The greatest drawback of the book is the dissonance between the earlier parts of the book, especially the introduction, and the later chapters. The introduction panders to every stereotype. " A woman in India has no identity besides that of some man's daughter, wife, mother, or grandmother". As proof of this a Ramu's mother is asked to rub the husband's legs. Women's were "given the position they deserve" by Mahatma Gandhi. Veiled women and child marriages are mentioned. The introduction states the book is about changes taking place after thousands of years of prejudice.
Given the introduction and the first chapter, I was pleasantly surprised with some of the later chapters. As the book progressed a creditable attempt was made to place women within class, religion, regional/cultural, caste structures. For instance in discussing families or civil laws the author described the religion-based civil laws and then went on to describe the difference between upper class and lower class women.
The book represents some regions of the country better than others. This is understandable given the size of the book. However other data would have been more comprehensible if we had a standard for comparison. The book states Indian women acquired the right to vote in 1926. Comparing the date to the UK and US dates would have been fruitful. Or we are told 7.9% of parliamentary seats are held by Indian women. How does this compare with other `developed' or `developing' countries?. What about voting patterns? Or representation at the local level? When female and male physician ratios are presented we never learn whether these data represent an improvement over previous decades, and to what extent. Or when we are told many women in cities work in clerical positions, it would have helped if we knew in which occupations men are concentrated.
In sum, if the book is meant as a ready reference for middle school age children, it meets that standard. If the target is an older audience it is too simple and unevenly written to fulfill the needs of a more discerning reader.
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