Starting from the 1880s, middle-class women have become more active in the professional activity and the movement for reforms, although progress here was slow and difficult. One of the most prominent women of this period was Pandita Ramabai, who advocated education for young widows, admission of women to medical schools, and training of female teachers. Dissatisfaction with the limited opportunities for women in the Hindu reforms and movements made her convert to Christianity.
Many women supported her claim for women’s education, arguing that woman should receive a proper education. The desire of women to participate in the solution of national problems was gaining ground along with their requirement of education for women.
High activity of women continued since the 1920s until India’s independence in 1947. During this period, women with men participated in campaigns of civil disobedience organized by Gandhi in his struggle for the achievement of India’s independence.
After India’s independence, efforts of women once again focused on the issues of equality. Women hoped that the new government would consolidate their requirements in the Constitution and the new legislation of the country. Indeed, gender equality was guaranteed by the Constitution of 1950, however, the new legislation did not provide the increase of age to get married, women’s rights to divorce, changes in the laws for inheritance and dowry.
Only in 1970s-1980s, the struggle for the women’s rights began to include the masses of women. There was dissatisfaction with the existing system of dowry and related abuse, violence against women in the family, cases of rape, and ritual of sati. Women demanded the right to work, improvements in the inheritance law, environmental legislation, and the adoption of a civil code. After several unsuccessful attempts, All India Women’s Association was created.
In 1970s-1980s, the development of women’s movements became possible. Initiative groups were formed in large and small cities, set out to solve local problems and protect the interests of local people. Women from all social and religious sectors of society have expressed a desire to speak and act openly. In 1978, the magazine for women was created, which analyzed the situation of women, their role in society, and outlook on life. Women were protesting against the revival of religious communities, leading to the ongoing conflict between religious and political beliefs of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs and hindering women’s movements to help all women, regardless of their origin and religion.
Starting from the 1880s, middle-class women have become more active in the professional activity and the movement for reforms, although progress here was slow and difficult. One of the most prominent women of this period was Pandita Ramabai, who advocated education for young widows, admission of women to medical schools, and training of female teachers.