PM Modi’s India is a Women-driven Superpower

Anushka Saraswat*

India, under the experiential leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is emerging as the leader of gender justice in the world with women’s empowerment and economic development complementing each other. India’s history is filled with tales of women, often addressed as “Sadhivis” or virtuous, who led the cause of nation-building and gender equality against the challenges of patriarchy and colonialism. As a land of democratic values and human dignity, India’s concept of gender justice is unique and emanates from the spiritual consciousness of its civilization, long established on the bedrock of Dharma. Modi Government’s vision of gender equality and women-led development is reflective of India’s Dharmic traditions and cosmic laws that require the State to dispense equity among genders and provide equipollently the resources as the fulcrum of Raj Dharma. Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to women’s empowerment has set a paradigm shift in India’s journey towards gender justice. India’s social structures and institutions are emerging and evolving into avenues for advancing gender equality as a model for others to follow. 

Empowering Women by Revisiting India’s Civilizational Heritage

Prime Minister Modi revisited the idea of Nari Shakti in ancient India and emphasized the strength of women by invoking the Vedic mantra, नारी तू नारायणी”, meaning the woman is the manifestation of the divine, in his address in Kutch, Gujarat. PM Modi’s thoughts on women and gender equality, reflected in various national and international fora, send a very strong message of gender justice to the world. PM Modi has praised women and identified their struggle and contribution to society independent of their relation to men or attributes such as marital status. Additionally, he has dismissed the notion of women’s subordination to men which is still prevalent in various cultures in the world. PM Modi has even held that the idea of women’s roles as mere homemakers, confined to the private sphere, is regressive and an outdated practice. As a result, he has reconceived the circumscribing role of men in society.

Culture is the medium that predominantly defines women’s position and role in society. Some cultural practices severely impede women’s empowerment and gender equality as a result of monolithic and hermetically sealed structures. The concept of gender justice in Indian civilization is not only commensurable in terms of universality and flexibility but also transcends the socially constructed ideas of gender relations. Gender justice in India is deeply rooted in a holistic and participatory form that is led, owned, and driven by women. For instance, women were routinely addressed as Aditi in ancient India which etymologically translates as independent or free from dependency.

Additionally, Vedas, the intellectual treasure of Indian civilization, is the oldest literature in the world that established the model of the predicament in which women can flourish, lead, and build themselves, their families, and their nation. Women’s Adhikar translated as rights has been an embryonic form of Dharma that emanates from the fact of being born as a human being. It can be summarized that ancient Indian culture upheld women’s dignity and rights in a healthy and holistic environment.

Modi Government has initiated several awareness campaigns advocating women’s role as nation-builders by dismissing regressive practices that reduce their role to patriarchal norms. The intersection of India’s civilizational heritage and advocacy for gender justice in a holistic manner is a sustainable and efficient way to empower women from all communities, especially the poor and marginalized. Modi Government’s holistic framework for gender equality in conjunction with a constructive engagement with India’s civilizational heritage is instrumental for various reasons. First, the Modi Government has redefined the State’s role in gender justice and the nature of Indian society that facilitates women’s civil and political empowerment. Second, it has redefined India’s culture to enable women’s leadership and participation in the public sphere. Third, the present Government has adopted a comprehensive approach to gender justice by adopting national-level programs aimed at strengthening the socio-economic position of women in both public and private spheres. Now, India offers an inspirational model of reducing gender inequality to the world embedded in a duty-based and collective rights approach.

Modi’s Government Mantra of Women-led Development

Gender justice is integral to the progress of various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Modi Government’s mantra of women-led development is integral to the cause of gender justice and economic growth. Empowering women through socio-economic innovation and market-friendly policies enables them to participate in the workforce, national and global citizenry, and development journey of their countries. Modi Government’s policies of empowering women to shoulder the responsibility of India’s rise and development emanate from the Dharmic perspective of human and women’s rights itself. PM Modi’s purpose of women empowerment and Nari Shakti is transtemporal with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). India’s civilizational ethos and idea of human dignity resonate with the UDHR which puts paramount emphasis on human and women’s rights. 

Socio-economic progress, driven by women, pulls India closer to a gender-just egalitarian country. History was created when India, under the leadership of PM Modi, chose Ms Droupadi Murmu, as the first tribal woman President of India. Women, as the drivers of economic development, can come out of the vicious cycle of life and death issues ranging from poverty, personal insecurity, unequal distribution of equity, social injustice, and environmental hazards. Since 2014, several policies have facilitated women’s participation in key decision-making roles to achieve gender equality. Women are now Head of State, politicians, armed forces officers, CEOs of unicorn startups, and Permanent Representation of India in the United Nations.

The Modi Government has prioritized the safety and security of women and is committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination against them and removing barriers to their empowerment in the public sphere. The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign facilitates girls’ right to education on a pan-India scale. Complemented with Swachh Bharat: Swacch Vidyalaya, more than 450,000 separate toilet facilities for girls have been constructed to reduce the female dropout rate in Indian schools. Through Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana: National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), the Modi Government has reached out to the most vulnerable sections of women and promoted community-based institutions, Self Help Groups (SHG) for capacity building, financing, skilling, and promotion of livelihoods. In 2017, the Modi Government amended the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 to increase maternity benefits to adopting mothers and commissioning mothers. To add more, various other legal and policy interventions led by the Modi Government have significantly improved the socioeconomic strength of Indian women.


While gender inequality and deprivation of women’s rights is a universal challenge, PM Modi’s emphasis on women’s empowerment and gender justice is hope for millions of women who require systematic support to end the cycle of patriarchy. Women’s role in nation-building cannot be realized till they are empowered holistically with the Government and non-government actors coming together. India has entered Amrit Kaal with a 25-year-long march to 100 years of its freedom from colonial rule. It is time for women to play the driving role in India’s long march and establish its position as a superpower. In many parts of the world, women are struggling to even have their voices heard. A women-led India can be their voice and hope.


Shailendra Kumar & Sanghamitra Choudhury | (2021) Ancient Vedic Literature and Human Rights: Resonances and Dissonances, Cogent Social Sciences, 7:1, 1858562, DOI: 10.1080/23311886.2020.1858562

Shashi Prabha Kumar| Indian Feminism in Vedic Perspective, Journal of Studies of Ancient India, 1998

India’s National Report on Human Rights Submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council, 2022

Celestine Nyamu Musembi| Gender in Development, Critical Issues in Human Rights and Development,  2021

*Author is a Law intern at the Supreme Court of India and a member of the Civil 20 Working Group on Human Rights under India’s G20 Presidency


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