Subject:Adult Education Paper: Women Studies
Historically, Indian women’s role in the family, community and society at large was determined by interplay of several forces such as caste and gender based division of work, class background, geographic location and ethnic origin of particular community/tribe. For example, women dominated by Aryan culture had a far more rigid control over sexuality, fertility and labour. Women in Dravidian culture had to face relatively less ferocious patriarchy. Over the last 5,000 years, Indian women’s status has also been influenced by various religions– Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Religious reform movements between 12th century and 16th century, which also gave rise to liberation theology, namely Bhakti Movement and Sufism, brought women’s concerns to the fore. Saint poetesses such as Mirabai, Lal Ded, Akka Mahadevi, and Bahinabai articulated women’s aspirations of personal freedom and creative urge (Krishnaswamy, 1993).