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Report No. 66

1.6. Inferiority of women.-

Voltaire, in his Dictionnaire Philosophique1, asserted, with respect to the word "woman": "It is not surprising that in every country man has become woman's master, because everything is based upon strength. He usually possesses great superiority by virtue of his body and even his mind Women are commonly concerned to be sociable and conciliatory.Generally speaking, it appears that they are made to assuage men's manners."

This notion will today appear as obsolete; but, in early times, this notion of woman's inferiority was reflected in the legal status assigned to her in the West. The social changes of the nineteenth century, however, increasingly obliged industrial societies to modify the woman's position in society in a manner that has tended towards her emancipation. Our law is tending towards treatment of the woman as an individual, not only in the family but also in society generally. It is hardly necessary to add that in India, the Constitution guarantees complete equality of the sexes. In fact, the Constitution2 allows the State to make special provisions for woman. The statutory provisions with which the Report is concerned also illustrate the trend towards equality of the sexes. But, as we have already stated3 those provisions require to be brought up-to-date.

1. Voltaire Dictionnaire Philosophique.

2. Chapter 3, infra.

3. Para. 1.5, supra.

Married Womens Property Act, 1874 Back

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