Large scale participation of women was an important feature of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Mahatma Gandhi made an appeal to Indian women to come out from their household seclusion and advised them to participate in the political movement to end the British rule in India.
During the Salt March, thousands of women came out of their homes to listen to the speeches of Gandhi. They participated in protest marches, manufactured salt, and picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops.
Sarojini Naidu ultimately had her way by joining Gandhi on the last stretch to Dandi, where he raised a fistful of salt on 6 April.
Another activist, Mithuben Petit, stood behind him when he violated the Salt Law again at Bhimrad on 9 April.
In Bombay, large section of women of Gujarati community was influenced by Gandhiji’s idealism and participated in National Movement.
They started organizing prabhat pheris, or morning processions, on the streets of Bombay and Ahmedabad, where they sang songs about the bounty of the motherland.
Bengal being the nerve centre of female education in India, increased the women’s participation in nationalism. In 1930, women rallied before Bethune College, Calcutta in support of movement.
Jawaharlal Nehru writes in The Discovery Of India, “Here were these women, women of the upper or middle classes leading sheltered lives in their homes, peasant women, working-class women, rich women, poor women, pouring out in their tens of thousands in defiance of government order and police lathi.”
It should be noted here that prior to 1930, only a few women mostly from the families of leaders took part in political movement. But during the Salt Satyagraha women increasingly enrolled themselves as volunteers.
But this did not bring about any radical changes in the position of women. For a long time the Congress was reluctant to allow women to hold any position of authority within the organization.
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