BR Ambedkar had once said, “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.” This is a clear indicator of his stand when it came to women empowerment.
Ambedkar dreamt of an inclusive India, where women are not relegated to the margins. In his essay, Castes in India, he explains the connection between caste and the subordination of women. He believed that women were the gateways of the caste system, and this very set-up laid down a structure which is aimed at subordination of women and thus, deserves to be uprooted.
Furthermore, as the first law minister of independent India and chairman of the Constitution drafting committee, he worked extensively with women to promote gender equality. In fact, he was instrumental in improving the working conditions of workers. In 1928 (he was a member of the Legislative Council of Bombay), he supported a Bill which granted paid maternity leave for women working in factories. He advocated for women’s reproductive freedom and was vocal of the fact that conception is a choice that women should make and birth control facilities should be easily accessible to them.
Reports suggest that between 1942 and 1946 he passed several legislations with respect to for women that dealt with equal wages for equal work, casual and privilege leave, compensation in cases of injury, and pension.
One of the biggest steps that is proof of BR Ambedkar being an advocate of women’s rights is the Hindu Code Bill. The focus of the Bill was to give women absolute right over property, absence of endogamy, the access to divorce, and to relieve women of the threat of polygamy.