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Introduction...The status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia. In modern India, women have adorned high offices in India including that of the President, Prime minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Leader of the Opposition. As of 2011, the President of India, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (Lower House of the parliament) are all women. However, women in India generally are still exposed to numerous social issues.
Status In History... Scholars believe that in ancient India, the women enjoyed equal status with men in all fields of life. Works by ancient Indian grammarians such as Patanjali and Katyayana suggest that women were educated in the early Vedic period. Rigvedic verses suggest that the women married at a mature age and were probably free to select their husband. However, in about 500 B.C., the status of women began to decline with the Smritis and with the Islamic invasion of Babur and the Mughal empire and later Christianity curtailing womens freedom and rights.
Historical Social Practices HarassingWomen... Sati Jauhar Purdah Devadasis
Condition Of Women During British Raj... Peary Charan Sarkar, a former student of Hindu College, Calcutta and a member of "Young Bengal" set up the first free school for girls in India in 1847 in Barasat, a suburb of Calcutta. Raja Rammohan Roys efforts led to the abolition of the Sati practice under Governor-General William Cavendish- Bentinck in 1829. In 1917, the first womens delegation met the Secretary of State to demand womens political rights, supported by the Indian National Congress.
Modern India And It’s Women... Women in India now participate in all activities such as education,sports, politics, media, art and culture, service sectors, science and technology, etc. Indira Gandhi, who served as Prime Minister of India for an aggregate period of fifteen years is the worlds longest serving woman Prime Minister.
Constitutional Support To Women... The Constitution of India guarantees to all Indian women equality (Article 14), no discrimination by the State (Article 15(1)), equality of opportunity (Article 16), equal pay for equal work (Article 39(d)). In addition, it allows special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women and children (Article 15(3)), renounces practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e)), and also allows for provisions to be made by the State for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. (Article 42).
Timeline(1947-1963) 1947: On 15 August 1947, following independence, Sarojini Naidu became the governor of the United Provinces, and in the process became Indias first woman governor. 1951: Prem Mathur of the Deccan Airways becomes the first Indian women commercial pilot. 1953: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit became the first woman (and first Indian) president of the United Nations General Assembly 1959: Anna Chandy becomes the first Indian woman judge of a High Court. 1963: Sucheta Kriplani became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the first woman to hold that position in any Indian state.
Timeline(1966-1989) 1966: Captain Durga Banerjee becomes the first Indian woman pilot of the state airline, Indian Airlines. 1966: Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay wins Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership. 1966: Indira Gandhi becomes the first woman Prime Minister of India. 1970: Kamaljit Sandhu becomes the first Indian woman to win a Gold in the Asian Games. 1972: Kiran Bedi becomes the first female recruit to join the Indian Police Service. 1979: Mother Teresa wins the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Indian female citizen to do so. 1984: On 23 May, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest 1989: Justice M. Fathima Beevi becomes the first woman judge of the Supreme Court of India
Timeline(1989-1994) 1989: Justice M. Fathima Beevi becomes the first woman judge of the Supreme Court of India. 1997: Kalpana Chawla becomes the first India-born woman to go into space. 1992: Priya Jhingan becomes the first lady cadet to join the Indian Army (later commissioned on 6 March 1993) 1994: Harita Kaur Deol becomes the first Indian woman pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF), on a solo flight.
Timeline(2001-2009) 2000: Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal (bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney) 2002: Lakshmi Sahgal became the first Indian woman to run for the post of President of India. 2004: Punita Arora became the first woman in the Indian Army to don the highest rank of Lieutenant General. 2007: Pratibha Patil becomes the first woman President of India. 2009: Meira Kumar became the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha, the lower house in Indian Parliament