The condition of Women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was abysmal in every way. They were not given any education and had to follow strict decorum in their homes and had to observe 'purdah'. Child marriages were a norm and widows were banished from society and had little rights. It was a male dominated society and women were treated as second class citizens. However, this period witnessed the rise of social reform movements in India, especially relating to women emancipation like the abolishment of Sati and the start of widows remarriage.
Most of the reforms were implemented by men like Raja Rammohun Roy, Ishwarshandra Vidyasagar etc. There were very few women activists or feminists because women were not allowed to express their opinion or mingle in society. The general women population was illiterate. Only after the implementation of some social reforms in the late 20th century did their situation improve and they later participated in the nationalist movement to overthrow the foreign rule.