Women’s rights are human rights. marriages can be very unhappy cages where the power imbalance is tangible. more to come.
Shiva is the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe. There are many both benevolent and fearsome depictions of Shiva. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya. In his fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts. the iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trishula or trident, as his weapon, and the damaru drum. He is usually worshipped in the aniconic form of lingam. Shiva is a pan-Hindu deity, revered widely by Hindus, in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
HUMAN RIGHTS are the rights and entitlements claimed for women and girls worldwide. They formed the basis for the women’s rights movement in the 19th century and the feminist movements during the 20th and 21st centuries. In some countries, these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behavior, whereas in others, they are ignored and suppressed. They differ from broader notions of human rights through claims of an inherent historical and traditional bias against the exercise of rights by women and girls, in favor of men and boys.
Empress Dowager Cixi (Chinese: 慈禧太后; pinyin: Cíxī Tàihòu [tsʰɨ̌.ɕì tʰâi.xôu]; Manchu: Tsysi taiheo;(also romanised as Empress Dowager T’zu-hsi; 29 November 1835 – 15 November 1908), of the Manchu Yehe Nara clan, was a Chinese empress dowager and regent who effectively controlled the Chinese government in the late Qing dynasty for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908. Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856. After the Xianfeng Emperor’s death in 1861, the young boy became the Tongzhi Emperor, and she became the Empress Dowager. Cixi ousted a group of regents appointed by the late emperor and assumed regency, which she shared with Empress Dowager Ci’an. Cixi then consolidated control over the dynasty when she installed her nephew as the Guangxu Emperor at the death of the Tongzhi Emperor in 1875, contrary to the traditional rules of succession of the Qing dynasty that had ruled China since 1644.
Cixi supervised the Tongzhi Restoration, a series of moderate reforms that helped the regime survive until 1911. Although Cixi refused to adopt Western models of government, she supported technological and military reforms and the Self-Strengthening Movement. She supported the principles of the Hundred Days’ Reforms of 1898, but feared that sudden implementation, without bureaucratic support, would be disruptive and that the Japanese and other foreign powers would take advantage of any weakness. She placed the Guangxu Emperor, whom she thought had tried to assassinate her, under virtual house arrest for supporting radical reformers, publicly executing the main reformers. After the Boxer Rebellion led to invasion by Allied armies, Cixi initially backed the Boxer groups and declared war on the invaders. The ensuing defeat was a stunning humiliation. When Cixi returned to Beijing from Xi’an, where she had taken the emperor, she became friendly to foreigners in the capital and began to implement fiscal and institutional reforms aimed to turn China into a constitutional monarchy. The death of both Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor in November 1908 left the court in hands of Manchu conservatives, a child, Puyi, on the throne, and a restless, deeply divided society.
Historians both in China and abroad have debated her legacy. Conventionally denounced as a ruthless despot whose reactionary policies – although successfully self-serving in prolonging the ailing Qing dynasty – led to its humiliation and utter downfall in the Wuchang Uprising, revisionists suggested that Nationalist and Communist revolutionaries scapegoated her for deep-rooted problems beyond salvage, and lauded her maintenance of political order as well as numerous effective, if belated reforms – including the abolition of slavery, ancient torturous punishments and the ancient examination system in her ailing years, the latter supplanted by institutions including the new Peking University.
Issues commonly associated with notions of women’s rights include the right to bodily integrity and autonomy, to be free from sexual violence, to vote, to hold public office, to enter into legal contracts, to have equal rights in family law, to work, to fair wages or equal pay, to have reproductive rights, to own property, and to education
During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, women’s rights in Saudi Arabia have been limited in comparison to the rights of women in many of its neighboring countries due to Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of sharia law. However, since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed Crown Prince in 2017, a series of social and economic reforms have been witnessed regarding women’s rights. In the 2021 World Bank‘s Women, Business, and the Law index, which analyzes laws and regulations affecting women’s economic inclusion, Saudi Arabia scored 80 out of 100, which puts it ahead of the global average score. However, in the 2021 World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report, the kingdom was ranked 147th out of 156 countries. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected Saudi Arabia to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women for 2018–2022, in a move that was widely criticised by the international community. Female literacy rate is estimated to be 93%. Women in Saudi Arabia constituted 34.4% of the native workforce as of 2019, ahead from 13% of the country’s native workforce in 2015. The Saudi law ensures equal pay for women and men in the private sector. Among the factors that define rights for women in Saudi Arabia are government laws, the Hanbali and Wahhabi schools of Sunni Islam, and traditional customs of the Arabian Peninsula. Women campaigned for their rights with the women to drive movement and the anti male-guardianship campaign, which resulted in improvements to their status during the second decade of the twenty-first century. Women were previously forbidden from voting in all elections or being elected to any political office, but in 2011 King Abdullah let women vote in the 2015 local elections and be appointed to the Consultative Assembly. Since 2013, the women’s representation in the Consultative Assembly, the Saudi national legislation, is required to hold at least 20 percent of seats, which exceeded the representation of women in the United States Congress at one point. In 2011, there were more female university graduates in Saudi Arabia than male, and female literacy was estimated to be 91%, which while still lower than male literacy, was far higher than 40 years earlier. In 2013, the average age at first marriage among Saudi females was 25 years. In 2017, King Salman ordered that women be allowed access to government services such as education and healthcare without the need for consent from a guardian. He also issued a decree allowing women to drive, lifting the world’s only ban on women drivers. In 2018, the percentage of women workforce jumped to 20.2%. Due to guardianship and divorce laws, many women were not previously aware when their husbands divorced them. This often created confusion and even led to homelessness. In January 2019, the Saudi supreme court issued a law requiring women to receive a text message from the court when officially divorced. Moreover, new laws were issued on 1 August 2019, granting women the right to register a divorce or a marriage and apply for official documents without requiring their guardian’s permission. In the G20 meeting of 2019, Saudi Arabia participated in the women empowerment initiative that aims at reducing the pay gap between male and female as well as supporting women’s participation in small business.On 1 August 2019, Saudi Arabia allowed women to travel abroad, register a divorce or a marriage, and apply for official documents without the consent of a male guardian. The laws also grant the women the eligibility for the guardianship of minor children.In 2019, the government of Saudi Arabia stated that women can start working for higher officer ranks in the military. In December 2019, Saudi Arabia issued a ban on marriages for people under the age of 18 for both genders. In 2020, Saudi Arabia was ranked as a top reformer on women’s rights at work. According to the World Bank, Saudi Arabia has made significant improvement since 2017, affecting mobility, sexual harassment, pensions and workplace rights. In 2021, the Saudi undersecretary for women’s empowerment has stated that women will be able to be appointed as court judges. In June 2021, Saudi Arabia has allowed women to live alone without permission from a male guardian
Women are stereotyped and shamed into not feeling good enough by magazines and social media because of age or body type and by the sheer objectification of women by males. Porn is an objectification of the body some will argue this is the right for their freedom, I think it can lead to body dysmorphia a mental health condition . Young women’s lack of self esteem because they don’t see themselves as fitting into a certain criteria or socially acceptable body type. This feeling can lead to anorexia as in the case of famous singer Karen carpenter died at 33yrs weighing just 46kilos. On a different front women are murdered across the world by their partners or men who see women as mere objects of ownership without rights of their own. They are given limited choices and made to feel inadequate to the male counter part . They are blamed for sin while the male see’s it as his right of passage. While religions and men overall protect women their are always individuals who take advantage of their positions of power.
Women during the Vedic period enjoyed equal status with men in all aspects of life. Works by ancient Indian grammarians such as Patanjali and Katyayana suggest that women were educated in the early Vedic period. Rig Vedic verses suggest that women married at a mature age and were probably free to select their own husbands in a practice called swayamvar or live-in relationship called Gandharva marriage. The Rig Veda and Upanishads mention several women sages and seers, notably Gargi Vachaknavi and Maitreyi (c. 7th century BCE).
In Mahabharata, the story of Draupadi’s marriage to 5 men is a case in point. This pointed to the fact that polygamy was matched with polyandry during the Vedic era. Women could select their husbands in an assembly called swayamwar. In this practice, the father of the woman would invite all the men and the woman would select one, and marry him while the court watched. This clearly showed how women’s rights were taken seriously during the Vedic era. This practice was prevalent till the 10th century A.D.
Also, in the Puranas, every God was shown in consort of their wives (Brahma with Saraswathi, Vishnu with Lakshmi and Shiva with Parvati). Idols of god and goddesses were depicted with equal importance to both genders. Separate temples were set up for goddesses, and within each temple, goddesses were treated and worshipped with as much care and devotion as the gods were. There are also specific practices that endure to this day, in terms of preference of worship.
The book “Hindu Female Deities as a resource for contemporary rediscovery of the Goddess” by Gross Rita.M, 1989, says:
“According to some scholars the positive constructions of femininity found in goddess imagery and in the related imagery of the virangana or heroic woman have created a cognitive framework, for Hindus to accept and accommodate powerful female figures like “Indira Gandhi and Phoolan Devi, The same would not have been possible in Western religious traditions “
Even in the practice of Homa (ritual involving fire, and offerings to fire), every mantra or Shloka is addressed to Swaha, the wife of Agni, instead of Agni himself. Devi Bhagavata Purana: 9.43, says that all requests to Agni had to be made through his wife only:
“O Goddess, Let yourself become the burning power of fire; who is not able to burn anything without thee. At the conclusion of any mantra, whoever taking thy name (Svaha), will pour oblations in the fire, he will cause those offerings to go directly to the gods. Mother, let yourself, the repository of all prosperity, reign over as the lady of his (fire’s) house.”
This aspect of Swaha as Agni’s wife is mentioned in Mahabharata, Brahmavantara Purana, Bhagavatha Purana as various hymns.”Amrapali greets Buddha”, ivory carving, National Museum, New Delhi. Amrapali was a celebrated nagarvadhu (royal courtesan) of the republic of Vaishali in ancient India.
In the 6th or 5th century BCE, Queen Mṛgāvatī (in Sanskrit), or Migāvatī (in Prakrit) of the Vatsa mahajanapada ruled as regent while her son Udayana was either a minor or held captive by a rival king, and she earned “the admiration of even experienced ministers.”
Apastamba sutra (c. 4th century BCE) captures some prevalent ideas of the role of women during the post Vedic ages. The Apastamba Sutra shows the elevated position of women that existed during the 4th century BCE:
A man is not allowed to abandon his wife (A 1.28.19).
He permits daughters to inherit (A 2.14.4). There can be no division of property between a husband and a wife, because they are linked inextricably together and have joint custody of the property (A 2.29.3). Thus, a wife may make gifts and use the family wealth on her own when her husband is away (A 2.12.16–20).
Women are upholders of traditional lore, and Āpastamba tells his audience that they should learn some customs from women (A 2.15.9; 2.29.11).
Statue of Dancing Celestial deity (Devada) in Uttar Pradesh, India.
In the Gupta period instances are not rare of women participating in an administrative job. Chandragupta I, founder of the Gupta Empire, ruled the kingdom jointly with his queen Kumara Devi. Prabhavatigupta was the daughter of Chandra Gupta II of the Gupta Empire and the wife of Rudrasena II of the Vakataka dynasty, and performed administrative duties in her kingdom. Instances of women of the upper classes extending their phase of activities beyond the domestic circle are provided by the queen and queens regent in Kashmir, Rajasthan, Orissa and Andhra. Institutions were established for co-education. In the work called Amarkosh written in the Gupta era names of the teachers and professors are there and they belonged to the female sex.
