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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Women's Indian Association

An organization formed by the Theosophical Society (TS) at Adyar, Madras (now Chennai), on May 8, 1917, to improve the social condition of women in India. Its declared objects were:

To present to women their responsibility as daughters of India.

To band women into groups for the purpose of self-development and education, and for the definite service of others.

To help them realize that the future of India lies largely in their hands; for as wives and mothers they have the task of training and guiding and forming the character of the future rulers of India.

To secure for women the vote for Municipal and Legislative Councils as it is or may be granted to men.

To secure for women the right to be elected as members on all Municipal and Legislative Councils.

The movement met with considerable success. Within ten years it secured the franchise for women in six Indian Provinces; secured women seats in the Legislative Councils of three States; gained the admission of women to Municipal Councils and Local Government Boards; opened the Magistracy and the Bar to women.

Its first officers were:

President: Annie Besant.
Vice-President: Dorothy M. Jinarājadāsa.
Hon. General Secretary: Margaret Elizabeth Cousins
Treasurer: A. Mahadeva Sastri.

The organization seems to have ceased to be active after Besant died although educational work for underprivileged women, especially to improve domestic skills like sewing, continues at the TS compound in Adyar, conducted by TS members.

 

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