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Position of women in Ancient India

The evolution of the status of women in India has been a continuous process of ups and downs throughout history. Considering the vast body of empirical research available on the topic, two approaches seem valid: one is classical text view; and the other, empirical view.

For the purpose of depicting a brief survey of the changing position and role of women in India throughout history, two broad periods are considered: (a) 2500 B.C-1500 B.C., and (b) 1500 B.C. - 1800 A.D.

These divisions are based on degree of freedom that women enjoyed and the role differentiation within the family. Throughout classic literature on the status of women there is almost consistent opinion among great scholars that during the age of Vedas (2500 - 1500 B. C.) a woman's status was equivalent to that of a man.

Though it is difficult to specify the exact chronological time as to when the deterioration in woman's status started, one can state that gradual changes appeared during the age of Brahamanas, 1500B.C. and by the age of Sutras and Epics, 500 B.C. to A.D. o 500 and the age of the later Srutis, A.D.500 to A.D. 1800 the status had deteriorated considerably.