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Women in Maoism

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April 14, 2023

Why in news?

Women who join the Maoist movements in the hope of bringing about a revolution are often subject to the same structural violence that they are supposed to fight.

What is Maoism?

  • Maoism is a form of communism developed by Mao Tse Tung.
  • It is a doctrine to capture State power through a combination of armed insurgency, mass mobilization and strategic alliances.
  • The Maoists also use propaganda and disinformation against State institutions as other components to further their agenda.

Mao called this process, the ‘Protracted Peoples War’, where the emphasis is on military line to capture power.

Who are the Indian Maoists?

  • The largest and the most violent Maoist formation in India is the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
  • The CPI (Maoist) is an amalgamation of many splinter groups, of which the two most important groups are:
    • The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist),
    • People War and the Maoist Communist Centre of India.
  • The CPI (Maoist) and all its frontal organizations have been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.


What is the participation rate of women in Maoist movements?

  • Women constitutes 35-40% of the total cadre.
  • Higher representation of women helps Maoists in establishing better connections with tribals and also in hiring more young people.
  • Despite their higher participation, the number of women in top echelons of their leadership are negligible.
  • There is only one woman in the, more than 20 member, Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
  • Their representation in the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) is also negligible.

What are the causes for high women participation?

  • Coercion and threats from Maoists.
  • Gender inequality and the Maoist’s commitment towards women rights.
  • Police brutality and atrocities against Scheduled Caste/Tribe (SC/ST)
  • Marginalization from the rural economy and the perception of Maoism as relief from poverty and unemployment

What are the struggles faced by women in Maoist movements?

  • Sexual exploitation - Though Maoists profess discipline and integrity, exploitation of women prevails in the party.
  • The party has a code of conduct for solemnising marriage but no code for issues of divorce and polygamy.
  • Reproduction - Male cadres are forced to undergo vasectomy either before marriage or immediately after marriage.
  • In case a woman cadre gets pregnant, she has to undergo abortion.
  • Health challenges - Loin cloths are still used as sanitary napkin.
  • It is also limited and to be shared by two women.
  • Women are not permitted to liberally use water and is considered taboo to use water from streams or ponds for washing.
  • The food they provided for women has low nutritional values.

How to address the challenges?

  • Woman specific policies - State has to address women’s ground realities in the region that push them toward radicalization.
  • Utilize the opportunity - State policies should focuses on the disadvantageous position that they face in the party.
  • Welfare measures – The current State schemes mostly focuses on hard-power security responses and not the welfare demands of the populace itself.
  • Infrastructure - To provide infrastructure in the Red corridor region.
  • Economic inequality – Mainstreaming of Maoists by providing basic amenities and reducing economic inequalities.



  1. The Hindu|Battles Of Maoist Women
  2. Livemint |Women Participation in Maoism
  3. Ministry of Home Affairs | Maoism
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