Who Gave Important Effort On Women Education?
British India – London Mission Bengali Girls’ School, Calcutta ( LMS, 1869, p.12) The Church Missionary Society tasted greater success in South India. The first boarding school for girls came up in Tirunelveli in 1821. By 1840 the Scottish Church Society constructed six schools with roll strength of 200 Hindu girls.
When it was mid-century, the missionaries in Madras had included under its banner, 8,000 girls. Women’s employment and education was acknowledged in 1854 by the East Indian Company’s Programme: Wood’s Dispatch. Slowly, after that, there was progress in female education, but it initially tended to be focused on the primary school level and was related to the richer sections of society.
The overall literacy rate for women increased from 0.2% in 1882 to 6% in 1947. In western India, Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule became pioneers of female education when they started a school for girls in 1848 in Pune. In eastern India, apart from important contributions by eminent Indian social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune was also a pioneer in promoting women’s education in 19th-century India.
With participation of like-minded social reformers like Ramgopal Ghosh, Raja Dakshinaranjan Mukherjee and Pandit Madan Mohan Tarkalankar, he established Calcutta’s (now Kolkata) first school for girls in 1849 called the secular Native Female School, which later came to be known as Bethune School. In 1879, Bethune College, affiliated to the University of Calcutta, was established which is the oldest women’s college in Asia.
In 1878, the University of Calcutta became one of the first Indian universities to admit female graduates to its degree programmes, before any British universities would begin to do the same. This point was later raised during the controversy surrounding the 1883 Ilbert Bill, a proposed legislation which would allow Indian judges to judge European offenders.
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- 0.1 Who fought for women’s rights in India?
- 1 Who is the first woman teacher?
Who helped in women education?
There are many things that hinder women from getting something as basic as an education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says that poverty, geographical isolation, minority status, early marriage and pregnancy, gender-based violence, and traditional attitudes about the status and role of women are among the many obstacles that prevent women from fully exercising their right to participate in, complete, and benefit from education.
- The result, the UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics reveals, is that there are 16 million girls in the world who will never set foot in a classroom.
- Why men need to play a role in women’s education Women also account for two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy, indicating that while boys in some regions of the world are equally disadvantaged, lack of access to education plagues girls more, clearly.
What’s equally evident is that to bring about concrete global changes, and bridge this gender gap in education, engaging men and boys in gender transformative programs or initiatives is of vital importance. This is primarily because women’s empowerment is not a goal that can be achieved in a vacuum.
The everyday inequality and discrimination women face is directly associated with our relations with men, especially when it comes to accessing resources and decision-making. It’s therefore quite logical that eliminating these inequalities require equal, if not more, efforts by men and boys. Now if you’re assuming this is a new-fangled idea, think again.
History is testament to the fact that enlightened men—men who see women as equal partners with unlimited potential rather than subjects or objects to control—have played a huge role in helping women find their voice, make their stand and march towards liberation. Raja Ram Mohun Roy You may know this 19th century social reformer as the leader credited for the abolition of the Sati pratha—where a widow is burned alive on the funeral pyre of her dead husband—but there’s a lot more that Raja Ram Mohun Roy accomplished during his life.
When it comes to education reform, Roy was one of the leading Bengali intelligentsia who believed in teaching Indians Western science, literature, philosophy and medicine. Not only was he one of the founders of major educational institutions like Hindu College (later known as Presidency College), the City College, and numerous English Schools across colonial Calcutta, but also advocated the need for educating women.
Education Indian women was already a target set by Christian missionaries, but it was Roy who helped popularize the concept among the elite Hindus. His argument against those naysayers who believed educating women was against Hindu culture was to delve into the shastras and prove that women’s education formed a core of ancient Hindu traditions, and had led to near-mythical women scholars like Gargi and Maitreyi. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Quite like Roy, school textbooks celebrate Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar as the Indian reformer behind the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856. What many don’t know is that Vidyasagar was a social reformer who understood that a mere act of legislation cannot change the fate of women in the country, nor would it help women fight centuries of social oppression.
Educating women was, therefore, the larger, lifelong goal he tireless worked towards. As one of the leading educators of the time, Vidyasagar held power to lobby for schools for the Indian girl child, and the fact that he exercised this power to the hilt is a fact that cannot be denied. Vidyasagar organized a fund called the Nari Shiksha Bhandar, and led door-to-door campaigns asking families to allow their daughters to be enrolled in schools.
He frequently campaigned for women’s education through contemporary English and Bengali publications like the Hindu Patriot, Tattwabodhini Patrika and Somprakash. He not only opened 35 girls schools across Bengal, enrolling 1,300 girls successfully, but also helped JE Drinkwater Bethune establish the first permanent girls’ school in India, the Bethune School, in 1849. Jyotirao Phule The fact that Jyotirao Phule, and his wife, Savitribai Phule, were the pioneers of women’s education in India is well known. Phule’s lifelong drive for women’s education stemmed from his own personal experiences as a Dalit man living in 19th century India.
He realized that as long as the shudras, ati-shudras and women—all marginalized categories—were deprived of education, they would not be able to get a voice of their own, let alone develop as communities with self-respect and basic human rights. This idea was proved when Phule visited the Christian missionary school run by Cynthia Farrars in Ahmednagar (the institution where Savitribai also studied), and observed how much confidence the female students had gained.
