Ancient india and women
Scholars believe that in ancient India, the women enjoyed equal status
with men in all fields of life. However, some others hold contrasting
views.Works by ancient Indian grammarians such as Patanjali and
Katyayana suggest that women were educated in the early Vedic
period Rigvedic verses suggest that the women married at a
mature age and were probably free to select their husband.
Scriptures such as Rig Veda and Upanishads mention several women
sages and seers, notably Gargi and Maitreyi.
Some kingdoms in the ancient India had traditions such as nagarvadhu
("bride of the city"). Women competed to win the coveted title of the
nagarvadhu. Amrapali is the most famous example of a nagarvadhu.
According to studies, women enjoyed equal status and rights during
the early Vedic period. However, later (approximately 500 B.C.),
the status of women began to decline with the Smritis (esp. Manusmriti)
and with the Islamic invasion of Babur and the Mughal empire and later
Christianity curtailing women's freedom and rights.
Although reformatory movements such as Jainism allowed women
to be admitted to the religious order, by and large, the women in India
faced confinement and restrictions. The practice of child marriages
is believed to have started from around sixth century.