Inside the Family: A report on Democratic Rights of Women

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It is relatively easy to document the exploitation and oppression that women in our country, particularly women of the labouring classes, are subjected to outside the home.

But it is a very difficult task to attempt to document their condition within the home. The reason is that here the oppression is "invisible" for the most part; it takes place within the four walls of the home, and what is more, it is treated as a "family," a "private" matter. The case of each victim in any family appears both to herself and to the public as the problem of that individual woman vis-a-vis her particular family. Consequently, the social nature of the problem as a whole never receives enough attention from the conscious public.The fact is worth emphasizing that while both men and women are subject to particular forms of exploitation and oppreĀ¬ssion arising out of inequalities of class, caste, and ethnic grouĀ¬ping, what is specific to women is that their oppression takes place not only in the field, the factory, the street, and the police thana, but within the home itself. The various forms of physical violence committed against women have obscured the less overt violations of her basic rights. Her rights as sexual being, as child-bearer, as worker, and as citizen. Control over a woman's body and her reproductive powers becomes crucial since the patriarchal line is carried through males.At the risk of stating the most obvious truth, let it be repeated that women in any family are not merely mothers, sisters, wives, but also citizens of the country. And as such they are entitled to all the fundamental rights which the Constitution guarantees to them. Violation of their basic rights to life, liberty, dissent, and human dignity, even when it takes place within the family, even when such violation has a social sanction,nevertheless becomes a matter of concern for the democratic rights movement. Hence this PUDR report on the democratic rights of women in the family.

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