So, in August 1848, Phule opened the first girls’ school in the house of Shri Bhide in Pune. It’s reported that on the very first day, nine girls from different social backgrounds enrolled at the school. Between 1848 and 1852, Phule and Savitribai opened 18 schools in and around Pune, all of them for girls as well as for children from Dalit families. Periyar EV Ramaswamy “Only education, self-respect and rational qualities will uplift the down-trodden,” the Dravidian social reformer EV Ramaswamy, popularly known as Periyar or Thanthai Periyar, is known to have quipped once upon a time—and never have words been truer, especially for women.
You may not know much about this social reformer, but the work he did to advocate for women’s rights, especially right to education, vocation and property, is unparalleled in Indian history. Not only did he argue that ideas like chastity should not be unfairly heaped on only women, but also believed that women should have unhindered access to education, especially vocational education.
A scholar of ancient Tamil literature, Periyar used instances from these texts to prove that education is a basic women’s right. Not only did he actively campaign for women’s education, but also wanted it to be holistic with an inclusion of physical activity so that women develop physical strength as well as mental acuity. BR Ambedkar Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is popularly celebrated as the chief architect of the Indian constitution, and also as an icon for the Dalit rights movements in the country. But Ambedkar believed that women have a key role to play in the emancipation of oppressed communities, and this could be done by ensuring their own rights to property and education.
“I measure the progress of community by the degree of progress which women have achieved,” he said at the Second All-India Depressed Classes Women’s Conference held on 20 July, 1942. “I shall tell you a few things which I think you should bear in mind. Learn to be clean; keep free from all vices. Give education to your children.
Instill ambition in them. Inculcate on their minds that they are destined to be great. Remove from them all inferiority complexes.” To achieve these goals, Ambedkar advocated for women’s right to be educated along with men in the same schools and colleges, since it would ensure that both get the same quality of education.
- He believed that women’s education could help them achieve two purposes: their own empowerment, and the empowerment of others through them.
- However, Ambedkar argued against professional or vocational education as per the British education system, since it aims at creating a clerical nature of workers.
His emphasis, instead, was on secular education for social emancipation and freedom so that depressed classes can enhance their social, economic and political status.
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Who is the famous women in education?
List of the 20 Most Inspiring Women in the Education Field – Indeed, the number of phenomenal women who have contributed to uplifting Indian society is endless. So many women work day and day without any expectations. Many names go unheard. These unsung heroics are slowly transforming the face of the country.
- So in this article, we bring you the stories of some of them.
- Here is the list of the top 20 most influential women in India.1.
- Savitribai Phule- Any article in the field of Women’s Education goes incomplete without mentioning this phenomenal woman, Savitribai Phule.
- She happens to be India’s first female teacher.
It is essential to understand that women hardly had access to Education during the early times, especially in India. Savitribai Phule fought all odds, such as the caste system, male dominance, etc. It was unimaginable and impossible for any woman to step up and stand for a cause.
- However, Savitribai Phule broke all the chains and strove for women’s education in India.
- She didn’t do it in words but in action.
- She became a living example in herself.
- With the support of her husband and tireless effort to promote equal education for all, Savitri Phule and her family became a living example of breaking various preconceived notions.
Her story became a stepping stone for different other girls in India to pursue education. They also started a school for girls and the ‘Native Library’. The idea was to reach out to maximum students across the country. Just one person became the torchbearer for many.
- They also took the responsibility of a widow’s son and arranged inter-caste marriage for him.
- This evil still prevails in society.
- Savtribai Phule set a commendable, impossible example for many lives at that time.
- Today, Savitribai Phule University Pune has been built after her name.
- This university carries out the legacy of holistic education.
Indeed the whole nation salutes Savitribai Phule for her significant efforts in education and reforms in the society.2. Asima Chatterjee- Another notable woman in the Education field is Asima Chatterjee. She happens to be the first woman to be awarded a Doctor in Science by an Indian University in 1944.
She is the first woman to be elected as the General President of the Indian Science Congress, a premier institute in scientific research. Her primary inclination was toward national products in Medicinal Chemistry. She had been awarded various accolades and titles. Some of these awards were CV Raman Award, PC Ray Award and the, Padma Bhushan Award, and there were many such recognitions.
She also contributed her share through her notable work in editing and writing. In the 1940s, she served as HOD of Chemistry subject at Lady Brabourne College, Calcutta. Asima Chatterjee has contributed to various research work. Her invaluable contribution to the Chemistry of Natural Products field is infinitely valuable.
- She was elected as the General President of the Indian Science Congress in 1975.
- She contributed a notable share by becoming an example to herself.3.
- Meghna Ghai, President of Whistling Woods School- Cinema, has the power to transform the masses.
- It is the most powerful medium of communication in any society.
Also, looking at the current world, the transformation of the cinematic platform is very much visible. From big screens to OTT, from mainstream drama to education and intellectual genres, films are taking shape in almost all the spheres of life. Realising this importance, Meghna Ghai started an institute, a community where the future aspirants can evolve and brainstorm to produce valuable creative films.
Meghna Ghai was born and brought up in such an environment. She grew up watching her father Subhash Ghai’s movies. So no wonder she profoundly understands the pulse of cinema. Taking the responsibility to educate the masses, she is now running one of the prominent film schools in India. It was started in the year 2006 and currently has become a dream of thousands of young aspirants who want to study and train in cinema.
