Women must be properly educated and given training in skill building so that they could find their rightful place in society. If girls are educated, “angels” will be found everywhere. If all educated girls speak with one voice it will be a great voice.
This was stated by President Pratibha Patil at a function to mark the quasquicentennial celebrations (125 years) of the Isabella Thoburn College, first Christian women's college of Asia, here on Wednesday.
Ms. Patil expressed her deep concern at the rising trend of crimes against women and called upon the law and order enforcing authorities as well as society to create a safe and secure environment for women. She lamented that even as the country entered the 21st century, families were worried about lack of security for their women members. She suggested that girls be taught judo and karate for self-defence. “Self-defence is the best form of defence,” she said.The President noted that in Rajasthan, where she had served as Governor, young girls were inducted in the police.
The social condition of a nation could be gauged by the standing and status of its women. There was a strong correlation between women's education and their overall progress, including their economic development.
Ms. Patil pointed to illiteracy and lack of access to education and deprivation, which have existed along with the success stories of educated women, and felt this should reinforce the commitment to achieve the goal of education for all.
“A paradox of sorts exists as far as women in India are concerned. On the one hand they have proved to undertake all types of missions and works and on the other they faced numerous challenges and discriminations emanating from social prejudices and social evils.”
While expressing dismay at incidents of female foeticide, practice of dowry and the helpless condition of widows, she said these issues needed to be handled by governments and society. Women's empowerment was the need of society and the nation. As the country made progress on gender mainstreaming, more women would become partners in the activities of the nation and society.
The President emphasised a “forward looking and comprehensive approach” to meet the challenges of an “evolving society.”
A special first day cover to mark the 125 years of the Isabella Thoburn College was released by the President. She also unveiled a plaque. Two college publications were released by Governor B.L. Joshi.
The college had a humble beginning. It started off as a small school in a small room in the Aminabad locality here on April 18, 1870. Six girls, whose names are unknown, were its first students.
It became the Lucknow Women's College in July 1886. The institution owes it present name to the first American woman missionary and educationist, Isabella Thoburn.
The college, which is affiliated to the Lucknow University, today has about 4000 students.
Among the alumni are Mohini Giri, Laxmi Menon, Rajmata Vijaye Raje Scindia of Gwalior, Urdu fiction writers, Ismat Chughtai and Quraitullain Hyder, Mumtaz Jaan Haider, the first woman IAS officer, Asha Joshi and Sandhya Sahay.