Social Position
There are several references of the position of women, along with that of
Sudras, in the Brahmanical texts of the pre-Gupta and Gupta times. In the
Bhagavad Gita they (women and Sudras) along with Vaishyas are relegated
to a low status.
     Women, along with Sudras, were held in derision by several authors of
the Dharmasastras and Puranas. Socially they were regarded as the most
impure. Manu discriminates between the males of the dvija on the one hand,
and the Sudras as well as women of all the varnas. According to his law the
former can obtain bodily purity by sipping water three times, while the latter
can obtain it by sipping it only once. In the case of food, it was thought to be
sinful to eat the leavings of the woman and Sudra, and in case this prohibitory
rule was transgressed the sin could be expiated by drinking barley for seven
Religious Position
As early as the later Vedic period women were accorded a low religious
position. The Satapatha Brahmana, for instance, warns that while teaching
pravarjya the teacher should not look at the woman among others (Sudra,
dog and black bird) because they are untruth.
     The same position recurs in the Paraskara Grihyasutra, according to
which after the samavartana ceremony one should avoid seeing women,
Sudras, dead bodies, blackbirds and dogs, and also one should not take to
such beings.
     Manu also states that during the period of the chandrayana vow it is not
proper on any account to talk to a woman, a Sudra and an outcaste. The
Brahma Purana, a work of the Gupta period, lays down that members of the
first three varnas should perform the ceremonies of bathing and muttering of
prayers according to the Vedic methods, but women and Sudras cannot
perform these ceremonies accordingly.
Conduct of Women
The practice of using veils by women,      particularly in well-to-do families, was