Women have always been identified in relation to somebody else. She has been a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister and so on and so forth. Except for a few privileged ones, it was quite impossible for women in general to create an identity for themselves outside the four walls. But, today the scenario is a little different. There are women making their mark in every field, be it education, finance or space.
There is no denying the fact that women if provided with the right exposure and freedom can prove themselves to be the epitome of power and success. Here, I present to you three such power women who not only broke their own shackles but shared and implemented their knowledge for the betterment of our society, especially in the field of education.
Savitribai Jyotirao Phule
Savitribai Jyotirao Phule was born on 3rd January, 1831 in Naigaon, Maharastra. She belonged to a time when India had not even heard of the word feminism but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that she was a true feminist of her time. A social reformer, educationist and poet, she had an important role to play for the place female education holds in the country today. She is the founder of the first School for Women in India, established in the year 1848 in Bhide Wada, Pune. She herself started teaching from the tender age of 17. Besides promoting women’s education, she was also a feminist reformer who vehemently fought for women’s rights – be it widow remarriage, opposing child marriage or preventing female infanticide.
Chandraprava Saikiani, the valiant daughter of Assam was born on 16th March, 1901 in the Doisingari village of Kamrup district in Assam. She is often said to be the torch bearer of feminism in Assam. A social reformer, writer and freedom fighter, she realized the value and importance of education at an early age in life. Being the exception that she was, she didn’t just limit education to herself but equally worked for the education of others. She was empathetic towards the illiterate rural society that she saw around her, which made her establish a girls’ school in Akaya village of Assam at the age of 13. Padmashree Chandraprava Saikiani was also the founder of The All Assam Pradeshik Mahila Samiti that works for the welfare of women. The legend that she was, it would be wrong to limit her immense contribution to the field of just education, as she equally fought against the evils of the caste system inflicting the society at that time. It was due to her untiring endeavors that the door to the famous Hajo Hayagriva Madhav temple of Assam is today open to all, irrespective of any caste.
Shaheen Mistri, the contemporary social activist and educator was born on 16th March, 1971 in the city of dreams, Mumbai. After spending 18 years of her life in 13 different countries, she returned to Mumbai (except for the occasional visits during her summer breaks). Her parents made sure she grew up to be an empathetic person, who would understand the needs of the needy. As a young kid she used to volunteer in schools for the visually impaired or orphanage which perhaps groomed her to be the person she is today.
Shaheen Mistri soon realized that imparting quality education to the children of the under privilege section would unearth the many hidden potentials and talents that usually remains buried due to lack of opportunities. With a vision to educate one and all, she founded the Akanksha Foundation in 1991. The foundation has been fervently working to bring positive change in the lives of under privileged children for the last 26 years. She is also the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization ‘Teach for India’ since 2008. The organization strives to eliminate educational inequity in India and provide quality education to all children. A woman of great wisdom and kind deeds, she is an inspiration to many.
Time and again women with their sheer determination have done exemplary deeds for the betterment of society. So, let us all pledge to contribute our share of good deeds to the society in which ever way we can. Let’s, make the world a better place to be.