The Uplifter of the Dignity of Women


Kiran George

            The problems faced by women can be traced from beginning of the world. Many people came forward to fight against the evils, marginalization and problems faced by women throughout the history. Chavara was a person who sensed the need to empower women, to uplift the dignity of women and had taken bold steps o actualize it.

            The status of women in the 19th century the time of Chavara was very pathetic. As it was a patriarchal society there was no freedom either at home or in the society for women. The education for them was restricted till adolescence. Low caste women were forbidden even the elementary education they were denied share of the family property. Women had no right to go for job and earn money. In the church women were not allowed to participate in retreats conducted in the church grounds. They had no representations in parish councils. Consecrated lie for women was unknown. In fact their role in society was only child bearing, rearing and working for the comfort of everyone in the home.

            To uplift the status of the women Chavara as a pioneering effort formed a religious community for women in 1866 presently known as CMC. The members of the congregation were to give education and training to girls so that future mothers would be enlightened to instruct and guide their children. By training Chavara had the idea of teaching te girls handicraft, making rosaries, scapulars and artificial flowers.

            As Chavara had the idea of making women itself as the agents of their progress he played a crucial role in starting a boarding house attached to convent for the residential study of the young girls. The first boarding school was opened at Koonamavu. Attention was give to the intellectual, mental, social and spiritual development girls. In short Chavara had vision of empowering women in all spears and he fulfilled it.

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