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This article basically sheds light on the state of women in different interval of time. How Women were considered as a curse for society and they were made liable to work under men only. They had to work only for their families and even then, their rights remained unfulfilled. Different situations prevailed during ancient Hindu Dharma and in different religions. India is not the only country which suffered from low stature of women, this stature of women could be seen all over the world. This article also puts forward a differentiation of the stature of women in different countries. So basically, a brief history related to women at large has been described in the article. Different scholars help in encouraging such situations with the changing world.
Women are considered as a primary part of society. Even then they are more prone to challenges and difficulties than men. Since ancient times, these situations are being governed and many scholars and great personalities have tried to solve these problems. Both men and women are considered as the two wheels of chariot. Women have gone through various phases of life like liberation and defeat, some situations have changed as compared to the previous time and are expected to change positively with the passage of time.
Women in Literature
In Ramayana, women were incredibly neglected and had to spend their lives in gritty patriarchal and misogynistic standards of society. Basically, Sita was considered as a goddess. Sita adored much freedom, she even risked her life after wedding. Rama never judged her and not even questioned her for anything but society never spares anyone .Sita was an idol wife and she went with Rama to jungle as she was not able to see her husband in pain. She fulfilled responsibilities of mother and wife both. But when she too wasn’t left out by the words of society that is also not a good message that for the upcoming generations and depicts for the welfare of husbands, women should sacrifice everything.
- During Mahabharata also Draupadi had to face a shameful episode where she was disrobed in public, in front of the court. No one came to her rescue. She prayed to Lord Krishna to save her dignity. Lord Krishna responded promptly by increasing her length of sari.
Hence, even during the Ramayana and Mahabharata times, which is considered to be the golden period, women were facing many challenges in their lives.
Women in Pre Vedic period
The Aryans regarded women as valuable and creative members of society. Women were given a status equal to men. Women were treated with full respect and considered as much conversant than men. The condition pf women was not really bad as compared to the present times. They could go anywhere wherever they wish to. Earlier women used to have economic freedom. They were engaged in different occupations, they had the authority to read literature and also had the right to take part in public assemblies. Widow remarriage was also accepted.
During Post Vedic period, the situation started getting worse. Men were given priority over women and discrimination also began to happen.
In Manu also, women were given equal status and were honoured but men were given the rights to have superiority over women. Poverty has also always been a factor for the appalling situation of women.
Vedic period witnessed many instances like these which are well explained in sacred writings.
Position of women in Vedic age
Women were somewhere given rights like to choose their partners. But men were allowed to marry as many times as they wish to which again made the condition of women awful. Then, if the husband died due to any reason, women were burnt alive with their husbandlduring cremation, popularly known as Sati.
According to Rig Veda, goddess Durga was considered as the idol of freedom, goddess Sarasvati as the mother of knowledge. The goddesses were prayed with dedication. Sculptures representing early Vedic society reveal that women were placed in a higher status in society .
Women are the lamp of light that enlightens the society. It was believed that the God resides where women are given respect.
Position of women in Hindu Dharma
Hindu religion had a patriarchal system throughout the history. In religiousness women were not inferior to men. The women lost their individuality and come under controlling society when they started working like Dasi and feed like mother .So with phase women’s start losing their freedom and then male member of family is given more importance than to women men are made the Soul owner for the rights of women’s and they think they can do whatever they want and women’s work under only them and this way deterioration of females being done and then there is arisen of killing of girl child ,sexual abuse, harassment and other ways by beating of wives and men are independent to do anything with women’s .women’s unsatisfactory position in Dharma Shasta period jeopardized not only women’s status and security ,but also socio cultural as well as the political financial stability and well-being of Indian civilization .
Hindu rods o bride !receive your hand to improve our joint good wealth .I pray to u to accept ne as your spouse and live with myself until old age .women’s are deliberated as those of Agni Veda. (the fire god)
Position of Women during Medieval Period
During this period, child marriage was prevalent which lead to absence of education. Girls were forced to marry in an early age which led to premature sexual relationships, giving birth at an early age which also affected their health.
Polygamy and Purdon system were given more relevance. New trend of social and religious life of women was seen.
Under Dayan Bhaga School, a woman was allowed to inherit the property of her parents.
Many problems also arose during this period. Bruisers came during this period, there was economic depression and migration of people from one place to another. The Bhakti moments started which were organized by Ramanuja Charya and due to which some freedom was given to women. But then also, there was no substantial change in economic status of women which again lead to low status of women in society.
Position of women in Jainism and Buddhist Period
Buddhist encouraged women to lead a euphoric and respectable life. They were given rights of education. During the period of Jainism and Buddhism, women were given the right to be on the position of Santa. They were allowed to live Buddhist monastic life. Women who had enough confidence and power to run their own shanghaies as directed by legislation could also work for public welfare.
Somewhere their economic status started deteriorating in which they were prohibited from political intervention, evil practices like practice of child marriage, denial to Right to Education for women. The economic status of women remained unchanged.
Situations in Europe
In Europe also, women were restricted from signing contracts, they were governed in every work under the legal authority of their husbands. Married women were dependant on their husbands. All women needed a male guardian. They could become Queens and rule over kingdoms or become regents and rule in the name of minor child. No political roles were given to them. Democracy has been unfriendly to females in all eras.
They were given no rights to choose their husbands, choice of having children or even work in some cases.
Situation in America
A stereotype that “a woman’s place is at home” has largely determined the ways in which women expressed themselves. Middle class girls learned cooking and other household work and.grew in an environment on which their mothers grew. Families and teachers used to prepare them for their future- marriage, taking care of household chores or their child. Discrimination in every field prevailed as they were not event given cards to purchase the things the needed. In colonial America, jobs were offered more to men than women. Also they didn’t even had the right to vote. Women were only expected to fulfil their husbands needs and desires. Harsh living conditions for women prevailed. They were basically seen an object to play for men. Women of dark color also face many hurdles.
Situation in Africa
Men are considered as supreme authority. Women are not given power outside home, they are only required to take care of the family. In African countries, women are expected to work as labour in agricultural fields to run their families. The burden of work and taking care of their family is theur responsibility. Civil disobedience and demonstrations prevailed for several years. Gender inequality, poverty amongst women, sexual and gender based violence are issues of major concern in South Africa.
We had a male dominating society and man was given more importance than women.
Women were always thwarted from living their lives in their own way. They were thwarted from studying to taking decisions. Society was equally liabl for the same. If a girl was born, her mother was to be blamed, if a boy humiliated a girl, then the girl was held responsible for it, if a girl was unable able to fulfil the extreme and unethical demands of her husband or his family, then she was accused and conjectured by even her own family. Women were subjected to divorce, humiliation and even depression.
If a woman took birth in a poor family, then she was held responsible for every problem of her family.
And if a woman raised her voice against domestic violence, then she was threatened and forced to leave the house. If a girl raised her voice against the injustice done to her, then she was considered as characterless and even called by inappropriate names.
Women and girls were objectified. They were not given rights. Wives were beaten or disowned if they offended their husbands in any way : this was considered as a private matter. Girl infants were routinely abandoned and left to die. Only the male head of the household could decide whether a newborn would be raised and taken cared of or abandoned and left to die.
Women living in abusive situations are often without any support. They may not have the mental and emotional support to take action against their abuser, or they may feel pressure from the society.
Cruelty against women tend to cause harm to the emotional, mental and physical health of women.
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