Dr BR Ambedkar feminist quotes: From historical to contemporary times, Babasaheb’s words and thoughts have remained relevant in pushing the fight for intersectional equality forward. As the father of the Indian constitution, he shaped the early foundations of women’s rights in independent India, alongside other Dalit icons like Savitribai Phule who traversed long journeys of resistance just so women could achieve the agency of education, voting, marriage, independence.
One of his most prominent contributions to women’s causes came in the form of introducing the importance of maternity benefits in the Indian mainstream in the 1920s – a time when women, especially manual labourers, were overworked in pre and postnatal periods.
“I believe that it is in the interest of the nation that the mother ought to get a certain amount of rest during the pre-natal period and also subsequently. I am prepared to admit this fact because the conservation of the people’s welfare is primarily the concern of the government,” he said arguing for a maternity benefits legislature. In 1929, the Maternity Benefits Act was passed in Bombay for factory workers, and henceforth, in other provinces.
Exploring Dr Ambedkar’s feminism, his contributions to women’s causes and equal living
He was also instrumental in forming the bedrock of the Hindu Marriage Act (1955) with its precedent Hindu Code Bill, impressing upon the inclusion of women’s right to divorce, adopt, marry by choice, lay equal claim to property and thus ensure financial security. As the country’s first Law Minister, he also pushed relentlessly for female and minority franchise, which resulted in women getting voting rights.
April 14, which sits snug in the middle of the Dalit History Month, marks Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary (130th this year) – an occasion for upholding and reinforcing his belief in the feminist movement to ensure a life of dignity and equality for all Dalits and women.
On Ambedkar Jayanti, BR Ambedkar Feminist Quotes To Guide Us
Equality as a measure of progress
“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”
The need for women’s participation
“Unity is meaningless without the accompaniment of women. Education is fruitless without educated women and agitation is incomplete without the strength of women.”
Women as key players of the resistance
“I strongly believe in movements run by women. If they are truly taken into confidence, they may change the present picture of society which is very miserable. In past, they have played a significant role in improving the conditions of weaker sections and classes.”
On boosting women’s education
“We shall see better days soon and our progress will be greatly accelerated if male education is persuaded side by side with female education.”
Equality across discourse
“The stories of women entering into public discussions with men on the most abstruse subjects of religion, philosophy and metaphysics are by no means few.”