THIS ARTICLE deals with three related questions concerning the status of women. Is the woman (majority of world9 s women) a free agent or an enslaved being? Does she have an identity other own or is she a mere appendage of the male—a commodity he possesses, whose sole rationale for existence is to make his own living more comfortable—with no relevance outside of his life? Secondly, if the latter is true, was this so from the beginning of human history? "Was woman ordained by nature to be the "second sex"? If she was once free and man's equal how did her "fall" come about? In other words, what happened to the female m history? Thirdly how can she liberate herself and become once again a human being and not a just a "woman"?
It would suffice to answer the first question briefly as there seems to be a worldwide consensus, at least at the official and formal level, that women constitute the most deprived majority community. Hardly much serious research or work has gone into the question of women's uplift even in the richer countries, reflecting an indifference to the problem. Yet, even the most hidebound male chauvinist must admit, if he would care to look at the abundant data put out by,the United Nations on the condition of women in most parts of the world, that the female lags behind the man, to varying extent in different countries, in everything that lends dignity