Status of Tribal Women in India

Anthropologists have been tilling recently divided on the status of woman in tribal societies in India.

Description of status of Tribal Women as high or low often amount only to making very generalized and vague statements.

The actual treatment, legal status, opportunity for social participation and the character and extent of work, all determine each in a specific sense and manner, the status of women in a society. All these four determinants are independent of each other and not casually related. The correlation between them is empirical and not conceptual.

Among the Toda Tribal people, dairy is the central place of the economic and ritual activities of the tribe. There are certain restrictions on Women in the matter of religion. However, women are treated kindly and do not become the targets of social contempt. The Toda women are among the most pampered of Indian Tribal women.

On the other hand, in the Andaman Islanders’ society, men and women are equal participants in the religio-economic life of their tribes. Besides all that men do, she has the usual burdens that are everywhere only the woman’s lot, like, e.g., house-keeping, bearing and rearing children, and so on. Thus equal opportunity for work does not necessarily come as a blessing.

Among the Kadar tribe, there is a well-defined division of labor, giving full opportunity to women within the field which is demarcated as theirs. This saves them from being both men and women on terms of work. Thus, we find that character and extent of work are important determinations of the actual position assigned to women in a society.

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