Herabai Tata: The Power Behind Indian Women’s Voting Rights

There is a need for women in India to know about and connect with the women in our past, who fought for the rights we legally claim today! Indian textbooks continue to take a stubbornly sexist view of the history of women’s rights in India, insisting that it is men who fought for these rights for women, and edit out even prominent feminists, like Herabai Tata and their works into complete oblivion. We must resurrect the women heroes of our past, and resuscitate the feminist movement they had started in India a 100 years ago!

THE 50 MILLION MISSING CAMPAIGN BLOG ON INDIA'S FEMALE GENDERCIDE

by Rita Banerji

The name Herabai Tata will not ring a bell for most Indians! Unfortunately, not even for most Indian women, even though she is one of the main reasons that women have the right to vote in India!

Born in 1879 in Bombay, Herabai Tata was the Secretary of the Bombay branch of the Women’s Indian Association (WIA). In the early 1900s, she was a central figure in the fight for Indian women’s franchise – the right to vote. In fact she is referred to by Geraldine Forbes who documented the changing lives of Indian women in the early 1900s, as the “real soldier” of the movement.

So why don’t Indian women know of her? The fault perhaps lies with the sexist and patronizing view of the history of women’s rights in school textbooks. Students are taught that it is men who fought for and ‘gave’ women their…

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