Women’s Development: The Indian Experience
Gone are the days when women had enjoyed equality of power and rights in the society. The persistence of the patriarchate with a sacrosanct support by the Scriptures had firmly contained within its hold the entire sphere of familial and social life in India and had in turn confined woman’s life to the family and that fate had continued for long during the static slumber of the Asiatic society. It was the big bang of the greedy European colonialism and its repercussions in the form of hot blooded nationalist feelings that gradually weakened the patriarchal chains on womanhood. Even though the principle of gender equality is firmly established in the Indian Constitution, translating de jure gender equality and the promise of social, economic and political justice, into de facto reality has been one of India’s major challenges over the years. There is still unfortunately a wide gap between the goals enunciated in the Constitution, legislation and policies and the current status of Indian women. Though for the first time, a separate section on `Gender Equity’ was included in the Draft Approach Paper to the 11th Five Year Plan, the paper has not given enough focus on women’s empowerment issues in the country. The present paper critically examines the Indian experience over time of women’s development.
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