We, the women in India sincerely believe that the welfare of our country will be advanced by our greater unity of thought, sympathy and purpose and by our united effort for the betterment of the general, social and educational conditions of the women and children of India. We do hereby bind ourselves together to further this object and adopt as our motto, “Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you.”
In 1919, Lady Tata founded the Bombay Presidency Women’s Council, which was renamed the Maharashtra State Council of Women in 1962.
The National Council of Women in India (NCWI) was founded in the year 1923 by Lady Meherbai Tata, Sir Dorab Tata’s spouse and chair of the Executive Committee of the Bombay Council. On a trip to Europe in the year 1904, Lady Tata observed the work being done by the English women on civic issues. She greatly admired their commitment and felt that the women in India could do the same to help resolve many issues faced by women and children. She was opposed to passive charity and urged the middle class women to get actively involved in charity work such as visiting slums and doing grassroots-level work. As a necessary first step, she urged men to support female education and freedom of movement for women.
Later she felt the need to have a parent body as many such Women’s Councils had emerged in different parts of India with similar agenda and goals. Thus the NCWI was founded in 1923 as the parent body for the affiliate State Councils which facilitated common framework, knowledge sharing and solidarity to a common goal. When it was first organized, the National Council had three life patrons- the Dowager Begum of Bhopal, the Maharani of Baroda and Lady Meherbai Dorab Tata.
When the National Council was first organized, Lady Tata held an important position on the executive committee including Miss Cornelia Sorabji, India's first lady barrister, Mrs. Tarabai Premchand, the spouse of a wealthy banker, Mrs. Shaffi Tyabji, a member of one of Mumbai's leading Muslim families, and Maharani Sucharu Devi of Mourbhanj, daughter of Keshab Chandra Sen. The Maharani of Baroda was appointed the first President of the National Council of Women in India.
Lady Meherbai’s vision was to give children good education and make women more self-reliant and contributing members of their families. She lit a spark and today it has grown into an enormous non-governmental organization of thousands of women across India who are working for one common goal: the upliftment of the underprivileged women and children of India. One woman’s vision a century ago has gone on to become a movement that continues to gain momentum as all the members of NCWI and the Affiliate State Councils work tirelessly to make a difference.
Today, the NCWI has 20 Affiliate State Councils, located in different parts of India, each doing excellent work in the upliftment of underprivileged women and children of their respective areas.
The ‘National Council of Women in India Child & Family Welfare Section’ is an autonomous and registered wing of the NCWI located in West Bengal with centres at Kolkata and Bashirhat. This project addresses healthcare issues, childcare, women welfare and other needs of the people in the vicinity who require help. It provides boarding, counselling & health care to women impacted by human trafficking.