NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 35 Women’s Empowerment And Emancipation

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NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 35 Women’s Empowerment And Emancipation

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Women’s Empowerment And Emancipation

Chapter: 35




Fill in the blanks:

1. The year …………… was known as the Year of Women’s Empowerment. 

Ans. 2001.

2. Freedom from oppression is known as …………….. .

Ans. Emancipation.

3. When a woman has the freedom to take decisions and make choices she is identified as an …………….. .

Ans. Empowered woman.

4. An empowered woman builds an ……………….. society.

Ans. Enlightened.


Answer in brief:

1. In which year was the most recent incident of sati reported?

Ans. 2002.

2. What is women’s movement?

Ans. Struggle for women’s liberation.

3. When was the Widow Remarriage Act passed?

Ans. 1856.

4. What was the minimum age at marriage prescribed for a boy and a girl by the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929?

Ans. 14 years for a girl and 18 for a boy.


Answer in one word:

1. When was the First Five-Year Plan started?

Ans. 1951.

2. Name the approach adopted by the First to Fifth Five Year Plan with reference to women. 

Ans. Welfare.

3. Name the Organization set up in the year 1990 to safeguard the rights of women.

Ans. National Commission on Women.

4. During which plan period were the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments passed?

Ans. VIII Plan.


Q.1. Match the following:

1. Women’s Empowerment YearNetworking of Self-Help Groups.
2. Swayam Siddha2001.
3. SwadharSetting apart 30% of the funds for women’s development in different sectors.
4. Beginning of Tenth PlanProgramme for women in difficult situations.
5. Women’s Component Plan2002.


1. Women’s Empowerment Year2001.
2. Swayam SiddhaNetworking of Self-Help Groups.
3. SwadharProgramme for women in difficult situations.
4. Beginning of Tenth Plan2002.
5. Women’s Component PlanSetting apart 30% of the funds for women’s development in different sectors.


State whether the statements are “True’ or ‘False’: 

1. The International Women’s Decade was observed between 1975-1985. (True/False)

Ans. True.

2. Autonomous women’s groups do not interact with the police nor are they a part of the government. (True/False)

Ans. False.

3. Women’s movement is meant only for urban women. (True/False)

Ans. False.

4. Women’s empowerment is an ongoing process. (True/False)

Ans. True.


Answer the following questions in 200-300 words. 

Q.1. What are the main achievements of the social reform movements of the 19th century in emancipating women?

Ans. The Main achievements of the Social Reform Movements of the 19th century in emancipating women:

(i) Education: Most of the social reformers of the 19th century strongly advocated women’s education, for they saw education as the single most important tool for liberating women.

(a) The opening of schools, particularly meant for girls was a major step in efforts at emancipating women.

(b) When women got an opportunity to move out of their homes and also an exposure to the world at large, they were lifted out of ignorance. Though conservative parents did not really accept the idea of sending their daughters to school easily, the fact that efforts began to be made for providing education to girls, was itself a major step in the direction of women’s emancipation.

(ii) Laws were passed against so many social evils related directly with the women’s emancipation: On the eve of British conquest of India, the position of women was very humiliating. Social evils such as female infanticide, sati, child marriage, restrictions on female education, polygyny and ban on widow marriage flourished. In the name of religion, women were kept away from all efforts to seek empowerment. For more than two hundred years after they set foot in India, the British did not interfere with the religious and social life of the people they governed because of their policy of non-interference. But as their position in India was strengthened (became strong), the British started responding positively to the efforts of enlightened Indian social reformers who had launched a struggle to emancipate women from the clutches of evil social practices and customs.

(a) Ban on Sati: The period between 1829 and 1947 saw the enactment of many laws, which aimed at emancipating women from the clutches of oppressive social customs. Indian social reformers had to work against heavy odds and stiff social opposition. A change-resistant (opposing change) society did not accept the ban on Sati or the legal sanction for widow marriage so very easily. Though sati was legally banned in 1829, incidents of sati continued and even as late as 2002 cases of sati were still being reported. If an inhuman practice like sati could exist even in the 21st century, when so much progress has been made in the fields of science and technology, you can well imagine how difficult it must have been to fight for women’s emancipation over one hundred and seventy years ago.

(b) Legalisation of Widow-re-marriage: Lifting the ban on widow remarriage was another major step in the struggle for the emancipation of women. While the ban on sati was somewhat effective, the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 could not be effectively implemented because of social opposition. But the freedom, which the law gave widows to marry was definitely an achievement in the struggle for women’s emancipation. With a ban imposed on sati and the ban on widow marriage removed, an environment for liberating women was created.

(c) Ban on Child marriage: One of the greatest obstacles to women’s emancipation was child marriage. The enactment of the Child Marriage Restraint Act in 1992 prescribed the minimum age at marriage for a girl as 14 and a male as 18 years. Though 14 years is by no means the right age for a girl to be married, this Act at least took the bold step to put an end to the evil custom of infant marriages. When girl children did not have to be married off at an early age, they could go to school which is a very effective instrument of emancipation. The 1992 Act was the single most significant piece of legislation that sought to emancipate women in the pre- independence era. 

