Modern History Simplified: Important Women’s Organisation during British rule in India.

Important Women’s Organisation during British rule in India
  1. Arya Mahila Samaj (1882)
    1. Founded by Pandita Ramabai Saraswati.
    2. Aim of empowering and educating each woman to lead a dignified life
    3. Her efforts resulted in medical education for women which started in Lady Dufferin College.
  2. Bharat Mahila Parishad (Ladies Social Conference) (1904)
    1. Was founded by Ramabai Ranade under the parent organisation National Social Conference, in 1904 in Bombay.
    2. They discussed women’s problems and what women could do to change the situation. 
    3. A larger gathering was made possible with the Mahila Parishad or Ladies Congress formed at Madras in 1908. Saraladevi Choudhurani, a well-educated woman and radical nationalist, used the Ladies Conference of the National Social Conference to propose that women form their own organisation.
  3. Bharat Stree Mahamandal (1910)
    1. In 1910, Sarla Devi Chaudhurani established Bharat Stree Mahamandal in Allahabad .
    2. It aimed to bring together women of all castes.
    3. The objectives included promotion of education for women, abolition of the purdah system and improvement in the socio-economic and political status of women all over India.
    4. Sarla Devi believed that the man working for women’s upliftment lived ‘under the shade of Manu’.
  4. Women’s India Association (1917)
    1. Borrowing the idea of a cross cultural association from the Tamil Māthar Sangam (Tamil Women’s Organization) formed in 1906 by Indian and European women, Margaret Cousins helped form this organisation.
    2. Annie Besant was chosen as the first president. 
    3. Their objectives were to guide the nation; serve the poor, promote women’s education and compulsory universal primary education, abolish child marriage, raise the age of sexual consent to sixteen for women, win female suffrage and attain the female right to elected office.
    4. The Women’s India Association published a monthly journal Stri Dharma in English.
  5. National Council of Women in India (1925)  
    1. Was formed when the women of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras made use of the networks developed for war work to forge their different clubs and associations into a new council. Hence it provided an opportunity to voice Indian opinion in international forums.
    2. It came to be accepted as the national ‘branch’ of the International Council of Women.
    3. Meherbai Tata who had been Chair of the Executive Council of the Bombay Council was a key figure in the NCWI.
    4. Other women who held important positions included Lady Dorab Tata, Ms Cornelia Sorabji (India’s first lady barrister),Ms.Tarabai Premchand, Ms.Shaffi Tyabji, Maharani Setu Parvati Bai of Travancore and Maharani Sucharu Devi.
    5. The NCWI received active support from both British women and many titled and wealthy Indian women.
    6. Because of its elitist nature , the council failed to grow and become a vital national organisation.
  6. The All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) (1927)
    1. founded by Margaret Cousins.
    2. By 1928, the Conference made clear that existing harmful social customs were hindering women’s education
    3. Later it expanded to include labour, rural regeneration, indigenous industries, textbooks, opium and the Sarda Act (on age of consent). Issues like film censorship and birth control too attracted their attention.
  7. The Desh Sevika Sangh (National Women’s Volunteer Organisation) (1930)
    1. It concentrated on banning foreign cloth, eradicating drinking of liquor, and producing Khaddar (hand-spun and woven cloth).
    2. It took an active part in the civil disobedience movement.

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