Top 5 Powerful Women in Education & Their Contribution | Varthana

5 Powerful Females in Education

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5 Powerful Females in Education

Without women, the planet and humanity’s existence are incomplete as a civilization. The world continually yearns for the comprehensiveness that women naturally possess as creators.

India has been fortunate enough to produce many remarkable women in various disciplines, including art, literature, and science. Some of them have made significant contributions to the educational landscape. Their efforts have motivated women of all generations to fight for their legal entitlement to education and contribute to society’s betterment.

Importance of Females in Our Lives

Females play an essential role in our lives. They are the backbone of society, nurturing families as mothers, sisters, and daughters, while also contributing significantly to society – economically and politically. Their empathy, resilience, and strength are invaluable, and their contributions extend beyond traditional roles, breaking barriers in every field. They are into the following roles and many more:

  • Nurturing Families: Females often serve as primary caregivers, providing love, care, and emotional support.
  • Economic Contribution: Many women work and contribute to economic growth and development.
  • Social Impact: Women often lead social change, advocating for rights and equality.
  • Education: Educated women contribute to a more knowledgeable society and inspire future generations.
  • Leadership: Women leaders bring diverse perspectives, nurturing inclusive decision-making.
  • Resilience: Women often demonstrate incredible resilience in the face of adversity, serving as role models of strength.

Role of Influential Females in Education

Influential females play a pivotal role in our education system by serving as role models, mentors, and leaders. They are always inspiring and empowering students. Women educators and administrators bring diverse perspectives and approaches to teaching, promoting inclusive learning environments that address the needs of all students. With their presence, they are challenging traditional gender norms and demonstrating that leadership and expertise are not confined by gender. Influential females in education support policies and practices that promote gender equity, ensuring that both boys and girls receive the support they need to succeed. They mentor young women, encouraging them to pursue careers in various fields, including those traditionally dominated by men. By highlighting the achievements of women in history, science, literature, and other areas, these females help break stereotypes and broaden students’ horizons. The impact of influential females extends beyond academic success, as they also instil confidence, resilience, and a sense of possibility in the next generation, contributing to a more equitable and just society.

This article provides insight into the lives of these exceptional women who overcame all obstacles to make a significant impact.

Influential Women in Education #1: Savitribai Phule 

Influential Women in Education: Savitribai Phule
Image source: Twitter/Haryana_YC

Savitribai Phule was a Maharashtrian poet, educator, and social reformer who made significant contributions to the advancement of women’s rights in India.

Personal life of Savitribai

Born on January 3, 1831, in the Maharashtra village of Naigaon in the Satara District, Savitribai Phule was raised by Lakshmi and Khandoji Nevase Patil, both belonging to the Mali Community. She had three siblings. At the age of nine or ten, Savitribai married Jyotirao Phule, who was thirteen at the time. Savitribai and Jyotirao did not have any biological children of their own but are said to have adopted a Brahmin widow’s son named Yashawantrao.

Education and Career of Savitribai

Savitribai was illiterate when she got married, but Jyotirao educated her and his cousin’s sister, Sagunabai Shirsagar, in their home while also working on their farm. Jyotirao was responsible for her primary education, while his friends Keshav Shivram Bhavalkar and Sakharam Yeshwant Paranjpe were in charge of her secondary education. Savitribai also participated in two teacher-training programs, one at a Pune Normal School and the other at a center run by American missionary Cynthia Farrar in Ahmednagar. Given her education, Savitribai may have been India’s first female teacher and headmistress.

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Contributions of Savitribai in Education

Savitribai was an extraordinary person who became the country’s first female educator.

Acknowledging the historical lack of access to education for women, particularly in Indian society, makes her contribution even more remarkable. Despite obstacles such as the caste system and male dominance, Savitribai paved the way for women in India to pursue formal education. She founded the first-ever school for women in India with the help of her husband and her unrelenting efforts to promote equal education for all.

Her story inspired a generation of Indian women to pursue higher education.

Legacy of Savitribai

Savitribai Phule is the inspiration for the Savitribai Phule University in Pune, which upholds the tradition of offering comprehensive education. The country honors Savitribai Phule for her outstanding contributions to education and societal change. By her actions, Savitribai Phule dispelled many stereotypes and became a living example of what women could achieve with education and determination.

Also Read: How Zeal School is improving English proficiency in rural students

Influential Women in Education #2: Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori
Image source: Indian Montessori Foundation

Another powerful women who contributed in education and marked their presence is Maria Montessori. She was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator widely known for her educational method that builds on how children learn naturally.

