• The 299-member Constituent Assembly included 15 remarkable women from diverse backgrounds who had endured patriarchy, caste oppression, child marriage, and widowhood.
  • Their unique experiences influenced their discussions, arguments, and positions on subjects such as reservations, minority rights, and legislative finances.
  • During debates, particularly around the Hindu Code Bill, members like Durgabai Deshmukh and Hansa Kumari advocated for a Uniform Civil Code to ensure greater equality for women.
  • Conversely, Dakshayani Velayudhan and Begum Aizaz Rasul opposed reservations and separate electorates for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, arguing that such measures would perpetuate divisions.


These women fought for an inclusive India that reflected the contributions of both genders, aiming for political, social, and economic equality for all. Despite facing offensive remarks, they voiced their opinions and were pivotal in shaping an independent and secular nation.

Annie Mascarene:

  • Played a crucial role in integrating the princely state of Travancore into independent India.
  • Became the first woman to hold ministerial and legislative positions in Travancore.
  • Advocated for the centralization of power for effective democratic governance but cautioned against complete centralization.

Hansa Jivraj Mehta:

  • Presented India’s first national flag on behalf of Indian women on August 15, 1947.
  • Consistently championed women’s issues and argued against reservations for women in the Constituent Assembly.

Dakshayani Velayudhan:

  • Emphasized that the Constituent Assembly should provide a new framework for life in the country.
  • Opposed untouchability and supported Article 17 of the Constitution, which abolishes untouchability.

Amrit Kaur:

  • Played a significant role in both the freedom struggle and shaping post-independence India.
  • Joined Gandhi in the Civil Disobedience movement and advocated for women’s political participation.
  • Supported the Uniform Civil Code and sought to replace “free practice of religion” with “freedom of religious worship” in the draft Constitution.

Ammu Swaminathan:

  • Actively fought against caste-based discrimination.
  • Formed the Women’s India Association with Annie Besant in 1917 to address social and economic problems faced by women workers.
  • Supported adult franchise and the abolition of untouchability in the Constituent Assembly.

Durgabai Deshmukh:

  • Known as the ‘Mother of Social Work’, she was instrumental in nation-building and social reform.
  • Founded the Andhra Mahila Sabha, an institution for education and social welfare.
  • Advocated lowering the age requirement for holding a seat in the Council of Ministers in the Constituent Assembly.

Begum Aizaz Rasul:

  • The only Muslim woman in the Constituent Assembly, she championed minority rights in a secular state.
  • Also, led the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation and established the All India Women’s Hockey Association.

Vijaya Laxmi Pandit:

  • Highlighted the responsibilities of a free India towards its citizens and the world in the Assembly.
  • First woman cabinet minister during the British era and a key proponent for an Indian constituent assembly.
  • The only woman delegate at the United Nations Organisation Conference and the first woman President of the UN General Assembly in 1953.


  • The contributions of these 15 women in the Constituent Assembly were profound and far-reaching.
  • Their efforts laid the foundation for a democratic, inclusive, and secular India.
  • Their legacy continues to inspire the ongoing struggle for gender equality and social justice in the country.
Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 4, 2024