The Women Reformers of North India

The beginning of the \(\text{19th century}\) saw the emergence of numerous social reformers who fought for the emancipation of women.  Most of the reforms were undertaken by male reformers.

In later periods, women also took the reform agenda after getting an education from various institutions, who slowly went on to make greater changes in society.

Some of the Women reformers of North India and their invaluable contributions are discussed below.
1. Pandita Ramabai
She was considered one of the pioneers of the women’s movement in India. Ramabai also established the “Hindu Ladies Social Club, " an all-women club that discussed the plaguing issues of women in society.

She started the Sarada Sadan in \(1889\) which fought for the emancipation of women through establishing “Schools and education centres” for the Widows of the Bombay region.

She was believed to be the first among the women reformers of India who took up the case of widow education.
2. Savitribai Phule
Savitribai Phule.jpg
Savitribai Phule
Savitribai belonged to a Dalit family and was a pioneer of Dalit women education movements across India.
Savitribai Phule: She was believed to be the first women teacher of India who later went on to establish numerous women schools across India for women of all castes.
Savitribai fought equality and Gender discrimination to uphold their rights. She also established “Balhatya Praatibandhak Griha” which advocated against the social evil of “Female Infanticide”.
3. Tarabai Shinde
She was an ardent critic of the Patriarchal society and the scriptures dominating women. She renounced the Vedic Scriptures and the rituals which belittled the women.

Sri Purush Tulana” was her book in Marathi, which spoke about the comparison between Men and Women.

The South Indian Women Reformers:

The reform agenda of women gained more momentum in the South as their movements were ably supported by the reformists and political leaders of South India. Some of the famous reformers are,
1. Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar
She was a famous poet, reformer and staunch supporter of the Dravidian movement, which took place in Tami Nadu. Ramamirtham fought for the abolition of the Devadasi system in the Presidency of Madras.
The book named “Dasigalin Mosa Valai” was written by Ramamirtham, which spoke about the precarious conditions of the Devadasis. 
Her ceaseless efforts to abolish the Devadasi system finally resulted in the passage of the “Devadasi abolition bill” which abolished the cruel practice in \(1947\).

The Government of Tamil Nadu honoured the reformer by naming a marriage assistance scheme for the girls of a poor family as “Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammal Ninaivu Marriage assistance scheme”.
2. Dr.S. Dharmambal
She was a staunch supporter of the idea of education for women and fought for the equal rights of women.

She embraced the ideas of Periyar and supported the cause of widow remarriage, Women education and Inter-Caste marriage.
Elavu Vaaram: This movement was started by Dharmambal, who fought for the cause of equal salary for Tamil teachers.
She also established “Chennai Maanavar Mandram” to educate female and male children equally. Dharmambal was also awarded the title “Veera Tamilannai” for her invaluable contributions.