Role of Women Educators in Shaping Indian Education

 Women have been an inevitable part of the Indian education system. Certainly, all of us have that one teacher in our life, whom we can still associate as our “Favourite Ma’am”.

Role of Women Educators: Celebrating their Impact on Education in India

A woman is an embodiment of an enigmatic motherly aura. This demeanour aligns them as teachers all the more into this profession. Their gentle disposition charms the students’ hearts and minds.

On this Women’s Day, we dedicate this blog post to the Women Educators out there who have touched upon the lives of their pupils. From shaping young minds to driving educational reforms, women, in several ways, have played a vital role in nurturing generations of learners and fostering an inclusive learning environment.

The Backbone of Indian Education: Women as Teachers

Did you know that about 70% of teachers in India are women? That’s a big number! Think about it, when you were in school, who was that one teacher who always had your back? Chances are, it was a woman.

Women make up a part of the teaching staff, in India playing a role in the educational system of the country. The dedication of women educators to the profession of teaching is evident through their presence in classrooms nationwide. These female teachers impact students’ lives by serving as mentors, caregivers, and inspirations alongside their role, as educators.

Inspiring Inclusion on International Women’s Day 2024

The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. It is based upon the idea of recognizing the invaluable contributions of women to the Indian education system. It resonates strongly with the role of women in the Indian education system. Women educators have a unique opportunity to create an inclusive learning environment that celebrates diversity, challenges gender stereotypes, and promotes equal opportunities for all students.

Let us honour the contributions of women to the Indian education system this Women’s Day. We must acknowledge their role in materializing the thought of having an inclusive and equitable learning environment. We should fortify the prowess of women educators. It can be done by investing in their empowerment and providing equal opportunities. Eventually, this will help in fostering an inclusive culture and accelerate progress towards a more just and equitable society.

Why Are There More Women Educators in India?

The reasons behind the high representation of women in the teaching profession are multifaceted. Let’s break down a few fundamental reasons that play the role of major determinant.

  • Accommodating Diversity: Firstly, by actively incorporating diverse perspectives, celebrating cultural differences, and addressing gender-based biases in curriculum and teaching practices, women educators can foster an atmosphere of respect, understanding, and inclusivity.
  • Empathy: Emotions like compassion and empathy are associated with women. They are known for being gentle and compassionate. Their ability to empathize and connect with students from diverse backgrounds enables them to identify and address potential barriers to learning, ensuring that no student is left behind.
  • Role Models: Additionally, women educators can serve as powerful role models for young girls, inspiring them to pursue their dreams, challenge societal norms, and become agents of change themselves. By witnessing accomplished women in leadership roles within the education system, girls can envision a future where gender is not a limiting factor, but rather a source of strength and empowerment.

However, the impact of women teachers extends far beyond the confines of the classroom. By embodying values of empathy, patience, and inclusivity, they create an environment where students feel valued and encouraged to express themselves freely. Their ability to connect with students on a personal level fosters a sense of belonging and promotes an inclusive learning culture.

Why is Teaching Considered a Balanced Profession for Women Educators?

Historically, teaching has been perceived as a suitable career choice for women, aligning with societal expectations and allowing them to balance professional and familial responsibilities. Additionally, the nurturing nature often associated with women has made them well-suited for the role of educators, guiding students through their academic and personal growth.

Investing in Women: Accelerating Progress in Education and Society

The overarching theme for International Women’s Day 2024, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” resonates deeply in the Indian context. It holds immense relevance in India, where empowering women educators not only transforms the education landscape but also paves the way for a more inclusive and progressive society. Through targeted investments and support systems, India can unlock the full potential of women educators as catalysts for educational reforms and societal advancement.

Empowering women educators is pivotal for societal advancement. In India, women like Savitribai Phule and Annie Besant have been trailblazers in education, setting the stage for a more inclusive and equitable learning environment.

Savitribai Phule, India’s first female teacher, challenged norms by advocating for girls’ education in the 19th century, laying a foundation for future educational reforms.

“I believe that education is the key to every woman’s liberation” – Savitribai Phule

Investing in women educators in India goes beyond just providing equal opportunities; it is about recognizing their potential as change agents. For instance, Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the Indian Police Service, has not only excelled in her career but has also championed educational reforms through initiatives like prison education and community policing.

By supporting women educators with access to leadership roles and professional development opportunities, India can harness their innovative teaching methods to cater to diverse learning needs.

Moreover, investing in women’s education is a catalyst for broader societal progress. Educated women are more likely to contribute to economic growth and make informed decisions that benefit their families and communities. 

Rukmini Devi Arundale‘s contributions to arts education exemplify how educated women can influence cultural development and inspire future generations.

These women serve as role models, inspiring young girls across India to pursue education and break barriers.

Women’s Contribution to Reforming Education System

Let’s remember some of the most notable women in India who played instrumental roles in reforming the education system in India. Here are some eminent names along with their key contributions:

Savtribai Phule established first school

Savitribai Phule (1831-1897): She established one of the first schools for girls in India in 1848, defying societal norms and paving the way for women’s education. Worked towards ending practices like child marriage and advocated for widow remarriage.

Fatima Sheikh (1831-1878): Co-founded the first secular school for Muslim girls in Mumbai in 1846, breaking barriers for Muslim women’s education. She also campaigned for women’s rights and fought against societal prejudices against female education.


Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922): Ramabai pioneered the movement for women’s education and empowerment in 19th century India. She also founded Mukti Mission in 1889, which provided shelter and education to widows and other destitute women.

Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880-1932): Established the Sakhawat Memorial Girls’ School in 1911, one of the earliest schools for Muslim women in Bengal. Advocated for women’s education and rights through her writings and activism.

Women Educator: Sarala Devi ChaudhuraniAnasuya Sarabhai (1885-1972): Established the Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (ATIRA) in 1947, which provided vocational training to women. She played a crucial role in promoting women’s education and empowerment in Gujarat.

Sarala Devi Chaudhurani (1872-1945): Founded the Bharat Stree Mahamandal in 1910, an organization dedicated to promoting women’s education and social reforms. Worked towards the upliftment of widows and advocated for women’s rights.

These pioneering women faced immense societal challenges and opposition but persevered in their efforts to reform the education system and empower women through education, ultimately paving the way for generations of Indian women to access education and opportunities.

Relevant Role of Women Educators: Real Questions & Concerns 

If we delve deep, we come across some genuine questions that need to be addressed. These questions are:

  • Are women really the backbone of Indian education? Isn’t that just a cliché?
  • Even if there are many women teachers, do they actually have a voice in shaping the system?
  • What’s stopping more women from taking up leadership roles in education?

To put it one by one, we can say that yes it’s true that women indeed are the backbone of the Indian education system, this is not based on assumptions, just look at the numbers. Almost 50% of teachers across India’s schools are women. And in states like Kerala and Mizoram, women make up over 80% of the teaching force!

That Unique Factor Which Makes Women Educators Special

But it’s not just about numbers – women teachers bring something special. Here are five unique factors that make women teachers special:

  1. NURTURING INSTINCT: Women often possess a natural inclination towards nurturing and caring, which can be beneficial in creating a warm and supportive learning environment for students. This nurturing instinct can foster a sense of security and encourage students to engage more actively in the learning process.
    As Rajeshwari, a veteran teacher from Chennai puts it, “A woman’s nurturing touch is essential for a child’s holistic development.” You can see this playing out in classrooms across India. Like the story of Ranjitham Mani from Tamil Nadu, whose innovative methods and mother-like affection transformed a failing school.
  2. MULTI-TASKING ABILITIES: Women are generally adept at juggling multiple tasks simultaneously, which can be advantageous in the classroom setting. A woman teacher may be skilled at managing various classroom activities. These are attending to individual student needs, and maintaining an orderly learning environment, all while delivering effective instruction.
  3. EMPATHETIC COMMUNICATION: Women are often known for their strong empathetic communication skills, which can aid in building meaningful connections with students. A woman teacher’s ability to actively listen, understand students’ perspectives, and communicate compassionately can contribute to a positive and inclusive classroom culture.
  4. ROLE MODELING: In many societies, women teachers serve as role models for young girls, demonstrating that women can pursue careers in education and leadership roles. This representation can inspire and motivate young female students to pursue their aspirations and challenge societal norms or stereotypes.
  5. COLLABORATIVE APPROACH: Women tend to embrace a more collaborative approach in their professional endeavours. In the context of education, this collaborative mindset can foster teamwork among colleagues, facilitate open dialogues, and encourage a shared responsibility for student success within the school community.

THE BARRIERS & CHALLENGES for Women Educators – Some Examples

Although we can see there are so many female teachers, they are not often seen in top leadership roles. What could be the possible reason? It’s not that they lack ability; rather, it’s that they encounter several obstacles. These barriers are in the form of gender stereotypes and lack of growth opportunities.

Shayama Chona, the former Delhi principal, mentored thousands of underprivileged girls to dream big. Yet too few women rise to leadership roles that could amplify their impact.

Imagine wanting to be the principal of your school, but feeling like there’s a glass ceiling stopping you. That’s the reality for many women in education. They often struggle with things like unequal pay, limited chances for training, and balancing work with family responsibilities. It’s not easy!

Sexist attitudes and lack of support systems remain barriers. Nidhi Bansal, a young teacher in Lucknow laments: “There’s this assumption that we can’t handle the extra responsibilities.”

That needs to change if we want an education system truly shaped by women’s wisdom and lived experiences.

Like Dr. Darlie Koshy, ex-director of NCERT, always pushed:

“Give women decision-making power – that’s true gender inclusion.”

Invest in Women Educators: Upgrade for the Optimum 

We can unlock women’s full potential as change agents by investing on them. This investment is not limited to economic investment but also emotional and social. We can do so by providing them with equitable opportunities for professional development, leadership prospects, and a supportive work environment. Strong, female educators play a crucial role in transforming education. They have the acumen to question the established pedagogies. They also suggest introducing cutting-edge techniques tailored to diverse student needs.

Investing in women’s education is a powerful catalyst for societal progress. Educated women are more likely to bring positive change in the society. They may join the workforce, contribute to economic growth, and make informed decisions benefiting their families and communities. They serve as inspiring role models for younger generations, motivating them to pursue their aspirations and overcome barriers.

How Can Examin8 Help Women Educators?

This Women’s Day we are celebrating the invaluable contributions of Women Educators. They have been instrumental everywhere from establishing schools for girls to advocating for social reforms and empowering marginalized communities through education. Explore the inspiring stories of trailblazers like Savitribai Phule, Fatima Sheikh, and Begum Rokeya, who defied societal norms to pave the way for women’s education in India.

We covered the following points in detail:

  • Women as the Backbone of Indian Education
  • Challenges Women Face in Shaping the System
  • Barriers to Women Taking up Leadership Roles

As an Edtech we provide solutions related to education. Our platform called Examin8 is a complete assessment and learning management solution. It can help schools and Coaching Institutes create question papers and conduct exams online in minutes.

We hope our platform if utilized for good, may help women educators in better planning and time management.