The Influence of Women’s Organizations of the Early 20th Century in India!

After 1910, women experienced in organizing and working in local women’s associations, and convinced that women should take the leadership into their own hands, started provincial and national women’s association.

The Women’s India Association (WIA) was formed in 1917 in Madras. The WIA was a vigorous organization that undertook to widen its scope of activities beyond fund-raising, social service and women’s education.

It sought to influence government policy on equal rights for women in some areas and was involved with the issues of suffrage, education and social reform.

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The National Council of Women in India (NCWI) was formed in 1925, and the All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) in 1927.The AIWC, originally convened only to discuss women’s education, became a permanent body. Its emphasis was on unity and women’s upliftment through education, and social and legal reform.

It also emphasized women’s contribution to national development. By 1932, however, the AIWC had become involved with women’s political rights and all questions which affected women and children as well as with social problems such as untouchability.

However, with the passage of time the two main actors in the women’s movement, the WIA and the AIWC, were swept away by a variety of influences. The women’s question had gradually evolved from the perspective of uplift within the traditional framework to that of women’s equality.


But involvement in the struggle for freedom led the women’s movement into dilemmas and contradictions; it was caught between the middle class character of its membership and the increasing radicalism within the national movement with its transformation into a mass movement from the 1920s onwards.