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Women Leaders in Education

“If you educate a man, you educate an individual and if you educate a women you educate a Nation”

This African Proverb is a proven fact and women have contributed in the field of education since times immemorable for the upliftment of women and society as a whole. Not to forget that our own existence is incomplete without women. They are the natural creators, who share a sense of inclusivity which the world invariably longs for. 

Here, I would like to share about the contribution of some wondrous women in the field of education who made a remarkable impact by defeating all odds. 

  • Savitribai Phule – This wonder women happens to be the first female teacher of our country who fought all odds such as caste system, male dominance, non-cooperation from community, etc. Those were the times when it was impossible for any women to step up and stand for a cause. However, Savitribai Phule broke all chains and strove for the Education of women in India. With the support of her husband and unstinting effort to promote equal education for all, Savitribai Phule and her family became a living example breaking many preconceived notions. She was an example for others to pursue education, a torchbearer for many. Savitribai Phule started a “native library” reaching out to many across the state, arranged inter-caste marriages bringing social reforms and set a commendable, impossible example for many. 
  1. Chandraprabha Saikiani – No wind will be a hurdle when a women strives with the storm of rage and grit to empower herself. Chandraprabha went to a boys school for her primary education as there were no girls schools, and shares an extraordinary story of how she defeated all odds to get herself educated. She taught the illiterate girls in nearby areas during her school days. Chandraprabha worked as a teacher and later promoted to Head Mistress. She fought against child marriage, girls education, played key role in India freedom movement, Civil Disobedience movement, Non cooperation movement. She was the founder of All Assam Pradeshik Mahila Samiti a non-governmental organization working for the welfare of women of Assam. Indeed, she touched and uplifted many lives during those times.
  2. Vimla Kaul – Simple living and high thinking, Vimla Kaul leads by example. At the age of 84 years, she is committed to educating the underprivileged children in the slums of Delhi. For past 25 years after her superannuation as government teacher, she continued her educational endeavour. Vimlaji has founded a small school named ‘Guldasta’ in 1993 where she teaches English, Mathematics, Science to the children whose parents are employed as Housemaids, drivers, safaikarmcharis etc. She aims to provide quality education to these children and ensure certain skill sets to promote to next class and prepares them as independent learners. She is a teacher teaching with a difference and believes that Education is the backbone of the country and children are future of the country, giving her best for the cause even at the age of 84. 
  3. Mahadevi Varma
  4. Durgabai Deshmukh
  5. Mukti Dagli
  6. Vasudha Prakash 
  7. Begum Zafar Ali

Lastly I can say, women have played pioneering role in the field of education as compared to men.  May be because a man’s world focuses on competition, attitude, and individuality, whereas a woman’s world focuses on intimacy, harmony, and interdependence. The influence of a teacher’s gender might be related to the varied teaching styles. More like a woman’s intrinsic nature, female teachers are said to be more supportive, communicative, nurturing, easy-going, and open towards students. 

I quote “Man can never be a women’s equal in the spirit of selfless service with which nature has endowed her” – Mahatma Gandhi

India has had a number of inspiring women in various fields such as art, literature, science, mountaineering, business, etc. Indeed, a number of phenomenal women who have made their contribution in uplifting the Indian society is endless. There are many women who work day in and day out without expectations. Many names go unheard. Such women are our unsung heroics transforming the Nation silently. 

Mrs. Achala Verma

Dean Academics

Birla Balika Vidyapeeth

Pilani, Rajasthan

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