Social Scientist. v 5, no. 49 (Aug 1976) p. 3.


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A R KAMAT

Women5 s Education and Social Change in India

STUDENTS OF social history have observed that the education which a society provides for its women and their social position are closely interrelated. Improvement in women's social status is generally accompanied by advance in their education and a corresponding change in its character. That is why ^the movement for improving women's status all over the world has always emphasized education as the most significant instrument for changing women's subjugated position in society." x

It is well known that in pre- and early-British India there was a fairly widespread system of indigenous education. It was mostly confined to males of the Brahmin and higher castes among Hindus and of privileged non-Hindu minority groups. This is not to say that literate or educated women there were none. Their number was very small. There was no organized provision for educating women. What little learning few of them picked up was acquired within the family circle.>a

The beginnings of modern education of women in India can be traced to the schools started by missionaries in the early years of the last century. Indian social reformers who belonged to the first western-educated generation realized the importance of women's education and made pioneering efforts for opening schools for girls. It should be noted^ however, that under the pretext of strict social and religious neutrality



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