Students here are exposed to wide-ranging genres, opinions, and viewpoints. It gives them a holistic approach to developing a better understanding of cinema. Meghna Ghai is truly an inspiration for many. She has led a path for thousands of aspiring students in India.4.
Chandraprabha Saikiani- No wind will be a hurdle when a woman strives with the storm of rage and grit to empower herself. Chandraprabha Saikiani shares an extraordinary story of how she defeated all the odds and got herself educated no matter what. After receiving her education, she started her endeavour at 13.
Truly she touched and uplifted so many lives that India could not imagine at that time. Chandraprabha has received a scholarship to study at Nagaon Mission School. Her significant contribution to Education is still relevant in Assam state. She started Asam Pradeshik Mahila Samity, which is currently running as well.
- Also, Chandraprabha Saikiani Centre for Women Studies was opened in 2009 by Tezpur University.5.
- Vimla Kaul- She is an example of the great saying, ” Be young at heart and not age.” Vimla Kaul, at the age of 80 years, is going all out and providing education to children in a small village Madanpur Khadar, Delhi.
For the past 20 years, she has continued this educational endeavour. She closely noticed a lack of commitment and worked in the education field for underprivileged students. Vimla took responsibility on her shoulder and strove to uplift kids in the capital city.
The prominent region is Sarita Vihar. Despite the lack of infrastructure and proper building, Sarita Kaul is unstoppable and continues with excellent work.6. Shukla Bose- She is a truly modern age example of inspiring women in the Educational field. Bose shares a 2-decade long experience in the corporate industry.
However, despite all the lucrative offers and a lavish lifestyle, she felt a need to uplift people’s lives. So she left her job in hospitality and started her endeavour in “Parikrma Humanity Foundation ” intending to introduce at least one student (living in the family) from each family of Banglore.
- Bose believes in holistic and dynamic education.
- Recent reports have stated that students at Parikrama are performing as great as any other prominent school in the country.
- Truly Shukla Bose is bridging all the gaps, be it gender disparity, economic disparity or any kind of difference.
- Today up to 1,600 students are attending Parikrma.
Indeed Shukla Bose is an inspiration for all Indians.7. Ramabai Ranade- Ramabai Ranade was born around 1863. Getting married at an early age of 11 to an educator MG Ranade, Ramabai, got encouraged to complete her education. She soon specialised in various subjects and became an active member of Prarthana Samaj (founded by her husband).
- She organised various educational programs for women and poor people as well.
- These people were trained in wide-ranging subjects such as vocation, language and healthcare.
- She fought against child marriage.
- She formed Seva Sadan in the later stage of her life.
- This movement was dedicated to deprived and distressed women.8.
Mahadevi Verma- She is a prominent writer, poet, and educationist in India. She has added unparalleled joy to so many people’s childhood in India. Many would recall the story of a squirrel as a fond memory of their student life. She has widely been known for contributing to the “Chhayavaad ” movement.
She has also been regarded as one of the prominent poets in Hindi Kai Sammelan. Later on, she became the Vice Principal of Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth. Her stories and folklore, such as Yama, Neelkanth, Gillum, etcetera, are countless notable works that have touched many’s hearts and are alive to date. She also received many awards and accolades during her lifetime.
It includes Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, Jnanpith Award and Padma Bhushan. There is so much when it comes to the acknowledgement and works of Mahadevi Verma. All one knows is she resides in everyone’s heart with the notable work she contributed in her lifetime.9.
- Durgabai Deshmukh- She is widely known as Iron Lady.
- An Indian fighter, social worker, lawyer, and politician, Durgbai Deshmukh was a member of India’s Constituent Assembly and Planning Commission.
- Born in Andhra Pradesh, Durga was married at an early age when she was eight years old.
- However, she left her husband in pursuit of completing her education.
She finished her bachelor’s in BA degree and Masters’s in MA in the 1930s. Despite all odds, the iron lady stood tall and unwavering. She obtained a law degree in 1942. It is important to understand this was when India was still under the control of the British Raj.
This meant education was a far fetched goal, that too for a woman to complete her studies, it becomes nothing more than a dream. Durgabai Deshmukh continued despite whatever the circumstance was. She fiercely participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement. Durgabai was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
She propagated Gandhi’s ideas and educated countless women by training them in various skills such as weaving and stitching. She understood that the shortcomings of a nation were lying in prevalent superstitions, lack of education and inferior treatment of women.
- Making their upliftment core of her life, Durgabai strove in that direction throughout her life.
- She was awarded national and international awards.
- These included: the Paul G Hoffman Award, UNESCO Award (for outstanding work in the field of literacy), Nehru Literacy Award, and Padma Vibhushan.10.
- Roshini Mukherjee- Do you know the founder of the Exam Fear online platform? Is it the largest study platform for aspiring students studying from classes 6 to 12 in the various subjects and NEET preparation? The woman behind all this transformation is Roshini Mukherjee.
When the world is online, why not harness maximum value online only? This young lady based her education model on these lines only. It is not a hidden fact that so many students struggle with studies during their school days. What fears most of them is not about solving a problem but about fear of study itself.
- This further leads to anxiety about failing or not being able to fit the standards.
- Roshini could vividly see all these problems and couldn’t ignore them under the carpet.
- She, therefore, started her new endeavour of Exam Fear to help kids of various age groups.
- It seemed a completely different decision for the people around them as she left her lucrative IT job and threw herself into pursuing her passion for teaching.
