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History of Women's Education in India

  • Date Submitted: 12/19/2011 08:16 PM
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History of women’s education – From the Vedas to the Independence
Women in India have experienced various statuses since the birth of civilization. Over the past millennium, Indian women have been struggling for equal rights, opportunities and importance as men. The millennium long battle for equality makes India’s history all the more eventful and intriguing, as women weren’t always at the bottom of the totem pole.

The Vedic Period
In ancient India, during the Early Vedic period, women were equal to men. They used to make pivotal decisions and were allowed educate themselves. Women would also choose their own husbands through the ancient system of “Swayamvara”. A woman was respected and given due importance in society in ancient India.
Women’s education was also vital during this period. The Vedas stressed on the importance of female intellectuals and importance. This made access to education easy for the women. The prevalence of Women’s education in ancient India gave rise to brilliant seers and thinkers such as Gargi and Maitreyi. These intellectuals raised the reputation of women by participating in educational debates and discussions among other intellectuals.
Gargi was a prominenent figure in ancient society beside men such as Uddalaka Arni. In the Vedic period, the educational system was very developed and the main subject taught was the Veda. The Veda, or the sic Vedangas, were taught including the performance of sacrifice, correct pronunciation, knowledge of prosody, etymology, grammar, and jyotisha or the science of calendar.

The education of women in ancient India produced several women with significant authority. Ancient Indian texts describe the influence of women in society. For instance, Mahabharata by Veda Vyasa shows the persuasion of Draupadi on the husbands to throw the Kauravas. Also, Ramayana by Valmiki depicts the influence of Sita that resulted in Ravana’s defeat. Regardless of whether or not these Ancient Indian texts depict what...

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