Google honours Rukhmabai Raut, one of India’s first practicing women doctors, with a doodle

She played a key role in enacting the Age of Consent Act, 1891.

Google on Wednesday celebrated the 153rd birth anniversary of Dr Rukhmabai Raut, one of British India’s first practicing women doctors. Born in Mumbai on November 22, 1864, Raut was a crusader for consent and played a key role in enacting the Age of Consent Act, 1891.

Raut was married off at the age of 11. However, she did not live with her husband after her marriage. Instead, she stayed at her parents’ home and educated herself. She fought a long legal battle after her husband Dadaji moved the Bombay High Court in 1884 to restore the conjugal rights of the husband over his wife. The court asked Raut to comply or to go to jail.

Raut told the court that she could not be forced to remain married since she was not able to give her consent at the time she got married. This is the first time the idea of consent was presented before a court of law. This petition thus started the landmark case, which ultimately led to the enactment of the Age of Consent Act in 1891.

Raut won the case. She later trained to become a doctor, and had a successful 35-year-long career in medicine. She also fought against social evils like child marriage and women’s seclusion. Raut remained an active social reformer till she died at the age of 91 on September 25, 1991.

The doodle shows a woman with a stethoscope around her neck surrounded by hospital beds and nurses.

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