In the 2nd century BCE, Queen Nayanika (or Naganika) was the ruler and military commander of the Satavahana Empire of the Deccan region (south-central India). Another early female ruler in South Asia was Queen Anula of Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka, 1st century BCE).
Queen Orrisa assumed regency when her son died in the late ninth century and immediately involved herself in military adventuring. Queen Kurmadevi of Mevad commanded her armies on the battlefield in the late twelfth century. Queen Didday of Kashmir ruled as full sovereign for twenty-two years, and Queen Jawahirabi fought and died at the head of her army.
In Sri Lanka, Queen Sugula led her armies against the southern king, her nephew. When pressed by the royal forces, she guided her forces into the mountains, where she built a number of forts. Sugula held out against the king’s army for ten years and is remembered in Sri Lankan history as “Sugula, the rebel queen fearless”.
I say she was heroic as quite a few actresses would not play the wicked witch of the west but this wonderful school teacher actress took on the fun and we all loved her for her portrayal.
Margaret Brainard Hamilton (December 9, 1902 – May 16, 1985) was an American film actress best known for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West, and her Kansas counterpart Almira Gulch, in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer‘s film The Wizard of Oz (1939).
A former schoolteacher, she worked as a character actress in films for seven years before she was offered the role that defined her public image. In later years, Hamilton made frequent cameo appearances on television sitcoms and commercials. She also gained recognition for her work as an advocate of causes designed to benefit children and animals and retained a lifelong commitment to public education.
Hamilton was born in Cleveland, the youngest of four children of Walter J. Hamilton and his wife, Mary Jane (née Adams; known by her nickname, Jennie). She attended Hathaway Brown School while the school was at 1945 East 93rd Street in Cleveland. Drawn to the theater at an early age, Hamilton made her amateur stage debut in 1923. Hamilton also practiced her craft doing children’s theater while she was a Junior League of Cleveland member. Hamilton made her debut as a “professional entertainer” on December 9, 1929, in a “program of ‘heart rending songs'” in the Charles S. Brooks Theater at the Cleveland Play House. She later moved to Painesville, Ohio. Before she turned to acting exclusively, her parents insisted she attend Wheelock College in Boston, which she did, later becoming a kindergarten teacher
Hamilton made her screen debut in 1933 in Another Language. She went on to appear in These Three (1936), Saratoga, You Only Live Once, When’s Your Birthday?, Nothing Sacred (all 1937), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938), My Little Chickadee (with W. C. Fields, 1940), and The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (with Harold Lloyd, 1947). She strove to work as much as possible to support herself and her son; she never put herself under contract to any one studio and priced her services at $1,000 ($18,000 with inflation) a week.
Hamilton costarred opposite Buster Keaton and Richard Cromwell in a 1940s spoof of the long-running local melodrama The Drunkard, titled The Villain Still Pursued Her. Later in the decade, she was in a little-known film noir, titled Bungalow 13 (1948), in which she again costarred opposite Cromwell. Her crisp voice with rapid but clear enunciation was another trademark. She appeared regularly in supporting roles in films until the early 1950s and sporadically thereafter. Opposite Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, she played a heavily made-up witch in Comin’ Round the Mountain, where her character and Costello go toe-to-toe with voodoo dolls made of each other. She appeared, uncredited, in Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s People Will Talk (1951) as Sarah Pickett. In 1960, producer/director William Castle cast Hamilton as a housekeeper in his 13 Ghosts horror film, in which 12-year-old lead Charles Herbert‘s character taunts her about being a witch, including the final scene, in which she is holding a broom in her hand.
