman and under her son as a widow. In another text, he says “Ya to Kanya”.

Which means, in case a woman tears the hymen of her vagina, she shall instantly have her head shaved or two fingers cut off and made to ride on a donkey. Such a pathetic and brutal situation was faced by women in ancient India. Due to injustice in ancient age, for many centuries, women didn’t know what is freedom, liberation, and independence.

The stigma of women’s slavery has crushed India’s development. It has also impacted other parts of the world. In Africa, women’s issues are in a crisis. Illiteracy and globalization have severely affected the lives of women in Africa and across the world.

Since women are half the population of the world, they should have the equal opportunities to develop themselves as individuals and also as a community. After various new revolutions and social reforms during the modern era, the condition of Women has started healing and women are now redefined by their strengths, skills and their abilities.

Today, the woman is a pilot, a doctor, an engineer, a politician, an artist, an author, a leader, a president and much more; she is a homemaker, a complete administrator. It is the fruits of women’s struggle that we have got personalities like Oprah Winfrey, Mother Teresa, J K Rowling, Benazir Bhutto, Malala Yosufzai and Phoolan Devi.

  • Moreover, women are joining the field of science and technology.
  • In fact, there is no sphere of activity in which women are unsuitable or incompetent.
  • Women’s empowerment has now become an international agenda.
  • The United Nations’ charter significantly projected discrimination against woman as a problem of universal alarm.

This shows the kind of concern of international community shows with regard to women’s rights in general and their right to equality with men in particular. The declaration provides that all the rights and fundamental freedoms are available equally to both men and women without any exception.

Therefore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) also played a very important role in protecting the rights of women. The principles of gender equality, equal rights are enshrined in the Indian constitution in its preamble, fundamental rights, fundamental duties and directive principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to women but also empowered the state to adopt a positive attitude in favor of women.

Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, plans, and programmes have aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres. In recent years, the empowerment of women has been recognized as the central issue in determining the status of a woman.

India upheld various international conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights on a woman. Key among them was the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993. The National Commission for Women was set up by an act of parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women.

The Cairo United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) called attention to women’s empowerment as a central focus and UNDP developed a gender empowerment measure (GEM) which focuses on three variables that reflect women’s participation in society: political power or decision making, education and health.

The UNDP report in 1995 declared that “If human development is not engendered it is endangered”. The government of India declared 2001 as the Year of Women’s Empowerment (Swashakti). The national policy for the empowerment of women was passed in 2001. The objective of this policy was the de jure and de facto enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by women on equal basis with men in all spheres — political, economic, social, cultural and civil — strengthening legal systems aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against women, equal access to women to health care, quality education at all levels, career and vocational guidance, employment, equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, social security and public office etc.

elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and the girl child. The initiatives taken up by the Government of India for vulnerable and marginalized groups and women in difficult circumstances are: Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) Swadhar Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Prime Minister Matritva Sahyog Yojana (PMMVY) Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Indira Awaas Yojana “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have made” – this powerful statement was made by Dr.B.R.

  1. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee.
  2. He was the only politician in history to resign from his post just because the parliament didn’t accept his ‘Hindu Code Bill’ which consisted of women’s issues and their solutions as a major part.
  3. Even after the accelerated development of our country after independence, India ranks 136th out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index.

Gender inequality and caste discrimination still remain major issues which hinder women’s empowerment. These are the major challenges that we need to fight. Both men and women are a part of society; both are entitled to have a good life by respecting each other.
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Who was the main person who fought for women’s rights?

Led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a young mother from upstate New York, and the Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott, about 300 people—most of whom were women—attended the Seneca Falls Convention to outline a direction for the women’s rights movement.
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