Personal life of Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was born on August 31, 1870, in the Italian village of Chiaravalle. Her father worked as a financial controller for a government-run business, while her mother was well-educated and a voracious reader, uncommon traits for Italian women at the time. Growing up in a home that valued education, young Maria developed the same zeal for learning and immersed herself in various academic disciplines before coming up with the educational strategy that bears her name. She spent her entire early life in Rome, attending prestigious schools, museums, and libraries.

Education and career of Maria Montessori

Maria excelled in school and challenged gender norms fearlessly. She began preparing for an engineering career at the age of 13 by enrolling in an all-boys technical school, but later decided to become a doctor.

Initially unsuccessful in her attempt to enroll in the University of Rome’s medical school, Maria attended additional courses to better prepare herself for admission. Her perseverance helped future female professionals in the sector by widening the door. In 1896, Maria became one of the first female physicians in Italy upon completing medical school. She initially focused on psychiatry but later developed an interest in education, attending classes on pedagogy and immersing herself in educational theory.

Contributions of Maria Montessori in the field of Education

Maria devoted the remainder of her life to furthering her student-centered educational philosophy in the Montessori Method. She worked hard to spread the Montessori educational philosophy, and her followers did the same.

She was a prominent feminist voice in Italy and internationally, actively promoting women’s rights. She constantly wrote and spoke about the need for more possibilities for women. Under challenging circumstances, Maria remained true to her principles. Her personal experience with political unrest and violence led her to include peace education in the Montessori curriculum. However, she had little control over how she would react to world events. When hostilities between Italy and Great Britain started in 1940, Maria was on vacation in India and was compelled to spend the rest of the war in exile. She used the opportunity to instruct teachers on her methodology there.

Legacy of Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori is the most accomplished female in education. She created the Montessori Method of education, a child-centered academic approach that emphasizes independent learning and encourages students to explore their interests. Unlike other approaches to child development, her approach saw unanticipated benefits throughout testing. 

Influential Women in Education #3: Roshini Mukherji

Roshini Mukherji
Image source:100womenindia.blogspot.com

Those who don’t know, Roshini Mukherji is the Founder and Educator of Learnohub (formerly Exam fear), a social entrepreneur, Edutuber, and President awardee. LearnoHub is a free learning platform that has been delivering quality educational content for more than a decade, making education affordable and accessible to every child in the country.

Personal life of Roshini Mukherji

Roshni is from the little Jharkhand city of Dhanbad. She was raised in a middle-class Bengali family and always yearned to pursue education and a meaningful job. Roshni’s parents, who were of modest means, constantly supported her and ensured that she received the best education they could afford. Roshni married a Software Engineer and they both have a cute little daughter. 

Education and career of Roshini Mukherji

Roshini graduated from Hansraj College in Delhi with a Bachelor of Science in Physics in 2006. She then obtained an M.Sc. in Physics from Delhi University in 2008. Following the completion of her Master’s degree, she enrolled at Bangalore’s Indian Institute of Management in 2018. While pursuing her education, she worked in the IT department to support her family’s finances.

Roshini had long since desired to offer free instruction to students. In 2011, she launched her YouTube channel with the sole motive to guide and motivate students for their exams and career. After receiving a lot of favorable feedback, she quit her job and started a full-time profession making free educational videos on YouTube.

Contributions of Roshini Mukherji in the world of education

While working at Wipro, Roshini rediscovered her love for teaching and became more aware of the shortcomings of the educational system. Therefore, she launched the Examfear YouTube channel in 2011. She began offering free lectures on topics like physics, chemistry, and math to kids in grades 9 through 12.

She realized she had found her calling when she started receiving a lot of praise from students around the nation. After reaching over 70,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, she left her IT position at Hewlett Packard to concentrate on her business.

Today, Roshini’s Examfear has changed into Learnohub, where she offers top-notch instruction to students nationwide for no cost. Her software engineer husband participated in the website’s development through outsourcing and managed an independent internet business.

Roshini Mukherji’s story is an inspiration for all those who want to make a positive impact on society. She has shown that with dedication, hard work, and a passion for teaching, anyone can make a difference in the lives of others.

Influential Women in Education #4: Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai
Image source: United Nations

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani female education activist and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Personal life of Malala Yousafzai

Born on July 12, 1997, in the Swat District of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Yousafzai was raised in a lower-middle-class household. Her parents, Toor Pekai and Ziauddin Yousafzai, belong to the Pashtun Sunni Muslim clan from the Yusufzai tribe. They named her Malala, meaning “grief-stricken,” after the Pashtun poet and warrior Malalai of Maiwand. She lived with her parents, two younger brothers, Khushal and Atal, and two hens in Mingora.