In her early stages, she created simple YouTube videos. It provided education content for free. She would explain complex concepts with a straightforward approach. Her way of teaching is broad and very conducive. She utilises a visual approach and visual depiction to explain the study topics.
She has made thousands of videos and has reached a number of students. Roshini continues to inspire everyone with her simplistic and inspiring approach.11. Mukti Dagli- “Lack of vision could not stop Mukti’s vision.” At the age of 7, young Mukti lost her vision. However, that did not defeat her. She got herself trained in diploma training for blind students.
She pursued her BA degree in arts and passed it with first division. It is often said that struggles bring out polish one’s life like a diamond. However, for her, the definition of her existence was different as that experience acquainted her with the realities which people otherwise are not.
- She translated it into her mission and went on to teach blind people, especially women.
- She started Mukta Seva Kunj.
- It is a non-profit school for visually impaired women.
- People here are trained as beauticians, chefs, electrical engineers, etcetera.
- Her idea of education and learning is not limited to only studies.
Her concept is based on true empowerment and social reform. Understanding the grasp of marriage in the system, Mukti Dagli took up that responsibility too. She successfully arranged 164 weddings in the last ten years. She supported the marriage of blind pairs.
Truly the nation salutes Mukti Dagli for the contribution she made. She has been an integral medium in transforming so many lives in the country. Mukti has been awarded the Padma Shri award. She also received Nari Shakti Puruskar for uplifting women. Her idea was simple and straightforward. She has experienced the crushing realities of life.12.
Vasudha Prakash- She happens to have completed her education in doctoral studies in the USA. She would often base her research on special schooling in India. Understanding the ground reality of education in India, Vasudha Prakash took off her dream a step ahead.
She started the Online platform. She has focussed on compulsory and inclusive education. V-Excel strives to empower specially-abled students through art, dance and music. Vasudha believes in holistic training, and therefore, she also imparts skill development in various vocational programs such as cooking, car washing, gardening, planting and more.
She envisions expanding her endeavour in the next 15 years.13. Radha Goenka- Modern Times problems call for Modern Day solutions. Radha Goenka is one such social entrepreneur who understands the pulse of the situation and is thriving to impact the Indian education system in her unique way.
- She has pursued higher education at Pennsylvania University.
- Had she wanted, she would have got the best offers from all around the world.
- However, she wanted to work for her own country and started making an effort toward it.
- She first noticed that parents spend their hard money on inexpensive education of students in private schools in the country, although government schools provide free education.
She tried to understand why the quality of education, facilities available etc., are dismal in government schools. So Radha has set out to fill this gap and improve the quality of teaching and facilities in government schools. Her organisation has developed a unique curriculum which promotes the English language and creative learning.
- Her organisation is an NGO that has partnered with 2000 government schools.
- Here the idea is to empower students with innovative thinking and independent learning.
- The growth has been tremendous and exponential.
- Her organisation has reached out to up to lakhs of students in a matter of 1 year (since 2019).14.
Sangeetha Rao- She is a Special Education educator/ teacher. Her journey didn’t start as an educator straightaway. She was a fashion designer before undertaking education full time from 2007 onwards. She pursued her Special education diploma, and after that, there was no turning back.
Sangeetha closely studied the USA education model. This helped her bring freshness and creativity to the current Indian education system for specially-abled students. Sangeetha Rao is focused on changing the map of education by providing conducive spaces to such kids where they feel welcomed and appreciated.
There are various learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and more. In such situations, a student is either unable to learn or understand a situation like other children. Sangeetha believes that this problem can only be solved by providing students that space and ambience where they feel understood and included.15.
Seema Mahajan- True education will only come when a person understands its depth. It is not just about studying or rot learning. Education provides holistic nurturing to the students to shape their future in a promising direction. Seema understood the importance of entrepreneurship today. Especially in India, which is a land of local businesses.
But the country witnessed a dramatic change wherein significantly fewer students would opt for entrepreneurship. This calls for support for aspiring students in this domain. Along with other MBA faculty members, Seema started her endeavour to support second and third-generation entrepreneurs in this country.
- Having been a faculty of one of the top B-Schools of the nation, NMIMS Mumbai, she understands the pulse of the business in the country today.
- She started her own Family Business and Entrepreneurship initiative through one of the most prominent Business schools, Pravin Dalal School of Family Business and Entrepreneurship Management.
Seema has provided platforms to many families and eager aspirants with a collective initiative. The nation salutes the efforts of women like Seema.16. Geeta Dharmrajan- Students require creative learning. Geeta Dharmrajan is a teacher and an educator who writes children’s books.
- She is an editor and a social worker.
- Understanding the need to impart holistic education to the children, Geeta started her initiative, popularly known as the school.
- She published various children’s magazines, articles and editions.
- Atha school was established in 1989.
- This institute started with five students, and today it is a family of more than 20,000 women students.
In total, there are up to 45,000 students in the Katha family with up to 43 training labs. More than 2000 slum volunteers support the Katha family. Truly just an igniting mind of this single individual has transformed many lives.17. Amudhavalli Ranganathan- The d aughter of famous entrepreneur CK Ranganathan is leaving no stone unturned to uplift education in Indian society.
- Utilising her privilege to channel it in a holistic direction, Amudhavalli started a preschool CK Wonder Kidz in 2014.
- We all are known to CK groups of Institutions.
- She plays an active role in improving the education systems at all levels.
- COVID 19 hit many with a lack of access to formal education.
