The National Council of Women in India (NCWI) was formally founded in 1925 when the women of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras made use of the networks developed for war work to forge their different clubs and associations into a new council. ⁣

It came to be accepted as the national ‘branch’ of the International Council of Women and was the first all- India ⁣women’s organization intimately associated with an international organization. It provided an opportunity to voice Indian opinion in international forums. ⁣

The first President was the Maharani of Baroda. Mehribai Tata who had been Chair of the Executive Council of the Bombay Council was a key figure in the NCWI. ⁣

During a trip to Europe in 1904, Lady Tata saw and greatly admired the commitment of English women to civic issues. She was opposed to passive charity and urged the middle class women to get actively involved in charity work such as visiting slums etc. ⁣

In her view, Purdah system, caste differences, and lack of education prevented women from working to change social conditions. As a necessary first step, she urged men to support female education and freedom of movement for women. She urged the middle class women to visit slums as ⁣against passive
charity. ⁣

The NCWI received active support from both British women and many titled and wealthy Indian women. It was basically an elitist organisation and did not become broad based. ⁣

The committee on legislation became particularly active with the leadership of Mithan Tata Lam, the first practising woman lawyer in India. ⁣

The Council failed to grow for a variety of reasons. Many women could not afford to join or felt uncomfortable in the presence of the elite women. Most of the women who followed the example of Lady Tata were married to wealthy men involved in industry and banking. ⁣

Apart from its political conservatism, socially it stood for status quo. They did not visit slums, as urged by Lady Tata and found village work difficult and unhealthy. Instead they concentrated on advising the government on welfare issues.⁣