Workshop on Women in Science, NMKRV College for Women, Jayanagar, Bangalore, 3.3.2017; National Level IQAC Conference on Higher Education of Women in India-Opportunities and Challenges, Bishop Cotton Women’s Christian College, Bangalore, 26.2.2016.
Higher education of women is going to be the game changer for India. Since the independence of our country, though the women literacy rate has grown from leaps and bounds from 22% in 1971 to 67 % in the latest poll, the gap between women and men are still severe. India holds the second position in the world of having the highest population with approximately 49% female in it. Still, large womenfolk of our country are illiterate, poor, backward and exploited. If India has to become a superpower and a developed country by 2020, we cannot neglect the importance of higher education and women empowerment through it. A massive demographic shift in the field of higher education has to happen that will have serious implications on the progress of the country. Many types of research confirm that the key to the economic progress of a country lies in unleashing women’s potential and countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. David Landes, the eminent Harvard historian in his book, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, asserts that one of the key forces behind how the economy of a country will perform is its openness to new ideas. And one of the best gauges of that openness is how a country treats its women. Companies that support women are more profitable than companies that don’t. Kathy Matsui, the renowned top-ranked equity strategist in Japan, conducted groundbreaking research on what she calls “Womenomics” which points to investing in women’s higher education as the key to creating stronger economies and the best investment our generation can make for global peace and sustainable development and is the best strategy for fighting poverty. Mahatma Gandhi once said, if you educate a man you educate a person but if you educate a woman you educate a nation. His words are very meaningful.