- However, it didn’t deter the spirits of the doers.
Amudhavalli is one of them. She instead came up with new ideas to impart education continually. She also organised online classroom sessions in various states, such as Tamil Nadu. Another significant improvement we saw this year was National Education Policy.
Amudhvalli is determined to apply the new guidelines in the CK Educational groups at various levels.18. Begum Zafar Ali- She paves the way for many others when a single woman stands up. Begum Zafar Ali is one such woman. She hailed from Kashmir, where education would be a distant dream for many, especially for women.
Begum was the first woman to enrol in Kashmir. She went on to become an inspector of schools in the state. She played many roles in empowering women in her lifetime. She worked as an Educationist, Deputy Director of Education, Women’s Liberation Activist, and a legislature in Jammu and Kashmir state.
- Her story sets a true example that nothing is impossible.
- Despite crushing circumstances, Begum became a source of inspiration for many other women in the coming generations.19.
- Uma Pathak- We can move forward to an equitable society only when the underprivileged are educated.
- Education can bring about true transformation in the quality of life of a country.
Uma Pathak is working with these notions only. Taking inspiration from her father, Uma decided to start the SPS foundation in 2018. In villages in India, parents often do not allow their children, especially daughters, to pursue education. Uma understands the depth of such a situation and is working to educate as many as possible by providing a safe environment.
The current pandemic has not been a barrier for her. Instead, her concern is to reach out to as many as possible. She has distributed masks, gloves and sanitisers to various people in India, such as Aligarh, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It is important to understand that education infrastructure plays a key role in the development of kids in the longer run.
So with her endeavour, Uma is currently working to uplift as many by renovating government schools, buildings and colleges.20. Kumari Shibulal- Many students in the country miss out on their education because of the lack of financial support. Kumari Shibulal understood this need, so she started Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiative (SFPI).
- Under this initiative, they began offering scholarships to the students.
- At first, the scholarship was provided to only two students in 1999.
- The organisation supports underprivileged students across various education levels.
- They have various programs for different levels of education.
- Ankur is a residential scholarship program which is offered to school going students.
Another scholarship program called Sathiya is offered to students aspiring for a career in hospitality. Under the SFPI, students who wish to pursue higher education are provided flagship programs like Vidyadhan. Documentum is also another initiative dedicated to students who wish to shape a career in hospitality.
- Students who wish to participate in the scholarship are supposed to fulfil specific eligibility criteria, such as one must secure a minimum of 95% in class 10th and must have a family income of less than Rs 2 Lakhs.
- Over the last 20 years, many students have received benefits under this scholarship.
- This scheme helped up to 17,000 students in their educational development.
Moreover, this scholarship has benefited 200+ doctors and 900+ engineers. : Indian Female Educationist: 20 Most Inspiring Women
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Who fought for women’s rights in India?
Indian feminists –
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772–1833) – crusaded against sati, polygamy, and child marriage. Fought for education and property inheritance rights for women.
- Jyotirao Phule (1827–1890) – worked with his wife, Savitribai Phule and friend, Sadashiv Ballal Govande to set up a centre against infanticide, to help widows in labor give birth.
- Savitribai Phule (1831–1897) – started the first school for girls in the subcontinent.
- Tarabai Shinde (1850–1910) – activist whose work Stri Purush Tulana is considered the first modern Indian feminist text.
- Pandita Ramabai (1858–1922) – social reformer a champion for the emancipation of women in British India,
- Kamini Roy (1864–1933) – poet, suffragette, and first woman honors graduate in India.
- Sarala Devi Chaudhurani (1872–1945) – early feminist and founder of the Bharat Stree Mahamandal, one of the first women’s organisations in India.
- Saroj Nalini Dutt (1887–1925) – early social reformer who pioneered the formation of educational Women’s Institutes in Bengal,
- Durgabai Deshmukh (1909–1981) – public activist for women’s emancipation and was also the founder of Andhra Mahila Sabha.
- Barnita Bagchi – scholar and sociologist with a focus on women’s education.
- Jasodhara Bagchi (1937–2015) – founder of the School of Women’s Studies at Jadavpur University,
- Rita Banerji – feminist author and founder of The 50 Million Missing Campaign, an online, global lobby working to raise awareness about the female gendercide ( femicide ) in India.
- Prem Chowdhry – social scientist, feminist, Senior Academic Fellow and critic of violence against couples refusing arranged marriages. She is a Life Member of the Center for Women Studies. She is a well-known scholar of gender studies, authority on the political economy and social history of Haryana state in India and daughter of Hardwari Lal, the renowned educationist and Indian National Congress member of parliament for Haryana.
- Mira Datta Gupta – activist for women’s issues and one of the founding members of the All India Women’s Conference,
- Meghna Pant – author known for taking a strong feminist stance in her writing and work
- Padma Gole – poet whose writings faithfully depicted the domestic lives of Indian middle-class women.
- Devaki Jain – founder of the Institute of Social Studies Trust and scholar in the field of feminist economics,
- Anuradha Ghandy (1954–2008) was an Indian communist, Proletarian Feminist, and revolutionary leader. She was a prominent leader of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), In her book ” Philosophical Trends in the Feminist Movement “, she outlines the history of the world’s feminist movements and critiques them to create the foundation for proletarian feminism.
- Brinda Karat – first woman member of the CPI(M) Politburo and former Vice President of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).