Q.2. Critically examine the role of Five Year Plan in women’s empowerment.

Ans. Role of Five Year Plans in women’s emancipation:

(i) The state initiatives came mainly through the Five Year Plans. Till date, nine Five Plans have been completed and the tenth Five Year Plan has commenced on April 1, 2002.

(ii) The first five plans adopted what was called the welfare approach in dealing with women’s issues and problems. This approach treated women as mere targets of welfare programmes and not as participants in the development process. 

(iii) From the Sixth Plan onwards the shift took place from welfare to development. Women were considered as key participants in the development programmes.

(iv) Towards the end of the Sixth Plan the Department of Women and Child development was set up.

(v) During the Seventh and Eighth Five year plans three major documents and two major commissions relating to women’s development were created.

(vi) During the Ninth Plan the shift took place from development to empowerment approach. The year 2001 was declared as the Year of Women’s Empowerment and a number of programmes were started during this year. Special mention may be made of Swayamsiddha and Swadhar. Women’s Self-Help Groups, which are a real source of empowerment of women, are doing great work in a large number of India’s villages in building capacities of women.

Q.3. Explain the role of autonomous women’s groups in the women’s movement. 

Ans. 1. All over India, a number of autonomous women’s groups have been working to fight oppression of women. These groups do not receive financial support from the government, but generally mobilize their own human and financial resources to fight for the cause of women.

2. After independence, it took nearly 25 years for the emergence of women’s groups and organizations, which took up women’s issues from a feminist viewpoint. The observance of the International Women’s decade between 1975-1985 led to the starting of courses on women’s studies in many universities and colleges as well as action programmes organized by women’s groups to sensitize the society to women’s issues.

3. A number of women’s groups emerged in different parts of the country to raise basic questions about gender inequality and initiate action to counter these inequalities. These groups, known as autonomous (independent) women’s groups did not have a connection with any political party. These autonomous women’s groups did not believe in simply submitting representations or sending delegations to meet political leaders and request for action.

4. On the contrary, they created a forum for women to meet and discuss issues that were affecting them and chalk out strategies to tackle all forms of oppression in society. Though educated middle class women took the initiative in forming and managing these groups, they took up the problems of working class women, tribal women, peasant women and dalit women. Yet another unique feature of the autonomous women’s movement was the participation of women from all castes and classes. The autonomous women’s groups also joined hands with other progressive movements, such as student movements, tribal movements, environment movements, anti-price rise movements or movements for equal wages.

Q.4. Show how Self Help Groups can empower rural women. 

Ans. Self Help Groups can empower rural women by following ways:

(i) By opening education part-time centres, girls, schools and encourage parents to send their female to wards the school.

(ii) By opening Bal-Agenwari for working women’s children to look after them (their childrens in their working hours.)

(iii) By opening training centres to provide them training in tailoring, knitting, embroidery-works, carpet-making, basket-making, candle-making, Agarbatti manufacturing.

(iv) By taking interest in fighting oppression, injustice and discrimination against women in all social institutions. The groups do not compromise their principles for any political, social or economic policies or programmes, which bring indignity to women.

(v) By starting financial help cooperative societies, giving them loans on very low rate of interest, proving them free legal advice and help in the time of need.



Q.1. In which the world women’s Empowerment-was celebrated in the beginning of the 21st century? 

Ans. 2001.

Q.2. Write the names of mass-media through which we get informations, steps being taken or should be taken for emancipation and empowerment of the women.

Ans. (i) Newspapers, magazines, books, pamphlets etc.

(ii) Radio, Television, Films etc.

Q.3. Fill in the blanks, choosing correct word/figure given with in brackets:

(a) For the past ……………. years many laws have been passed to free women from the clutches of oppressive social wrong customs and ill-practices. (175/62).

Ans. 175.

(b) Women can experience liberation only when they live in an environment, which ………………. them to enjoy the rights conferred on them. (enables/hinder).

Ans. Enables.

(c) An …………….. women is one who has the freedom to take decisions in matters relating to her life. She is also free from ……………… in her family and all other social institutions. (empowered / started, / Violence/peace).

Ans. Empowered, Violence.


Q.1. What do you mean by the term “Women’s Empowerment”?

Ans. What is women’s Empowerment: We all know that the Constitution of India has conferred equal rights on women and men. We are also aware of the fact that discrimination on the grounds of gender is prohibited by the Constitution. For the last 175 years, several laws have been passed to liberate women from the clutches of customs and practices which have been oppressing them for centuries. Yet, we see that many women face discrimination from birth to death. I aws are not doubt very important to emancipate women from oppression, but it is equally important to create an environment in which equality can be enjoyed equally by all women. It is the creation of this environment which is the goal of empowerment. 

Q.2. Who can be called an empowered woman? Mention any (four relevant points).


Who is an empowered women? 

Ans. Who is an empowered women? 

An empowered woman is one who:

1. Has the freedom to make choices and take decisions in matters relating to her life as well as society at large.

2. Is not a victim of violence either in her family or any other social institutional setting.

3. Can live her life in such a way that her self-respect and dignity are protected. 

4. Has access (equal chance) to opportunities in all spheres of activity.

5. Is in a position to make use of the laws formulated for safeguarding her honour and rights.

Q.3. “Mere provision of opportunities for women is not enough. They must here the freedom to make use of these opportunities.” Explain briefly the statement by giving a suitable example.

