Role of women and women’s organisation – UPSC GS1

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde –  “Women’s empowerment is not just a fundamentally moral cause, it is also an absolute economic no-brainer.”

“Greater gender equality not only raises absolute income, it also helps to reduce income inequality.”
If the number of female workers were to increase to the same level as the number of men, GDP in the United States would expand by 5 per cent, by 9 per cent in Japan, and by 27 per cent in India, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated.
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When women are allowed to work in a profession of their choice, when they have access to financial services and when they are protected, by law, from domestic violence, they are not only economically empowered, they also live longer. The more say they have over the household income and the more they participate in the economy, the more girls are enrolled in secondary school, the larger the benefits for their children, their communities, and their countries. In fact, every additional year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 per cent, and an extra year of secondary school by 15 to 25 per cent.
Better rule of law is associated with having more gender-equal laws on the books. Specialized courts that tackle cases of acts of violence against women can help provide effective legal action.
In India, inheritance law reform has provided greater economic freedom to women. Women used their increased savings to spend twice as much money on their daughters’ education.


“The women’s question arose in modern India as part of the nineteenth century middle class social reform movements.” Critically analyse. (200 Words)
Giving freedom to women was thought of as the precursor to doom, this begin to change in 19th century.
British were attracted to some social problems in India. They framed rules for infanticide, child marriage, the prohibition of widow remarriage and overall deplorable status of Indian women.
Laws like Bengal Regulation Act XXI termed female infanticide as a murder, Consummation of marriage age was increased to ten, then twelve and then to fourteen.
Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act was passed in 1856. Abolition of Sati Act 1829 was passed.
Raja Ram, Vidyasagar, and Ranade played vital Role in enactment of above laws and educating masses about their rights and responsibilities towards women.
There were also women’s movement organized by white-collar middle class women and social workers from upper class. Feminist publications such as Manushi, Mahila Andolan Patrika, Feminist Network were run by women to enlighten masses about women’s rights.
Social movements like Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj, with Theosophical society brought some change in conditions of women in 19th century.
But, these changes and movements are yet to succeed. Women’s literacy plays a major role in emancipation of rules into reality. From 19th century to 21st century laws and enlightenment have only help literate women to some extent in India.



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