- Madhu Kishwar – founding president of Manushi Sangathan, a forum that will promote greater social justice and strengthen human rights, especially for women. She founded the magazine Manushi: A Journal about Women and Society devoted to feminism as well as to gender studies and activism in 1978 with Ruth Vanita,
- Vina Mazumdar – secretary of the first Committee on the Status of Women in India and founding Director of Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS).
- Uma Narayan – feminist scholar, and Chair of Philosophy at Vassar College,
- Asra Nomani – Indian-American journalist, author of Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam
- Medha Patkar – feminist social worker and politician who advocates for women’s rights in post-independence India.
- Angellica Aribam – Political activist, fourth-wave feminist working to get more women into politics.
- Manasi Pradhan – founder of Honour for Women National Campaign, a nationwide movement to end violence against women in India
- Amrita Pritam – first woman to win the Sahitya Akademi Award for literature.
- Gita Sahgal – writer and journalist on issues of feminism, fundamentalism, and racism, a director of prize-winning documentary films, and a women’s rights and human rights activist,
- Manikuntala Sen – politician in the Communist Party of India whose memoir described her experiences as a woman activist.
- Vandana Shiva – environmentalist and prominent leader of the Ecofeminist movement.
- Sophia Duleep Singh – prominent suffragette and daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh, She was a firebrand feminist and is best remembered for her leading role in the Women’s Tax Resistance League, but she also participated in other women’s suffrage groups including the Women’s Social and Political Union, Secret documents revealed her identity as a firebrand “harridan law breaker” for her diaries revealed that she maintained contacts with the leaders of the Indian nationalist movement like Gopalkrishna Gokhale, Sarala Devi and Lala Lajpat Rai,
- Nivedita Menon – feminist and academic. Author of Seeing like a Feminist,
- Nandini Sahu – eco-feministic Indian English poet and academic. Author of Sita (A poem),
- Ruth Vanita – academic, activist and author who specializes in lesbian and gay studies, gender studies, British and South Asian literary history. She founded the magazine Manushi: A Journal about Women and Society devoted to feminism as well as to gender studies and activism in 1978 with Madhu Kishwar,
- Ramarao Indira – academic, critic, rationalist who is an expert in modern feminism thoughts. She has written many articles and books on feminism in Kannada and English,
- Theilin Phanbuh – chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women and Padma Shri awardee
- Kirthi Jayakumar – founder of The Red Elephant Foundation, Author, Artist and Intersectional Feminist.
- Sharmila Rege – sociologist, Dalit Feminist, Activist in academia and Teacher of Women’s Studies at Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women’s Studies Center, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune.
- Neera Desai – founder of first Research Centre for Women’s Studies in SNDT Women’s University, She wrote her M.A. thesis on Women in Modern India, with a particular focus on the Bhakti Movement,
- Rajeswari Sunder Rajan – contemporary feminist and academic. Author of Real and Imagined Women: Gender, Culture, and Postcolonialism,
- Gita Sen – academic, scholar, and activist specializing in population policy. She has worked with the United Nations System and is the General Coordinator of DAWN ( Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era ). Currently, Sen is an adjunct professor at Harvard University and a Professor Emeritus at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore,
- Nandini Sahu – contemporary eco-feministic Indian English Poet and Professor at IGNOU. Author of Sita (An Epic)
- Jyoti Puri – Hazel Dick Leonard Chair and Professor of Sociology at Simmons University, She is a leading feminist sociologist who advocates for transnational and postcolonial approaches to the study of gender, sexuality, state, nationalism, and death and migration. Focus includes anti- sodomy laws in India,
Is the known as the father of women’s education?
|Phule on a 1998 Indian stamp|
|Born||3 January 1831 Naigaon, Bombay Presidency, British India (present-day Maharashtra, India)|
|Died||10 March 1897 (aged 66) Pune, Bombay Presidency, British India (present-day Maharashtra, India)|
|Organization||Satya Shodhak Samaj|
|Known for||Girl’s education, Women’s emancipation|
Savitribai Jyotirao Phule (3 January 1831 – 10 March 1897) was an Indian social reformer, educationalist, and poet from Maharashtra, Along with her husband, in Maharashtra, she played an important and vital role in improving women’s rights in India. She is considered to be the pioneer of India’s feminist movement.
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Who is the first woman teacher?
Savitribai, together with her husband Jyotirao Phule, founded one of India’s first girls’ schools in Pune, at Bhide Wada, in 1848. – Hailed as one of India’s first modern feminists, Savitribai Phule was born on January 3, 1831 in Maharashtra’s Satara district.(Biswajit Debnath/HT Photo) Written by Shubhangi Gupta | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, New Delhi January 3 marks the birth anniversary of a social reformer and feminist icon Savitribai Phule.
- Phule was born on January 3, 1831 in Maharashtra, and is remembered for her vital role in championing women rights in India.
- Savitribai, together with her husband Jyotirao Phule, founded one of India’s first girls’ schools in Pune, at Bhide Wada, in 1848.
- Apart from that, Savitribai Phule also broke the shackles of patriarchy by becoming the first Indian woman to become a teacher at a time when girls were not allowed to attend schools.
She is also regarded as the first female teacher of India. As India celebrates Savitribai Phule’s birth anniversary, here are a few facts about her: Phule was married off to Jyotiba at the age of nine. She was illiterate at the time, but her husband taught her to read and write at their home.
