: Babasaheb Ambedkar: Champion of Women´s Rights #IndiaNEWSAll #Law/Rights Babasaheb Ambedkar is one of the first feminist leaders and women’s rights advocates in the country. “I measure the progress
Babasaheb Ambedkar: Champion of Women´s Rights #IndiaNEWSAll #Law /Rights
Babasaheb Ambedkar is one of the first feminist leaders and women’s rights advocates in the country. “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved” Babasaheb had said. Despite this, his feminist contributions are often ignored and denied.
Even Indian Feminists often limit his work to the betterment of Dalit women’s lives. This invisibalization of Ambedkar and his life’s work is symptomatic of upper caste feminist movements. Ambedkar is only called upon when upper-caste women speak to and of Dalit women, beyond that Babasaheb’s work in pushed to the margins.
Ambedkar´s contribution is not an outlier to feminist struggles but has been instrumental in shaping women’s rights in the country.
In his essay Castes in India Babasaheb outlines how endogamy was the essence of the caste system. He details how the focus on maintaining caste exclusivity leads to the rise of Sati and child marriage. He articulates through this piece the linkages between caste and the subordination of women. Ambedkar has always maintained that women were the gateways of the caste system and the caste system lay down a structure for the subordination of women and it had to be uprooted. He saw castes’ exclusionary violence and subjugation of women inherent to the very process that lead to caste formation.
Ambedkar in his other works details the gendered violence that women face withing Hindu Smritis and Vedic texts. In the Manusmriti for example, Manu set the ideal for women to worship her husband despite all his flaws. He says “Manu can hardly be said to be more tender to women than he was to the Shudra. ”
“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved”-B R Ambedkar
Ambedkar did not only right for women’s rights, he continuously worked with women to realize the ambition of equality amongst genders. He advocated for the rights of sex workers and spoke out against the casteist nature that was the foundation of sex-work. He worked to ensure that women were also protected under labour laws. He was instrumental in reducing the number of working hours and improving the working conditions. In 1928, as a member of the Legislative Council of Bombay, he supported a Bill granting paid maternity leave for women working in factories. He was of the view that if the employer was getting benefits off of women’s labour, they should also be supporting women, partly, when they are on their maternity leave. The other half he believed should be paid by the government as it was in the interest of the nation. Ambedkar also believed that women have the right over their own body.