Urban-rural divide in women's education is fast disappearing

Women today are intrinsically motivated

82-Dr-Vidya-Yeravdekar Dr Vidya Yeravdekar

I have always felt immense pride in being an Indian. But now, when I see women progressing in the field of education and becoming more empowered every day, I feel even more proud.

As per statistics, the rate of literacy among women is 70.3 per cent. Over the years, I have noticed that more women are coming to the forefront. This is because they are intrinsically motivated and are driven to perform well in all fields. Another remarkable aspect is that the massive divide that existed between urban and rural women is quickly disappearing. Earlier, urban women were self-reliant or entrepreneurs, but the present scenario is different, as even rural women are finding their place in society. The government plays a significant role in this area as it encourages rural women to participate in governance through its many schemes, whether it is in the gram panchayats, the state assemblies, or even the Central government.

Even our social structure has been changing. Parents want to educate their daughters and make them independent and empowered. There are instances where even people from lower-income groups save money to send their daughters to good schools and private colleges. Earlier, such expenditures would only be incurred for the sons; parents would wait for the daughters to turn 18 and then marry them into a better household.

Across various strata of society, the education of women has become an important aspect. People have understood that if the daughter is educated and empowered, she can empower the family into which she is married, and thus the next generation.

We, at Symbiosis, have always believed in and encouraged women's empowerment. At the Symbiosis Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, many women from the villages neighbouring Lavale are taught how to start their businesses. They are supported in skill enhancement and initial funding. Apart from this, we run a research programme for women's empowerment with Deakin University, Australia. We also work closely with the NITI Aayog for women's empowerment.

Symbiosis's most laudable effort for women's empowerment has been the Symbiosis Medical College for Women. It is the first-ever private college in India that is only for women. However, out of the large number of girls who take up medicine, only a dismal 17 per cent continue to practise. To prevent this, Dr S.B. Mujumdar, the founder of Symbiosis, established the college. We feel so happy to see 150 girls walk into it every year.

I grew up in an environment that breathes women's empowerment. My parents have always motivated, encouraged, and supported my sister Swati and me to become capable and independent. I hope that we have been able to fulfil our parents' wishes. At the same time, I also wish that more women pursue education, as it is the only route to true empowerment.

Dr Vidya Yeravdekar is pro chancellor, Symbiosis International (deemed university).