Concept of Gender and Women Movements

Concept of Gender and Women Movements

In this article, we will discuss Concept of Gender and Women Movements.


Note: This is part of our series on ‘Society’ for UPSC examination. For more articles, you can click here.



Concept of Gender?

It is a social construct . Men and women are biologically different, but when due to that biological difference  both have different access to resources (education, employment, political participation etc)


Gender manifest itself at three levels

        • Identity Level : Male or Female
        • Cultural Level : Masculinity and Femininity
        • Structural Level : women confined to domestic sphere  and males working outside


Impact of gender stereotyping on position of woman / Impact of Patriarchal Mindset on woman

        • Domestic Division of Labour : Household work reserved for women
        • Pink Collared Jobs :  Teaching, Nursing , Air Hostess etc reserved for them
        • Glass Ceiling : Women  stereotyped to be emotional – higher levels jobs of decision making   denied to them
        • Violence against woman



Useful data

  • Woman Labour Force Participation : 27%
  • Global Wage Report : indian Woman are paid 30% lesser than males for same job
  • Global Gender Gap Report  2018 (by World Economic Forum) : India  ranked 108






Movement for Women’s welfare & Security

Concept of Gender and Women Movements
Concept of Gender and Women Movements

Feminist Movements

Feminist activism in India gained momentum in the late 1970s.

  • Towards Equality Approach (Women in Development to Women and Development)


  • Mathura Rape Case : brought women’s groups together for first time. Reason was acquittal of policemen accused of raping a young girl in a police station leading to country-wide protests in 1979-1980 which forced Government to create a new offence, custodial rape.


  • Alcoholism (Anti Arak Movement)  : alcoholism => violence against women . Women groups launched anti-liquor campaigns in AP, HP, Haryana, Odisha, MP etc


  • Triple Talaq : Started in Shah Bano Case & culminated with Shyara Bano case in SC


  • Bhanwari Devi Gangrape Case (1992) : Bhanwari Devi was a Saathin in Rajasthan with job of raising consciousness in her village about child marriage, dowry etc. Her efforts wrt Child Marriage was resented by men of dominant caste and she was brutally gangraped . NGO named Vishakha filed Case in SC culminating in Vishakha Guidelines



In 1990s, grants from foreign donor agencies enabled the formation of new women-oriented NGOs like  Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) which have played a major role in the advancement of women’s rights





    • SHGs were key instruments in women’s empowerment .
    • 10-20 rural women from the same village , mostly poor , come together to contribute fortnightly or monthly dues as savings and provide group loans to the members



Literary Movements

Journals devoted to promote women’s equality in various languages started to come up to raise women issues

Feminist Network English Bombay
Ahalya Bengali Calcutta
Women’s Voice English Bangalore
Stree Sangarash Hindi Patna
Manushi Hindi Delhi




Present Movements

  •  ‘Pinjra Tod’ : fighting against the discriminatory rules in colleges and university hostels against girls


  • Temple Entry Movement : At Sabrimala , Shani Shignapur etc.


  • #MeeToo Movement :  Metoo Movement started in US and came to India where women named powerful men  who have sexually assaulted their colleagues at workplace. This movement showed  that Balance of Power at workplace is skewed in favour of perpetrators of sexual harassment


Leave a Comment