Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani has directed central universities to consider establishing on-campus working women’s hostels with government funding. Seven universities have already submitted proposals in response to this initiative. The proposal, jointly presented by the Ministry of Labour, the Women and Child Development Ministry, and the Ministry of Education, seeks additional support for central universities to build hostels exclusively for working women on university premises.
Irani emphasized the importance of addressing the housing needs of working women pursuing higher studies. She expressed optimism that the joint proposal would secure additional assistance from the Ministry of Education, enabling central universities to create affordable accommodation options for this specific demographic. Irani anticipates an increase in university submissions in the coming weeks, aiming for full infrastructural support from the Women and Child Development Ministry, potentially with contributions from state governments.
Beyond the accommodation initiative, Irani highlighted a 99% increase in the number of women pursuing PhD programs. She attributed this growth to the flexibility introduced by credit mobility within academic structures, facilitated by the new education policy. This policy supports learning in mother tongues and provides a framework for credit mobility, positively impacting women’s participation in higher education.
Irani also underscored the rising role of women in emerging industries, citing the electric vehicle (EV) sector as an example. In 2023, the EV industry sold approximately 1.5 million electric vehicles, with women constituting 30% of the workforce. Irani sees potential for further female engagement in the EV industry, particularly in segments such as vehicle design, battery recharge, and ancillary sectors. She encouraged women to explore opportunities in technology-based industries, expressing hope for increased female employment and entrepreneurship in these sectors. Irani concluded by envisioning a future where emerging technology-based industries become key employment avenues for women.