National Girl Child Day: Women who promoted girls’ education

With an objective to empower girls through education and awareness, National Girl Child Day is being observed in India on January 24, 2018. The day is observed to celebrate the achievements of girls and to highlight certain issues such as sex ratio, female foeticide, child marriage, social discrimination, exploitation and gender disparities in the country.

As the country is celebrating National Girl Child Day, here is a highlight of some women educationists, who in their best efforts, tried to contribute to the world of education and development.

Pandita Ramabai

Born in Canara district of Madras presidency (now in Karnataka), Pandita Ramabai was instrumental in establishing ?Arya Mahila Samaj? to promote the causes of women education and deliverance from the oppression of child marriage.

Ramabai had in 1889 established ‘Mukti Mission’ in Pune for young widows deserted and abused by their families. She was also instrumental in establishing ‘Kripa Sadan’ and ‘Sharda Sadan’ to provide housing, education, vocational training and medical services to widows, orphans and blinds.

Nawab Begum Sultan Kaikhusrau Jahan

A notable and progressive Begum of Bhopal, Nawab Begum Sultan Kaikhusrau Jahan (9 July 1858 ? 12 May 1930) was active in founding several important educational institutions in the state to provide free and compulsory primary education to all in 1918.

She had established many technical institutes and schools with a special focus on female education. As a great contributor to the world of education, she, from 1920 until her death, was the founding Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.

With the prime focus on women education, she had supported Mohammad Girls School of Aligarh started by Sheikh Abdullah (Papa Min). She was also a great resource person in funding for the development of a proper curriculum for women education.

Durgabai Deshmukh

After participating in the Non Co-operation Movement, Durgabai Deshmukh (15 July 1909-9 May 1981) propagated the ideals of Gandhiji and established schools to give training to women in spinning and weaving in the villages around Rajahmundry and Kakinada.

She was instrumental in establishing Andhra Mahila Sabha in 1936 to coach young Telugu girls of Madras city to appear for the Matriculation examination of the Banaras Hindu University. Andhra Mahila Sabha eventually became a great institute to train women in various activities such as nursing, journalism, and teaching.

Begum Zafar Ali

Being the first Woman Matriculate of Kashmir in 1930, Begum Zafar Ali (1900?1999)) was an educationist, women’s liberation activist, social worker and lawmaker.

Begum Zafar Ali, who had served as Head Mistress of various schools in different districts of the Valley, had also started the movement for women’s emancipation.

She was the source of inspiration for many girls and had served in various capacities in the department of education, including principal of various schools, Education Officer, Chief Education Officer, Chief Inspectress Schools in Kashmir.

Mary Braganza

An Indian Catholic nun, Mary Braganza, is an educationist, social worker, writer and a promoter of developmental education.

As a great contributor to the field of education, Braganza has initiated several educational and social projects and has founded Bhabha Institute of Science, a division of the college for science education up to graduate level and started new departments for Sociology, Psychology and Biochemistry.