Role of Women as Educators & How they’re Making a Difference by Leading the Way5 minute
"When girls are educated, their countries become stronger & more prosperous” - Michelle Obama.
As we celebrate the accomplishments of women across the country, we have to agree that female educators have played a crucial role in women empowerment. They have worked day in, day out towards a better future for the world. They have achieved numerous feats in areas including technology, politics, entrepreneurship and most importantly, education.
In the majority of the schools across the country, you will find female educators who have taught, moulded, inspired and influenced several students. They say that behind every successful man, there’s a woman. However, we believe that behind every successful person, is their teacher.
In a country where girls are denied basic education, women educators are promoting gender equality and contributing to the overall development of a child. Besides being catalysts of empowerment, female educators are also forerunners of change.
Did you know? Of the 80 million teachers worldwide, more than half are female.
Role of Female Educators in Women Empowerment
Teachers are an integral part of a school. For an educational program to be effective, it is important for a teacher to be skilled and possess the required expertise. Beyond delivering everyday lessons, it is also necessary for a teacher to be an active promoter of gender equality. While nurturing a child’s talent, interests and creativity are vital, it is also necessary that a teacher transmits and implants social, cultural and economic values in a student.
Here’s how female educators are cultivators of women empowerment:
The role of women in education cannot be underestimated. Studies reveal that girls are driven to come to school if their teacher is a woman, especially in rural areas and remote villages. Parents too feel confident to send their girl children to school which is inhabited by female teachers. A major reason behind this is that beyond academic excellence, female teachers involve themselves with overall development. Young girls feel comfortable opening up to their teachers.
Advisors & Role Models
For years, teachers have been considered as role models and advisors. In primary schools and lower grades, having female educators is important as they can give their students motherly care, listen to their problems and concerns, and be there for them during times of crisis.
When girls hit puberty, they go through numerous mood swings and often feel intimidated to open up to their parents. During such times, women teachers are the best advocates. They can put in a word with the school to offer better toilet and washing facilities, which will further encourage students to actively participate in school even when they are menstruating.
In India, female educators are in a better position to represent a girl child’s perspectives and needs, and create an inclusive environment that will promote learning.
Positive Impact of Girls’ Retention
Female educators have a positive impact on student achievement. It also affects their retention in school. A woman knows the importance of education in the society today. Therefore, she is most likely to support and encourage young girls to successfully complete their education.
In certain cases where the parents are hesitant to send their children to school, a lot of accomplished female educators have gone door-to-door especially in rural areas to convince them. Also, with female staff appointed at schools, girls feel protected from becoming victims of sexual abuse or exploitation.
Therefore, the role of a woman as an educator is not restricted to only her job. They are active conduits of information and change.
Women’s Day 2021: 5 Inspiring & Influential Female Educators of India
As we celebrate the achievements of women in the education sector, let’s look at a few revolutionary women who have come a long way in encouraging, supporting and facilitating change. Their contribution and work are such that they can never be forgotten. They are literally epitomes of women power.
1. Savitribai Phule
The first female teacher in India who was forbidden to receive a formal education went on to become the most influential educator of all time. Beyond academic excellence, Savitribai Phule is known for improving the status of women in Indian society. Her husband Jyotirao Phule, gave her primary school education at home and also enrolled her in two teacher training programs. Besides being an educationalist, she was also a social reformer and poet from Maharashtra. She worked immensely hard to abolish discrimination and unfair treatment of people especially women.
2. Vimla Kaul
After turning 60, most people look at retiring but this woman defied all stereotypes and continued teaching even at the age of 83. Vimla Kaul has been an educator all her life. She teaches unprivileged children in her school-cum-learning centre and lives her life to the fullest. As a keen advocate of women empowerment, she always wanted to do something exceptional for society. Therefore, she decided to teach girls from the slums and backward areas. Her school is named Guldasta and students are taught Math, English, Science, Computers, Environmental Science and extra-curricular activities including Yoga and dance. Despite getting no support or encouragement from society, she continues giving kids the childhood they deserve.
3. Geeta Dharmarajan
A Padma Shri awardee, educator and writer, Geeta Dharamrajan is recognised for her non-profit organisation that she founded in 1988 called Katha. It focuses on educating children specially from poor families. What started off as a one-woman establishment has today become a full-fledged school. It is run for underprivileged children in over 252 slums in Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana and Maharashtra.
Besides accomplishing great feats in the education sector, Geeta is also known for her children’s magazine – Tamasha. Through colourful illustrations and stories, she teaches students about women empowerment, health and the environment.
Most of Geeta’s students today have gone on to pursue professions such as engineering, medicine and teaching.
4. Ashwini Doddalingannavar
A resident of the Gadag district in Karnataka, Ashwini has fought against all odds to help rural girls acquire the skills needed to secure meaningful employment. Belonging to a farmer family, this 25-year-old completed her primary and secondary education at government school in her village.
Instead of investing in her education, her parents wanted her to get married. However, she went against their plans and instead went on to join the Deshpande Foundation at Hubballi. She completed a course in technical skill development.
She is currently working as an Implementation Associate with Meghshala Trust, an online education portal in Bangalore. Her aim is to help government schools adapt to new and innovative methods of teaching using technology.
Ashwini makes field visits to close to 25 schools per month, works closely with teachers and trains them on leveraging digital methods to train students. Even during the pandemic, she continued her training sessions as online classes became the norm.
5. Uma Pathak
Uma was born into a household where she was always taught to put others before herself. At a very young age, she understood the importance of giving.
A resident of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, and sister of Paytm founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Uma is a social entrepreneur who envisions a country where every child gets access to quality higher education.
Her aim is to uplift poverty-stricken children through her organisation named SPS Foundation. Some of the key areas the foundation tackles include education, food, hygiene and sanitation. Uma has also undertaken several government schools and college renovation projects to make them more self-sufficient and better equipped in order to provide a safe learning environment for children.
In one of her interviews, she also mentioned that she wants to keep working until she can impact as many people as possible.
These female educators in India not just reached out to students to address their needs but also made a positive difference. There are many such inspiring women who have gone down in history for their achievements. There are no two thoughts about the fact that the future is FEMALE.