–Vibhuti Taneja, Founder, EDcel Consulting
It is said that, when a woman succeeds, she paves the way for a million women to come – and this adage holds particularly true for the field of education in India. Beginning with stalwarts such as Savitribai Phule, Durgabai Deshmukh, Begum Zafar Ali, and Mahadevi Verma, the Indian subcontinent has witnessed the struggles and victories of a long line of female edupreneurs. These women have dared to dream of an identity for women outside of the domestic and familial realm – one of the female student and thinker.
However, while women dominate the teaching profession, their contribution to the very foundation and functioning of the education system remains largely underestimated.
The emotional labor and unpaid care work that women perform for their families, and even within professional settings, are regularly taken for granted. Over time, even skills such as multi-tasking, emotional intelligence, and sensitive communication approaches have been labeled as being ‘inherent’ to women, instead of being viewed as qualities that women are expected and encouraged to develop. As a result, women often bear the burden of facilitating change, and do so in the most unassuming, humble ways.
Women as catalysts of change: When women win, everyone wins
During the pandemic, women have performed multiple roles simultaneously, and the paradigm shift in the functioning of schools and colleges would not have been possible if not for their strong shoulders. If women are playing such an important role in everyday learning, as mothers and as teachers, it is only obvious that entrepreneurship in the field also requires a female perspective to bring about transformations that will make the sector more efficient and equitable.
And women in the EdTech and education consultancy fields have proven this point time and again.
Acknowledging the importance of women’s education, as well as female pioneers in this field, are not important just from a social perspective. Instead, the success of women in education directly drives economic development. On an individual level, an educated woman means an educated family. A mother who is empowered and informed can provide a better environment for the development of her children. It does not come as a surprise, then, that the infant mortality rate has been inversely related to the mother’s educational level in India. Educated women also make better choices about their own lives and futures, which is a much-needed change in our country plagued by child marriages and overpopulation.
Entrepreneurship in education, unfortunately, is still considered a male-dominated field, despite the grassroots work done by female activists and educationists to promote schooling for girls and children in general. Innovation and evolution in any sector require a change in perspective, and identification of existing gaps, along with possible solutions. Women entrepreneurs bring exactly these skills to the table, and are gradually making sure their contribution is etched on the slate of history.
Also read: Empower women through education, says Ansari