The Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad organized the sixth Annual Savitribai Phule Memorial Lecture on the topic “Savitribai Phule and Women’s Education in India: Retrospect and Prospect” by Prof. Sonajharia Minz, the Vice-Chancellor of Sido Kanhu Murmu University, Dumka, Jharkhand, on Monday, the 3rd of January, via the Google Meet platform.

Prof. N. Manimekalai, the Head and Director of the Department of Women’s Studies from Bharathidasan University, chaired the event. Prof. K. Suneetha Rani, the Head of Centre for Women’s Studies, welcomed the speakers and the audience by wishing a thoughtful, progressive and transformative Teachers Day on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule. She introduced the purpose of organising the lecture series by explaining the relevance and importance of Savitribai Phule’s life and work. Previously Prof. S. Anandhi (2014), Prof. Meera Velayudhan (2015), Flavia Agnes (2016), Dr Rekha Raj (2017) and V. Geetha (2018) delivered Savitribai Phule memorial lectures organised by the Centre for Women’s Studies. Prof. B. J. Rao, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, greeted the guests and paid his tributes to Savitribai Phule. Prof. K. Suneetha Rani introduced the Chair, Prof. N. Manimekalai and requested her to conduct the proceedings. Prof. N. Manimekalai introduced the occasion and the speaker and invited Prof. Minz to deliver the memorial lecture. Welcomed the speakers and the audience, introduced.

Prof. Sonajharia began saying that she would like to call the day of Savitribai Phule’s Birth Anniversary the day of acknowledgement of Savitribai Phule’s contribution to our present and the future. She recalled the collaborative efforts of Savitribai Phule and Joytirao Phule in transforming contemporary society towards equality and equity. Prof. Minz emphasised that literacy is one thing, but education is inspirational. Historicising the contemporary situation of women in education, she referred to the census reports to understand how there has been a rise of women in education. However, she emphasised the need to study policies rather than mere statistics to bring out the outcome that we have today. Although she noted the progression of women’s participation, the journey she states is miles to go. She questioned the nominal share given to women in Higher Education and leadership. She reiterated the need to understand the exclusion women are subjected to in Science, policymaking and implementation. She stated that the struggle would have to continue, and the efforts should extend to the inclusion of women from the margins of the marginal. She concluded on a note of hope, asserting that the future is ours if we work towards it. 

Prof. Manimekalai, in her concluding remarks, brought in her personal experiences and testimonies from the women’s movement. She recalled that though the participation of women in higher education in Tamil Naidu is significant, women are prevented from accessing better opportunities and a better future. Remembering Savitribai Phule and her efforts to bring women from various caste locations together, she called for solidarity and intersectional women’s movements. Gaikwad Prajwal Chandrakant, a doctoral student of the Centre for Women’s Studies, proposed the Vote of Thanks. The lecture was attended by students and teachers of University of Hyderabad as well other universities from across the country.


Contributed by Gaikwad Prajwal Chandrakant (Ph.D. scholar, Centre for Women’s Studies)

The Video link of the lecture is below: