. The early Indian society was plagued by various social evils against women such as Sati, polygamy, poor conditions of widows, child marriage, female infanticide, etc.
- Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar is well known for his efforts for widow remarriage. He and Rani Roshmoni’s efforts helped in the passing of the Widows’ remarriage act in 1856, which was drafted by Dalhousie and passed by Canning.
- Keshab Chandra Sen of Brahmo Samaj also worked for the upliftment of widows, held educational programs, and started a women’s journal. Similar work was done by the Prarthana Samaj in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
- Jyotirao Phule and Savitribai Phule worked immensely for educating girls and established girls’ schools for the same.
- G Ranade, Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar, and R.G Bhandarkar in Pune started organizations for ending child marriage, to encourage widow remarriage and women’s education.
The Ladies Society in Calcutta (1882) was started by Swarnakumari Devi (sister of Rabindranath Tagore), for educating and imparting livelihood skills to widows. She was also the editor of the women’s journal Bharati making her the first Indian woman editor.
Arya Mahila samaj was started by Ramabai Saraswati in Pune to provide education to women and to discourage and fight against the practice of child marriage. She later opened Sharada Sadan in Mumbai in 1889 for the education of child widows. In 1905,
Bharat Mahila Parishad, the women’s wing of the National conference (part of Indian National Congress) was inaugurated to work for the betterment of social conditions of women. It focused on child marriage, the condition of widows, dowry, and other evil customs.