- After completing her education, she enrolled herself in two teacher’s training programs, one in Ahmedabad and another in Pune, according to reports.
- Following her training, she became India’s first female teacher as well as the first Indian headmistress.
- Savitribai Phule later established three schools for girls in Pune by the end of 1851, with her husband.
Phule later opened a women’s shelter called the Home for the Prevention of Infanticide where widows could deliver their children and leave them for adoption if they wanted. She was against the child marriage and strongly opposed the Sati tradition. Phule also set up a shelter home for widows.
- Savitribai also used her voice to raise awareness regarding widow remarriage.
- In Bhida Wada school established by Savitribai Phule, she hired Fatima Begum Sheikh, who was the sister of Jyotiba’s friend Usman Sheikh.
- Fatima became the first Muslim woman teacher in the country, reports said.
- Despite facing resistance from the local community with conservative views, Savitribai continued to teach girls and children of different castes.
She died on March 10, 1897 after contracting a disease while trying to save a 10-year-old boy. Subscribe to our best newsletters
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Who is the first women’s in India?
List of First Women in India
|Reita Faria Powel||1966|
Who Are the Brave Womens of India?
In light of the break-through made in the Bhanwari Devi case, we remember not the atrocities committed to her but the brave woman she was. In doing so, we also pay tribute to some other women who’ve braved the world around them. Here are the brave women of India we tip our hats off to! Read iDiva for the latest in Bollywood, fashion looks, beauty and lifestyle news.
- Bhanwari Devi: How does a low-class potter from a small village in Rajasthan have the heart of a lion? Bhanwari as part of her job for the Women’s Development Project took up the cause of various issues related to land, water, health etc.
- It was however in 1992 when she took up the case of child marriage, that she found herself alienated.
The consequences were dire, Bhanwari was gang-raped and a major court case ensued. It was for the first time in the conservative region that a woman was not ashamed of rape and spoke openly about it. She braved social boycott and risked her life for a cause, shaping the women’s movement in Rajasthan.
- She has also emboldened victims of rape to come forth and demand justice.
- Barkha Dutt: A face that has beamed to our living-room over the years, bringing us the most in-depth reports from across the country, Barkha Dutt is truly the face of a liberated Indian media.
- Her heroism was brought to light when in 1999 she covered the Kargil War and lived with the soldiers to broadcast everything first hand to the people.
There kick-started a career that is a national phenomenon. From interviews with international delegates to being at the scene of all major news events in India, she is undeniably a brave Indian woman. Arundhati Roy: A novelist and activist, she rose to fame when she won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her debut novel ‘The God of Small Things’.
- She is a true firebrand who has actively supported the Kashmiri fight for peace, allied with Medha Patkar against the Narmada Dam Project and spoken against the US-UK invasion of Afghanistan.
- Recently, she supported the cause of the Maoists too.
- Though she has come under a lot of criticism and has her share of enemies, this talented lady still dares to be different.
Kalpana Chawla: Anyone who dares to dream and follows their dream is brave in our eyes. Although her life was cut shot tragically, Kalpana Chawla is truly a heroic figure and idol to many girls who dream to go into space. Her work with NASA landed her the honour of being part of a six-member crew mission to space, ill-fated though.
With umpteen honours heaped on her, Kalpana will be remembered as one very commendable Indian woman. Indira Gandhi: The first woman Prime Minister in the country and the longest serving woman Prime Minister in the world, Indira Gandhi is a woman of substance. Her political reign did have its rough patches; however her administrative skills and foresight were her defining attributes.
She strongly advocated ‘Garibi Hatao’ but mostly she will be remembered as the Iron Lady of Asia. Sonia Gandhi: That she embraced the politics of a foreign land after the controversial family she married into and the unfortunate assassination of her husband, brave is an understatement for a woman like Sonia Gandhi.
Her refusal to accept the Prime Ministerial post her husband’s death and after the 2004 elections was widely appreciated, as was her Austerity Drive for her party MPs in 2009. Kiran Bedi: Her short-cropped hair is like a symbol for resistance in a country where crime and corruption are rampant. She is Kiran Bedi, India’s first woman police officer.
This tough lady has worked in the narcotics control department and not to mention traffic control and prison management! She is also an advisor for United Nations peacekeeping operations. Her fearless approach has contributed greatly to policing and prison reforms.
- Mukti Datta: A social worker who has done wonders for not just the environment, but has changed the lives of several women in the Kumaon region of North India, Mukti Datta is a woman with grit.
- She took up the healthcare of an entire village and embarked on a journey that changed the face of women in Kumaon.
We are proud of her and so are those whose lives she has touched. Women Freedom fighters of India: Sarojini Naidu, Kasturba Gandhi, Kamla Nehru, Vijayalaxmi Pandit, Annie Besant and Jhansi, these are just some of the remarkable women who stepped up and fought for their country against all odds.
- Their saga of bravery will be remembered through not just history text books, but through the freedom we enjoy as an independent country everyday.
- Shanti Tigga: A mother of two that to, Shanti Tigga is India’s first woman combat soldier! At 35, she joined the 969 Railway Engineer Regiment of India’s Territorial Army.
Tigga, we hear, exceeded all physical tasks including completing a 50 meter run in 12 seconds. Talk about true grit! Image courtesy: BCCL, Reuters
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Who Started woman empowerment in India?
