Chennai: “Hey Google, tell me about an inspiring woman.” And Google will tell you about India’s feminist icon Savitribai Phule. An enduring symbol of empowerment of women and oppressed peoples such as Dalits, Phule is one of 12 inspiring women featured on Google Assistant, celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.
Savitribai Phule was the first to set up an Indian girls’ school, in Pune in 1848, along with her husband Jyotirao Phule, and worked to end gender and caste-based discrimination.
She and her husband played a huge role in the social reform of Maharashtra and the education of underprivileged people during a period when Brahmins forbade lower castes, especially Dalits, from being educated.
The couple faced a huge backlash from the Brahmins. Savitribai was routinely pleted with stones and dung by upper caste people opposed to her educating people of the lower caste. However, they soldiered on, and by 1851 had three girls’ schools with a total of 150 students enrolled. In all, they ran 18 schools in their lifetimes.
Other feminist icons that Google Assistant is featuring this month include Dolores Huerta (an American labor rights activist), Savitribai Phule (often called the mother of Indian feminism), Rachel Carson (an American marine biologist, conservationist and author) and Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya (an activist empowering girls to access education in Kenya), the Google blog said.
To know more about inspiring, activate Google Assistant with these commands: “Hey Google, Happy International Women’s Day”, “Hey Google, tell me about an inspiring woman”, “Hey Google, tell me quotes from inspiring women” or “Hey Google, play a podcast about inspirational women”.