Women And Class Struggles – Time For Introspection

womens day

” By propagating women’s nature as non – violent they are discouraging women from becoming fighters in the struggle for their own liberation and that of society ..”
Anuradha Ghandy , “Philosophical Trends in the Feminist Movement ( Part I)

International women’s day is one of the many occasions to debate various pros and cons of present feminist movements and introspect their impact on empowerment and welfare. Their vital role in class struggles should also be taken into account in over all evaluation of their progress


For the past few years, caste system is being legitimised by the right wing through promoting Manusmriti and brahminism is gaining momentum. Similarly, male hegemony as advocated by Manu scripture is also on the rise. While many male politicians are brazenly supporting atrocities on women and are even given tickets to contest ( A Rape charge is no bar for Politicians: 260 MLAs and MPs contested polls while facing sexual assault charges, www.dailymail.co.uk indiahome/ indianews , published 20 December 2012) women belonging to these parties are choosing to maintain stony silence. Some women politicians like Hilary Clinton even defend accusers (Celebrity Women who were slammed for Supporting Men Accused of Sexual assault, publshed 10 February 2018, cheatsheet.com). Thus, the male hegemony is gaining legitimacy through some women.

Some positives

Class structure affects women also. While upper caste women live a relatively comfortable life, lower caste/ class women are exploited both socially and financially. In an article ‘Dalit women in India’ by Dr. J Muthumary ( ambedkar.org ) , the situation of dalit women has been elaborately analysed. There are some women like Jayanti from Koya community who became first woman journalist of her tribe from Malkangiri or first dalit senator from Pakistan Peoples Party( PPP) Krishna Kumari Kohli to parliament.

By and large, lower caste and marginalised women face severe exploitation when compared to upper castes.

Unite to struggle

Women have to address the issues of both class struggles and caste struggles. In US and other countries, class struggles form major agenda though there are differences between black women and white women ( the black women face more exploitation due to twin disadvantages of being black and economically poor). But in south Asian countries, caste contradiction is as major an issue as class contradiction. There is vast difference between exploitation of male suffered by upper caste women and the exploitation of male as well as caste hegemony suffered by dalit, OBC or minority community women.
Hence, this occasion should be used to debate various forms of exploitation suffered by women of different castes and classes and strive for a united liberation agitation to overthrow male hegemony and chauvinism. Women should analyse internal contradictions – both antagonistic and non – antagonistic – and move forward to agitate against gender bias and injustice meted out to them through ages.

The plight of women was poignantly written in a lyric penned by SAHIR LUDHIYANVI ( who was born on Mar ch 8 , 1921) :

“Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko, Mardon ne usey bazaar diya
Jab jii chaha masla kuchla, jab ji chaha dhutkar diya …” .

( Woman gave birth to men
And men gave her marketplace
To crush and trample at will
To reject and cast off at will ….)

This will change only by continuous struggle and not just by celebrating one day

Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere

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