‘Education bridges inequality. Gender creates it.’
Almost 3000 years ago, during the Vedic age, women in society maintained a stature almost equal to that of men. Women education wasn’t subjected to hypocrisy then, as it is now. Both men and women shared equal standing in the society.
The Vedic age is considered to be one of the radical times in the history of Women Empowerment and education. Women, in India have been symbolized as ‘Shakti’, the feminine principle of energy. Goddess ‘Saraswati’, a woman, is the goddess of knowledge in India. Signifying Women and the unequivocal strength they hold in knowledge, the mention of female scholars of the Vedic age becomes imperative. Gargi, the Vedic prophetess, from the Vedic Age composed several hymns which questioned the proposition of existence. Maitreyi, the woman seer and philosopher was considered to be an epitome of spiritual and intellectual attainment. Co-Education, apparently seemed to exist at that time, where gender inequality wasn’t prevalent then. Women, who wanted to volunteer for Vedic studies were called ‘Brahmavadinis’ and those who opted out education for marriage were called ‘Sadyovadhus’.
With the onset of British-rule in India, Women were given many employment opportunities starting with East India Company in 1854; ‘Wood’s Dispatch’, an initiative by East India company to empower women to use their education effectively.
Post Independence, owing to diverse mindsets, University Education Commission was created to recommend suggestions to improve the quality of education which was, somehow misled by a few reports which spoke against female education. Soon after receiving nationwide protests from various women committees, in 1958, a national committee on Women’s Education was appointed by government and most of its recommendations were accepted. All that was needed was equality for both men and women when it came to education. Further, the Education Commission was set up in 1964, which largely talked about female education. The 86th constitution Amendment Act, 2002 has been a significant step towards growth of education, especially for females. According to this Act, elementary education is a fundamental right for children between the ages of 6 & 14.
Currently, various education programmes have been set up to make sure that females are encouraged to volunteer for education. Urban areas aren’t affected with educational and gender hypocrisy as much as rural areas are. Thus, the notion of being biased for educating a child has to be eradicated from the roots so as to foster overall growth of country and its population.