Aparna Thomas

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Sushi Datta-Sandhu

Second Advisor

Dr. Jim Butterfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Libby Dalton

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The women's movement has a long history in India. There exists an active women's movement in India today. Furthermore, there also exists a strong legal environment to protect women's rights. However, the social status of the majority of Indian women remains unchanged. In other words, the women's movement has failed to change the social status of Indian women.

This thesis examines the Indian women's movement historically from the nineteenth century to the present to explain why it has not had a greater impact on changing the social status of Indian women.

I argue that the lack of change in the social status of women is mainly due to the lack of gender consciousness among Indian women and the persistence of patriarchal attitudes in Indian society. Based on a historical analysis of the status of Indian women and the women's movement, I argue that the women's movement has not been effectively engaged in raising gender consciousness among women due to which the social status of Indian women remains unchanged.