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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Status of women

The status of women in India has been subject to great many changes over the past few millennia. From a largely unknown status in ancient times through the low points of the Middle Ages and the Mughal empire, to the promotion of equal rights by Guru Nanak and the slow reform then the rigid rules of the colonial era to the mixed attitudes of the current era, the history of women in India has been eventful.

The women in India are still facing some discrimination in minor parts of the country especially in the rural communities and in some cultures but the trend are positive. The rights of women have been improving steadily for many 100's of years and now women face equality in many important fields of human life including the right to vote; to stand for government; in many job situations; in education; in the armed forces; in government and many commercial departments; in religious duties; etc. However, much work still needs to be done for the women to achieve complete equality.

The steady change in their position can be highlighted by looking at what has been achieved by women in the country:

* In 1966, Indira Gandhi became the first women leader of the country indicating that women had made strides in achieving some level of equality in government. However, sadly no other women has followed in her footsteps although her daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi won the recent elections and could have become the second female PM of the country.

* In 2006, the following two business women reached 1 billion dollar net-worth: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw started one of India's first biotech companies, Biocon (otcbb: BCLTF). Lalita Gupte and Kalpana Morparia (both were the only businesswomen in India who made our list of the World's Most Powerful Women), run India's second-largest bank, ICICI Bank. So, a few women have reached the pinnacle in the business world. [1].

* In 1905, Mrs. Suzanne RD Tata became the first Indian woman to drive a car [2]

* In 1970, Kamaljit Sandhu became the first Indian woman to win a Gold in the Asian Games

* Smt. Anna Chandy, the First Indian Woman Judge of High Court and in 1989, Kumari Justice M. Fathima Beevi was made the first Indian woman judge of the Supreme Court. [3]

* Woman Pilots: In 1944, Harita Kaur Deol became the first Indian woman to perform a solo flight. In 1951, Prem Mathur became the first Indian women commercial pilot of Deccan Airways and in 1966, Captain Durga Banerjee became the first Indian woman pilot of the state airline, Indian Airlines. In November 1997, Dr.Kalpana Chawla became the first Indian woman to go into Space. [4]

* Kiran Bedi, First Indian Woman Police Officer. [5] She is the only Indian police person to receive the Magsaysay Award.

* Ms. Tarla Dalal is India’s best-selling cookery author and has held this status for over 2 decades. She has written more than 30 books and several have been translated into various languages like Hindi, Gujrati, Marathi, Bengali and even Dutch and Russian! Her total sales of books exceeds 1 million copies. [6]

* In 2005, Ms. Manndhir Rajput, a 34-year-old woman from Ludhiana, Punjab became the first Indian woman to become an engine driver of trains with the New South Wales Rail Corporation, Australia. [7]

posted by Shruti at 4:23 AM

12 Comments:

You go gurl !

11:45 PM  

Nice list. But the fight always is on. We have to be vigilant and keep fighting not just in India but around the world. Even in the US this continues with the Christian right trying to take away abortion rights from women.

7:27 AM  

wow that was great info.

But I think still lots need to be done in India with regarding women empowerment

9:40 AM  

Technically Dr Chawla was not indian, she was of indian origin. If we are including those the list expans to include the new head of pepsico too
But all in all an informative post
=)

4:57 AM  

Nice coverage. :)

8:28 AM  

Good collection.

3:19 AM  

Indira Gandhi lived in Milwaukee, WI for some time...wonderful woman...

11:44 PM  

Many of these NGOs working for Women have somehow lost track - they have adopted RHETORIC and MALE-BASHING as their prime concerns, as against Uplifting Women.

2:15 AM  

Nice list.

These women were given enough prominence by the media.How about those who aren't but continue touching lives with utmost dedication? :-)

2:58 AM  

well have yu ever noticed....South east asian women have all received top posts(pm) but none in states like france or usa...the acheivements are indeed lucrative but the divide is more of class and caste in india sthg we need to change

1:20 AM  

Once an American colleague of mine used the word "bulldozer" for women in America who are actually able to make it big there. Funny word - but understand the meaning it's supposed to convey .
I too agree with that friend . They do have that "something extra " in them not only to survive but to make a place for themselves in every field where we never used to see women before.

All eyes on Ms Clinton for now -

8:26 AM  

i think we should definitely laud the progress india has made in terms of women rights. but i wonder if the situation is the same in rural india. i have serious doubts about that. in terms of a social ladder in india, women still are on a lower rung. the social rigidities (caste, gender...) dont make things easy.

12:46 AM  

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