On December 23, 1938, she suffered a second-degree burn on her face and a third-degree burn on her hand during a second take of her fiery exit from Munchkinland in which the trap door’s drop was delayed to eliminate the brief glimpse of it seen in the final edit. Hamilton had to recuperate in a hospital and at home for six weeks after the accident before returning to the set to complete her work on the film and refused to have anything further to do with fire for the rest of the filming. After she recuperated, she said, “I won’t sue, because I know how this business works, and I would never work again. I will return to work on one condition – no more fireworks!” Garland visited Hamilton while the later recuperated at home looking after her son. Studio executives cut some of Hamilton’s more frightening scenes, worrying they would frighten children too much. Later in life, she would comment on the role of the witch in a light-hearted fashion. During one interview, she joked:
I was in need of money at the time, I had done about six pictures for MGM at the time, and my agent called. I said, ‘Yes?’ and he said ‘Maggie, they want you to play a part on the Wizard.’ I said to myself, ‘Oh, boy, The Wizard of Oz! That has been my favorite book since I was four.’ And I asked him what part, and he said, ‘The Witch,’ and I said, ‘The Witch?!’ and he said, ‘What else?’
Hamilton’s stand-in and stunt double for the Witch, Betty Danko, also suffered an on-set accident on February 11, 1939. Danko made the fiery entrance to Munchkinland, not Hamilton. She was severely burned during the “Surrender Dorothy!” skywriting sequence at the Emerald City. Danko sat on a smoking pipe configured to look like the Witch’s broomstick. The pipe exploded on the third take of the scene. She spent 11 days in the hospital and her legs were permanently scarred. The studio hired a new stunt double, Aline Goodwin, to finish the broomstick-riding scene for Danko.
When asked about her experiences on the set of The Wizard of Oz, Hamilton said her biggest fear was that her monstrous film role would give children the wrong idea of who she really was. In reality, she cared deeply about children, frequently giving to charitable organizations. She often remarked about children coming up to her and asking her why she had been so mean to Dorothy. She appeared on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1975 where she explained to children she was only playing a role and showed how putting on a costume “transformed” her into the witch. She also made personal appearances, and Hamilton described the children’s usual reaction to her portrayal of the Witch:
Almost always they want me to laugh like the Witch. And sometimes when I go to schools, if we’re in an auditorium, I’ll do it. And there’s always a funny reaction, like ‘Ye gods, they wish they hadn’t asked.’ They’re scared. They’re really scared for a second. Even adolescents. I guess for a minute they get the feeling they got when they watched the picture. They like to hear it but they ‘don’t’ like to hear it. And then they go, ‘Ohhhhhhhhhh … !’ The picture made a terrible impression of some kind on them, sometimes a ghastly impression, but most of them got over it, I guess … because when I talk like the Witch, and when I laugh, there is a hesitation and then they clap. They’re clapping at hearing the sound again.
The Wizard of Oz
Rani Durgavati (5 October 1524 – 24 June 1564) was the ruling Queen of Gondwana from 1550 until 1564. She was born in the family of Chandel king Keerat Rai at the fort of Kalinjar (Banda, Uttar Pradesh). Rani Durgavati’s achievements further enhanced the glory of her ancestral tradition of courage and patronage.
In 1542, she was married to Dalpat Shah, the eldest son of king Sangram Shah of the Gondwana kingdom. The Chandel and Rajgond dynasties were allied because of this marriage. This resulted in Keerat Rai gaining the help of the Gonds at the time of Muslim invasion of Sher Shah Suri.
She gave birth to a son in 1545 A.D. who was named Vir Narayan. Dalpat Shah died in 1550 and due to the young age of Vir Narayan, Durgavati took the reins of the Gond kingdom. Diwan Beohar Adhar Simha and Minister Man Thakur helped the Rani in looking after the administration successfully and effectively. Rani moved her capital to Chauragarh in place of Singorgarh fort. It was a fort of strategic importance situated on the Satpura hill range.