Women’s Empowerment: History and Policy Rahul Pagare It was 1848 AD when India got its first woman educator in the form of “Savitribai Phule”. This year marks the rise of women’s empowerment in India as Savitribai Phule busted the social norm that a woman cannot be educated. The impact of this movement was so profound that 100 years later, India, as a nation accepted the leadership of a woman and Indira Gandhi, was sworn as the first female prime minister of India.
It is said that sky is the limit, but the term “women’s empowerment” broke that thought and Kalpana Chawla became the first Indian woman to travel in space. All these activities are the fruits of women’s empowerment. Women’s empowerment as a concept was introduced at the UN’s Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985, which defined it as a redistribution of social and economic powers and control of resources in favor of women.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNDFW) includes the following factors in its definition of women’s empowerment. Acquiring knowledge and understanding of gender relations and the way in which these relations may be changed. Developing a sense of self-worth, a belief in one’s ability to secure desired changes and the right to control one’s life.
- The history of women’s empowerment in the ancient age is quite confusing because on one side it encouraged women to choose their life partner on their own and on the other side, they were forced to perform Sati as per social norms.
- The first ever social network for women was created in ancient age, and it was known as the “Bhikkuni Sangh”.
It was created by the “Enlightened Buddha”. As per Buddha, women too can achieve nirvana by the systematic practice of his teachings (Dhamma). This was an unprecedented step. Soon this network of equality and justice spread all over and had a major impact on humanity.
- But soon after Buddha’s death, the Bhikkuni Sangh lost its connectivity and this group of women was oppressed by society.
- Looking at these circumstances, ‘Manu’, an ancient sage, created a book of laws and named it as ‘Manusmriti’ (Laws of Manu).
- In this ancient text, he framed laws which not only insulted women but also degraded them to the lowest level.
One of his laws says, “Pita Rakshati.” which means, since a woman is not capable of living independently, she must be kept under the custody of her father as a child, under her husband as a woman and under her son as a widow. In another text, he says “Ya to Kanya”.
Which means, in case a woman tears the hymen of her vagina, she shall instantly have her head shaved or two fingers cut off and made to ride on a donkey. Such a pathetic and brutal situation was faced by women in ancient India. Due to injustice in ancient age, for many centuries, women didn’t know what is freedom, liberation, and independence.
The stigma of women’s slavery has crushed India’s development. It has also impacted other parts of the world. In Africa, women’s issues are in a crisis. Illiteracy and globalization have severely affected the lives of women in Africa and across the world.
Since women are half the population of the world, they should have the equal opportunities to develop themselves as individuals and also as a community. After various new revolutions and social reforms during the modern era, the condition of Women has started healing and women are now redefined by their strengths, skills and their abilities.
Today, the woman is a pilot, a doctor, an engineer, a politician, an artist, an author, a leader, a president and much more; she is a homemaker, a complete administrator. It is the fruits of women’s struggle that we have got personalities like Oprah Winfrey, Mother Teresa, J K Rowling, Benazir Bhutto, Malala Yosufzai and Phoolan Devi.
Moreover, women are joining the field of science and technology. In fact, there is no sphere of activity in which women are unsuitable or incompetent. Women’s empowerment has now become an international agenda. The United Nations’ charter significantly projected discrimination against woman as a problem of universal alarm.
This shows the kind of concern of international community shows with regard to women’s rights in general and their right to equality with men in particular. The declaration provides that all the rights and fundamental freedoms are available equally to both men and women without any exception.
- Therefore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) also played a very important role in protecting the rights of women.
- The principles of gender equality, equal rights are enshrined in the Indian constitution in its preamble, fundamental rights, fundamental duties and directive principles.
- The Constitution not only grants equality to women but also empowered the state to adopt a positive attitude in favor of women.
Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, plans, and programmes have aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres. In recent years, the empowerment of women has been recognized as the central issue in determining the status of a woman.
- India upheld various international conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights on a woman.
- Ey among them was the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993.
- The National Commission for Women was set up by an act of parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women.
The Cairo United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) called attention to women’s empowerment as a central focus and UNDP developed a gender empowerment measure (GEM) which focuses on three variables that reflect women’s participation in society: political power or decision making, education and health.
- The UNDP report in 1995 declared that “If human development is not engendered it is endangered”.
- The government of India declared 2001 as the Year of Women’s Empowerment (Swashakti).
- The national policy for the empowerment of women was passed in 2001.
- The objective of this policy was the de jure and de facto enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by women on equal basis with men in all spheres — political, economic, social, cultural and civil — strengthening legal systems aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against women, equal access to women to health care, quality education at all levels, career and vocational guidance, employment, equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, social security and public office etc.
elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and the girl child. The initiatives taken up by the Government of India for vulnerable and marginalized groups and women in difficult circumstances are: Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) Swadhar Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Prime Minister Matritva Sahyog Yojana (PMMVY) Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Indira Awaas Yojana “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have made” – this powerful statement was made by Dr.B.R.
- Ambedkar, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee.
- He was the only politician in history to resign from his post just because the parliament didn’t accept his ‘Hindu Code Bill’ which consisted of women’s issues and their solutions as a major part.
- Even after the accelerated development of our country after independence, India ranks 136th out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index.
Gender inequality and caste discrimination still remain major issues which hinder women’s empowerment. These are the major challenges that we need to fight. Both men and women are a part of society; both are entitled to have a good life by respecting each other.
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Who helped in women’s rights?
It commemorates three founders of America’s women’s suffrage movement: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott.
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