The social reform movements of the 19th century laid the ground for active participation of women in public life, which became a boon for the nationalist movement due to inclusion of a vast section of population in the struggle for independence and also ultimately, led to the process of empowerment of Indian Women.
- With the rise of Gandhian mass movements, Indian women’s involvement in the liberation struggle expanded.
- Women’s participation was limited before Gandhiji, notably in the Bengal Swadeshi Movement (1905-11) and the Home Rule
- Movement. They also went to INC sessions.
- Women’s participation in public began in 1920 with Gandhiji’s Non-Cooperation Movement (NCM).
- In the Non-Cooperation Movement, women were arrested for the first time. Feminists remained the foundation of the liberation movement.
- Women’s public activism increased during the Civil Rights Movement. They were impatient and sought more involvement.
- Gandhi regarded impatience as a positive trait but refused to expand it. He thinks women can picket booze and foreign clothing outlets.
Kasturba Gandhi led 37 women volunteers from Sabarmati ashram in the Salt Satyagraha. Sarojini Naidu and Manilal Gandhi spearheaded the raid. 15,000 followed KamlaDevi into the Wadala Salt Works.
Women took part in picketing foreign shops and booze stores. Madras had the most militant women and Bombay had the most organised. The Quit India Movement’s female activism was notable. Because key congressional leaders were in prison, it was up to the women leaders to lead and advance the national movement.
As well as non-violent Satyagraha, women were involved in underground revolutionary actions.
Aruna Asaf Ali led these initiatives. In 1946, the Tebhaga Movement formed the Nari Bahini Brigade to protest colonial practises.
Rani Gaidenliu of Nagaland actively participated in the Quit India campaign, which integrated indigenous women of northeast India into the mainstream national movement.
He also became an icon of Assamese struggle against the British. This heightened anti-colonial sentiments in the general people.
Gendered activism thrived in places with strong women’s institutions, groups, and organisations. Affirmative action was often aided by men who admired the feminine dynamic, potential, and patriotism.