The Rani’s contemporary was a Mughal General, Khwaja Abdul Majid Asaf Khan, an ambitious man who vanquished Ramchandra, the ruler of Rewa. The prosperity of Rani Durgavati’s state lured him and he invaded the Rani’s state after taking permission from Mughal emperor Akbar. This plan of Mughal invasion was the result of expansionism and imperialism of Akbar.
When the Rani heard about the attack by Asaf Khan she decided to defend her kingdom with all her might although her Diwan Beohar Adhar Simha (Adhar Kayastha)  pointed out the strength of Mughal forces. The Rani maintained that it was better to die respectfully than to live a disgraceful life.
To fight a defensive battle, she went to Narrai, situated between a hilly range on one side and two rivers Gaur and Narmada on the other side. It was an unequal battle with trained soldiers and modern weapons in multitude on the Mughal side and a few untrained soldiers with old weapons on the side of Rani Durgavati. Her Faujdar Arjun Das was killed in the battle and the Rani decided to lead the defence herself. As the enemy entered the valley, the soldiers of the Rani attacked them. Both sides lost some men but the Rani lost more.
At this stage, the Rani reviewed her strategy with her counselors. She wanted to attack the enemy in the night to enfeeble them but her lieutenants did not accept her suggestion. By next morning Asaf Khan had summoned big guns. The Rani rode on her elephant Sarman and came for the battle. Her son Vir Narayan also took part in this battle. He forced Mughal army to move back three times but at last, he got wounded and had to retire to a safe place. In the course of battle, the Rani also got injured badly near her ear with an arrow. Another arrow pierced her neck and she lost her consciousness. On regaining consciousness she perceived that defeat was imminent. Her mahout advised her to leave the battlefield but she refused and took out her dagger and killed herself on 24 June 1564. Her martyrdom day (24 June 1564) is even today commemorated as “Balidan Diwas”.
Elsie Maud Inglis (16 August 1864 – 26 November 1917) was an innovative Scottish doctor, pioneering surgeon, inspiring teacher, suffragist, and founder of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, and the first woman to hold the Serbian Order of the White Eagle. Elsie (Eliza) Maud Inglis was born on 16 August 1864, in the hill station town of Naini Tal, India. Inglis had eight siblings and was the second daughter and third youngest. Her parents were Harriet Lowes Thompson and John Forbes David Inglis (1820–1894), a magistrate who worked in the Indian civil service as Chief Commissioner of Oudh through the East India Company, as did her maternal grandfather. Inglis had the good fortune to have enlightened parents for the time who considered the education of a daughter as important as that of a son, and unusually also had them schooled in India. Elsie and her sister Eva had 40 dolls which she used to treat for ‘spots’ (measles) she had painted on.
Inglis’s father was religious and used his position in India to “encourage native economic development, spoke out against infanticide and promoted female education.” Inglis’s maternal grandfather was Rev Henry Simson of the Garioch in Aberdeenshire. She was a cousin to the eminent gynaecologist Sir Henry Simson. Another cousin was related by marriage to her peer and fellow female medical student Grace Cadell who was the first Scottish woman to obtain a medical licence.
Inglis’s father retired (when aged 56) from the East India Company to return to Edinburgh, via Tasmania, where some of her older siblings settled. Inglis went on to a private education in Edinburgh (where she had led a successful demand by the schoolgirls to use private gardens in Charlotte Square) and finishing school in Paris. Inglis’s decision to study medicine was delayed by nursing her mother, during her last illness (scarlet fever) and her death in 1885, when she felt obliged to stay in Edinburgh with her father.
She was born in 1910 in Skopje. She became a Roman Catholic nun in 1928. In Calcutta, she worked in the slums, teaching and aiding the sick and abandoned people. She established a home and an open-air school for the poor. She also founded “Missionaries of Charity” which gave donations to the poor. In New York, she opened a home to care for those infected with HIV/AIDS. Mother Teresa was one of the 20th Century’s greatest humanitarians. She received several awards including the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. She is canonized as a saint.
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