The Eight Inspirational Woman that we have today is Hansa Jivraj Mehta was a reformist, social activist, educator, independence activist, feminist and writer from India.
She graduated with Philosophy in 1918. She studied journalism and sociology in England. In 1918, she met Sarojini Naidu and later Mahatma Gandhi in 1922.
She was married to Jivraj Narayan Mehta, an eminent physician and administrator.
Hansa Mehta organized the picketing of shops selling foreign clothes and liquor, and participated in other freedom movement activities in line with the advice of Mahatma Gandhi. She was even arrested and sent to jail by the British along with her husband in 1932. Later she was elected to Bombay Legislative Council.
After independence, she was among the 15 women who were part of the constituent assembly that drafted the Indian Constitution. She was a member of the Advisory Committee and Sub Committee on Fundamental Rights.She advocated for equality and justice for women in India.
Hansa was elected to Bombay Schools Committee in 1926 and became president of All India Women’s Conference in 1945–46. In her presidential address at the All India Women’s Conference convention held in Hyderabad, she proposed a Charter of Women’s Rights. She held different posts in India from 1945 to 1960 – the vice-chancellor of SNDT Women’s University, member of All India Secondary Board of Education, president of Inter University Board of India and vice-chancellor of Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda among others.
Hansa represented India on the Nuclear Sub-Committee on the status of women in 1946. As the Indian delegate on the UN Human Rights Commission in 1947–48, she was responsible for changing the language of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from “all men are created equal” (Eleanor Roosevelt’s preferred phrase) to “all human beings”, highlighting the need for gender equality.Hansa later went on to become the vice chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in 1950. She was also a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO.
On August 14,1947, she was among those who stood beside Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajendra Prasad and waited for the clock to strike 12, marking the moment, when India would finally be free from British rule. When it did, the President took the pledge of freedom and Hansa, on behalf of the woman of India, presented the national flag to him and said: We have donned the saffron colour, we have fought, suffered and sacrificed in the cause of our Country’s Freedom. We have today attained our goal. In presenting this symbol of our freedom, we once more offer our services to the nation.
After Independence, as Parliament debated the Hindu Code Bill (aimed to codify and reform Hindu Personal Law) in 1948, Hansa argued that the daughter and her son should get equal shares in the property of the father. She also argued for the addition of a woman’s right to divorce. She wrote in her book Indian Woman, that she wanted women in India to be regarded by the state as individuals, not having their rights dependent on family or their husbands.
Hansa Mehta also authored 15 books on subjects ranging from Religion to Women’s right. These books included titles such as Ram Katha (1993) in Gujarati, and The Woman under the Hindu Law of Marriage and Succession (1944) and the Indian Woman (1981) in English. She also translated Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Jonathan Swift’s Classic Sattire Gulliver’s Travels into Gujarati.
Image: Live History India
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge
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