Education and career of Malala Yousafzai

Yousafzai attended the all-girls Edgbaston High School in Birmingham from March 2013 to July 2017. She applied to several prestigious universities, including Durham University, the University of Warwick, and the London School of Economics. In December 2016, she interviewed at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and received a conditional offer based on her A-Level grades of three As. She began studying philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) at the university in August 2017. In February 2020, she met with climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg during her time at Oxford. Yousafzai announced her graduation with honors in June 2020.

By December 2009, she started to gain a wide reputation for her activities. Desmond Tutu, a human rights activist, put her forward for the International Children’s Peace Prize in October 2011. She received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize in December of that year (later renamed the National Malala Peace Prize).

Contributions of Malala Yousafzai in Education

Yousafzai gained international attention as a teenager for publicly protesting the Tehrik-e-Taliban of Pakistan’s ban on girls attending school. Her activism led to an assassination attempt at the age of 15. In 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on children’s rights.

She has authored several books, including the memoir “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” in 2013 and the children’s picture book “Malala’s Magic Pencil” in 2017. In 2014, Yousafzai received the Liberty Medal for her work advocating for freedom and equality for all people.

Influential Women in Education #5: Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama
Image source: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Michelle Obama is an American attorney and author who served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is also the wife of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Born as Michelle LaVaughn Robinson on January 17, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois, Michelle was the first African American First Lady.

Personal life of Michelle Obama

Michelle Robinson grew up on Chicago’s South Side as the daughter of Marian Robinson, a homemaker, and Frasier Robinson, a worker at the city’s water-purification facility. In 1992, she married Barack Obama, and together they have two daughters.

Education and career of Michelle Obama

Obama is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Princeton University. She met her husband while working at the law firm Sidley Austin early in her professional career. Later, she worked for charities and served as the Vice President for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center. She was also an Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago.

Contributions of Michelle Obama in Education

In 2014, Michelle Obama introduced the ‘Reach Higher Initiative,’ which aims to encourage young people all around America to continue their education after high school, whether at a four-year college or university, a community college, or a professional training program. 

The ‘Let Girls Learn’ program was introduced in 2015 with the aid of Michelle Obama and her husband, focused on assisting adolescent girls in obtaining a quality education that helps them to realize their full potential.

Michelle Obama strongly believes that an educated girl has the power to change her own fate, uplift her family, and improve her community. She also worked to advance the arts and arts education.

As the First Lady, Michelle Obama acted as a strong role model, changing how the rest of the world perceives African-Americans. She not only supported causes related to eradicating poverty and promoting education, nutrition, exercise, and healthy eating, but she also developed into a global style icon because of her excellent public persona and impeccable wardrobe.

Conclusion

Empowering women is essential for the development of any society, state, or nation. Women have a significant impact on a child’s day-to-day life, and our society depends heavily on them. Educational empowerment of women has resulted in a beneficial shift in mentality. These women continue to influence society and work to ensure that everyone has access to education. 

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Read More – A Strong Woman Will Never Let These 10 Things Stand In The Way Of Her Education

FAQs

1. Who is a famous woman in the field of education?

Malala Yousafzai is a renowned woman in education. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, she bravely advocated for girls’ education in Pakistan, facing extreme adversity. Her courage and dedication have inspired many worldwide to support equal access to education

2. What is the power of female education?

The power of female education lies in its ability to transform societies. It not only uplifts women, but also contributes to social, economic, and health outcomes. Educated women are more likely to have healthier families, earn higher incomes, and drive positive change in their communities.

3. How can aspiring educators learn from these powerful females?

Aspiring educators can learn from these powerful females by adopting resilience, supporting equal education, and pursuing excellence in their fields. Their dedication to overcoming obstacles and championing education serves as a model for inspiring and empowering aspiring educators, and promoting inclusive and equitable learning environments.

4. What impact have these powerful females had on global education systems?

Powerful females have greatly impacted global education systems by supporting gender equality, influencing policy changes, and promoting inclusive learning environments. Their leadership and advocacy efforts have increased access to education for marginalized groups, challenged traditional gender roles, and inspired reforms that emphasize the importance of diversity in curricula. By serving as role models and breaking barriers in various fields, they have encouraged young women and men to pursue their interests and careers without limitations. These influential women have helped shape a more equitable and just educational landscape, promoting a culture of empowerment and opportunity for all students.

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