What are the major issues taken up by the women’s movement over its history?
Scholars and social reformers have shown that the inequalities between men and women are social rather than natural. The women’s question became prominent in the 19 Century. Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s attempt to reform society, religion, and status of women in Bengal. He undertook the campaign against “Sati” which was the first women’s issue to receive public attention.
Jyotiba Phule was from socially excluded caste and he attacked both caste and gender discrimination. He established the Satyashodhak Samaj with its primary emphasis on truth-seeking.
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan made efforts to reform Muslim Society. He wanted girls to be educated but within the precincts of their homes.
He stood for women’s education but sought for a curriculum that included instruction in religious principles, training in arts of housekeeping and handicrafts and rearing of children.
Tarabai Shinde a Maharashtrian housewife, wrote, Stree Purush Tulane as a protest against the double standards of a male-dominated society.
Women’s issues emphatically surfaced in the 1970s. The burning issues were rape of women in police custody, dowry murders and gender injustice, etc. The new challenges have come in the form of social bias against the girl child sex ratio which is falling very « sharply.