Both man and woman are the equal members of the society. Their prosperity and progress determines the progress of society. If woman are not allowed full political and social freedom, and if they grow as parasites fully depending upon men for their life, the country can never make any kind of progress. It is their joint work that contributes to the well-being of the society, and makes the country rich and happy.
In olden days, women occupied an important position in Indian society. In Manusmirti it is written that the daughter must be educated equally with the son. There was a time when women were highly respected. There were learned ladies, who were well-versed in Vedic literature. It was the common belief among the people, that the house, where women are worshipped is the temple of God and peace and happiness always prevail there. Girls were treated equally with boys. They have full opportunities for their mental, moral and physical development. There was a custom of Swayambar ceremony by which they can choose their husbands freely. They were indeed happy days, and the country was at the height of its civilization and culture.
But with the coming of the invaders the condition of women changed in course of time. The purda system the custom of early marriage, the contempt of for the fair sex and illiteracy among the masses, shook the whole structure of the society. There was a general degeneration among the masses, and women suffered the most. It began to be considered that the chief duty of women was to look after their children and manage domestic affairs. They came to be regarded entirely subordinate to men, without any freedom of speech and action. As girls, they are under the strict rule of their parents; in their married life, the word of husband is law for them; and in their old age, they have to depend for their maintenance upon their sons. Hence from cradle till grave they look to others for help and guidance.
Now the position of women has begun to show signs of improvement. Some of the Indian women have won international fame and glory. India is proud of such who have shown to the world noble examples of patriotism and sacrifice.
It is an admitted fact that unless there is an all round improvement in the position of women, the country cannot develop and become prosperous.