Works of Women’s Indian Association (WIA) & Role of Annie Besant

R. Kalaivani


The year 1917 was significant for many reasons. The important one is the formation of Women’s Indian Association (WIA).1 This association was started at Adayar, Madras on 8 May 1917.2 The founding members of this organization were Annie Besant, Margaret Cousins3 and Dorothy Jinarajadasa.4 It was the first organization to create an overall awakening among women and to train them to shoulder their responsibility in public services and bind them together for mutual service and the good of the country.5 It was also concerned with influencing government policy on women’s suffrage and issues related to educational and social reforms. Since its inception the Women’s Indian Association was involved in political matters. The presence and leadership of Mrs. Annie Besant provided an impetus to women to think in terms of political freedom.6 In 1917, Annie Besant stimulated the Home Rule movement in Tamil Nadu. Women’s Indian Association (WIA) branches proposed that equal treatment and status should be given to Indians. They also supported to compulsory primary education for girls and Hindu women’s inheritance laws.7 Describing themselves as the "Daughters of India".

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