Ans. Mere provision of opportunities for women is not enough. They must have the freedom to make use of these opportunities.

Example: Let me give you an example. Six-year-old Leena lives in a village. She wants to go to the village primary school like her friends, but her family wants to send her to work as a domestic help in the neighbouring city. Being a citizen of India, Leena has as much right as any other girl in the country to go to school, but due to poverty and family pressure she is forced to give up her ambition. Leena is not empowered to make use of her rights. So empowerment is a condition when women/girls have the freedom to enjoy a right in practice and not just in theory. 

Q.4. What is emancipation of women? Discuss briefly by giving two examples.

Ans. Meaning of Emancipation: The term emancipation refers to a condition of release from any form of oppression or bondage (oppression/control). The removal of hurdles or constraints for achievement of one’s goals in life can also be called emancipation. Emancipation can be achieved through legal or social action. Many a time social action leads to legal action.

Example 1: With the passage of the Widow Remarriage Act in 1856, the legal hurdles to widow marriage were removed. Until this period, even if a widow wished to be married, she was not permitted to do so. Today, if a widow wishes to marry she cannot be legally prevented from doing so either by her family or social group. This is an example of legal action leading to emancipation.

Example 2: Mathura, a tribal girl, was raped in a police station. The policemen who were responsible for this act were not punished for this offence because until then, rape in police custody was not included in the list of offences considered rape. But protests by women’s groups and the pressure built on the government to consider rape committed in the pressure built on the government to consider rape committed in police stations also as a punishable offence resulted in the inclusion of custodial rape as an act of rape, when the rape law was amended.

Q.5. How you can justify that the social reform movement had their roots western world? But they actually developed within our own counter?

Ans. (i) The social reform movements of the 19th century, the efforts made in the early part of the 20th century and also the 19th century women’s movement in Europe and North America laid the foundation for the emergence of a strong women’s movement in India.

(ii) The freedom struggle brought many women out of their homes and the new found awakening created the right atmosphere for fighting for their rights Liberation from colonial rule and freedom from oppressive social customs were the twin goals of the struggles for women’s emancipation. Initially the movement for women’s equality was spearheaded by men, but during the later years the leadership passed on to women.

(iii) Between 1880 and 1930, a number of women’s organizations sprang up all over the country. By the time India won her freedom, the stage was set for launching the women’s movement on a firm footing.

Q.6. What is the women’s movement? Briefly discuss. 

Ans. What is the women’s movement?

(i) Women’s movement refers to the struggles launched by individuals and groups for liberating women from the clutches (control) of social evils and for establishing equality between men and women. Women’s movement is also referred to as the Women’s Liberation Movement. The ideology of the Women’s movement is that women have equal rights and opportunities available in society. Women’s movement believes in activism or action directed at ensuring that women get their rightful place in society.

(ii) The women’s movement fights against oppression of women in all social institutions. It also acts as a pressure group (a group whose voices and actions influence public policy and public opinion) and urges the state to enact laws, which give women their due share in the economic and political affairs of the country.The ultimate goal of the women’s movement is to create an environment in which women’s self-dignity is safeguarded both in private and public sphere.

Q.7. Discuss in about 7 to 8 lines or in a paragraph to point out the women’s empowerment-efforts in Independent India.

Ans. Women’s Empowerment-Efforts in Independent India: The ongoing efforts to empower the women of India are made by the state, voluntary organizations and women’s groups. Voluntary women’s groups are also known as autonomous women’s groups. The common element in efforts being made both by the state and autonomous women’s groups is the recognition of the fact that there is gender discrimination in our society and that special emphasis must be placed on eliminating it. If the Constitutional guarantee of equal opportunities and prohibition of discrimination has to become a reality (put into practice), there has to be a constant effort to identify and remove gender inequalities. The approaches and strategies of the state and voluntary efforts, however, are different. So, it is important to study the two separately.

Women’s Empowerment Through Voluntary Actions:

(i) The women’s movement in India has been a strong force in the struggle for empowerment of women. Prior to independence, organizations such All India Women’s Conference, Bharat Stri Mandal, Women’s Indian Association. National Council of Women in India came into existence. These organizations no doubt raised issues of women’s inequality, but their thought and action were not radical enough to question. patriarchy.

(ii) However, they organized campaigns against child marriage, purdah and demanded voting rights for women. These organizations were founded and managed mostly by women of middle or upper classes. By 1940 when the freedom struggle was at its height, the All India Women’s Congress has raised this question. ‘Today our men are clamouring for political rights at the hands of an alien government. Have they conceded to their wives, their own sisters, their daughters, ‘flesh to their flesh, blood’ of their blood, social equality and economic justice’.

(iii) The sentiment echoed in this question is that political freedom does not necessarily bring to women freedom from oppression. Though the pre-independence women’s movement could not organize the masses, it had definitely set the stage for a strong women’s movement to emerge in India after the country gained independence.

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