By Dr. Harnek S. Kaile
long ago, a woman was considered just a toy in the hands of man. She had
no public life and remained within the four walls of the house.
With the change of times, voices began to be raised in her favour. The
first such voice was Guru Nanak Dev's, "So kyon manda akhyae, jit
jammeh rajan?" (why should she, who gives birth to emperors, be
In the beginning of the British regime, education of girls was almost nil.
In 1901, only 1% students were girls. Later, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar
Chander Vidyasagar, Bal Ganga Dhar Tilak and Swami Daya Nand strongly
supported the cause of women education. Separate schools for girls were
opened and, in 1916, a Women University was established in Bombay. But, on
the whole, the position of education of women remained unsatisfactory.
When India attained independence, women were given equal rights with men.
In 1952-53, the Secondary Education Commission did not devote a separate
chapter to women education, perhaps because its members thought that women
had already got equal rights with men. In 1959, a committee for their
education was formed and some other steps were taken, but much
progress could not be made.
We find that, even now, many parents, particularly those belonging to
scheduled castes and tribes, don't send their daughters to schools and
keep them busy in some work or the other to supplement the income of the
family. Also, certain parents don't want to send their daughters to
co-educational institutions. Of course, this is also a fact that in the
University/ Board examinations, the performance of girls is far better
than that of boys and the first positions are generally bagged by girls.
In Sarojini Naidu's opinion, education of women is essential for the
progress of the nation. In a country like India, where the birth of a male
child is celebrated with great joy and that of a female child gives a lot
of sorrow, it is quite difficult to bring about a change in the situation
in favour of women. Education is the only means through which such a
change can be brought out.
The child receives early education in mother's lap. An educated mother can
brighten the future of her child through proper education. According to an
American survey, the higher the education of the mother, the easier would
be for her children to obtain high educational diplomas.
An educated mother answers the child's curiosity-filled queries according
to her knowledge. She does not rebuke the child to suppress his feelings
because she knows that even small children have self-respect. She can tell
him that if he does not stop making mischief, she will get angry with him
or punish him, but she will never say ,"If you again make a mischief,
a sadhu with matted hair will come, put you in his bag and run away".
She tells him didactic stories and helps him to be disciplined in
accordance with the norms of the society.
An average Indian is superstitious by nature and, many times, these
superstitions become obstacles in his progress. Education plays a
significant role in making the people get rid of superstitions and an
educated lady can give proper direction to her family in this respect.
Education plays a major role, directly or indirectly, in the jobs for
women. A large number of studies have indicated that there is a
significant relationship between a woman's level of education and her job.
Economic crisis has compelled women to take up jobs. In the urban middle
and lower classes, women do jobs to improve the standard of living of the
family. Educated women have come out of the four walls of their houses and
work in schools, colleges, hospitals and various offices. They have become
judges, scientists, doctors, engineers and professors and do various other
jobs as the men folk do. They feel that they have a 'good say' in society
because of their jobs. In Hoffman's view, job works as a safety valve for
Education creates political awareness among women. Educated women like Raj
Kumari Amrit Kaur, Aruna Asif Ali and Sarojini Naidu participated in
various movements related to the struggle for India's independence. Now,
women are ministers, member of parliament and state assemblies, though the
number of such women is far less as compared to men. Educated women are
essential for proper functioning of democracy - the uneducated do not now
how precious their vote is.
women are also doing a lot in the social field. In fact, women education
is the means through which the desired social change can be achieved.
Somebody said, "If a person, who died about a hundred years ago,
could become alive, he will find a very significant and surprising change:
revolution in the conditions of women". There has been unprecedented
awakening in the women because of education. They are marching ahead on
the road to progress and it is a strong indication of the progress of our
SINGH KAILE, Ph.D.(Education), M.Phil(Education), M.Ed., M.A.(English),
M.A.(Punjabi) has 28 years' experience as a lecturer in a college of
education, and is presently Principal, G.H.G.Kh. College of
Education, Gurusar Sudhar, Distt Ludhiana (Pb.) India. He has published
many research papers, including Bharti Sikhya Churahe Te (in Punjabi)
which has been translated into English and is being serialised here.
can be reached by e-mail at mailto: