Pioneering Women’s Education: India’s First Women’s College Opens Its Doors

Pioneering Women's Education: India's First Women's College Opens Its Doors
Pioneering Women's Education: India's First Women's College Opens Its Doors
Spread the love

Education is a transformative force that empowers individuals and fuels societal progress. In India, the struggle for women’s education has been a remarkable journey. Breaking barriers and defying conventions, the establishment of the first college exclusively for women marked a significant milestone in the history of Indian education. This article explores the inspiring story of India’s First Women’s College highlighting its inception, challenges, and lasting impact on women’s empowerment and the nation’s educational landscape.

Pioneering Women's Education: India's First Women's College Opens Its Doors
Pioneering Women’s Education: India’s First Women’s College Opens Its Doors (Image Source:

Founding of India’s First Women’s College

College NameBethune College
College TypePrivate
Accredited byNAAC-A
LocationAzad Hind Bag, Kolkata, West Bengal 700006
Campus Area
Application ModeOnline & Offline 
PrincipalProf.(Dr.) Mamata Ray
Accommodation FacilityFor both (Boys & Girls)
How to Reach
Founded In1879
Sports FacilitiesYes
Distance LearningNo
Bethune College official websiteClick Here
Founding of the First College for Women

India’s first college exclusively for women, Bethune College, was founded on August 19, 1879, in Kolkata, West Bengal. This pioneering institution owes its existence to the visionary efforts of Dr. John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune, an Englishman who collaborated with social reformer Ram Mohan Roy to eradicate gender inequality in education.

Dr. Bethune was deeply moved by the plight of Indian women, particularly their lack of access to education. Inspired by the need for reform, he established Bethune College with the aim of providing women a platform for intellectual growth and empowerment. The college initially started with five students and gradually expanded its reach, catering to the educational needs of women from different strata of society.

Challenges and Resistance

The establishment of the first women’s college faced numerous challenges and resistance from conservative sections of society. Traditional norms, cultural prejudices, and the prevalent belief that women should remain confined to domestic roles hindered progress in women’s education. The idea of women pursuing higher education was met with skepticism and resistance.

Despite these obstacles, Bethune College continued its steadfast commitment to women’s education. The institution persevered through societal pressures and established a strong academic foundation. The college’s faculty and staff played a pivotal role in ensuring a supportive and conducive learning environment for women, encouraging their intellectual pursuits.

Impact and Legacy

The establishment of Bethune College opened new horizons for women’s education in India. It served as a catalyst for change, inspiring the founding of other women’s colleges across the country. The college pioneered the idea that women had a rightful place in higher education and were capable of achieving academic excellence.

Bethune College played a crucial role in nurturing women leaders and intellectuals who went on to shape various fields, including education, politics, social work, and the arts. Notable alumni of the college include Kadambini Ganguly, the first female physician from South Asia, and Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, a prominent feminist and nationalist leader.

The legacy of Bethune College serves as a reminder of the power of education in transforming lives and society. It paved the way for subsequent educational reforms aimed at providing equal opportunities for women in India. Today, women’s colleges continue to flourish across the country, ensuring that education is not a privilege but a fundamental right for every woman

Admission to Bethune College in 2023

The application site for Bethune College admission 2023 begins on July 18, 2023, proviso, for the semester 2023–2024; the college provides BA, Bcom, BSc, and BBA at the UG level. The final day to submit an application via the official website is slated to be August 5, 2023. Information about UG and PG Admission is available from Bethune College. Students that desire to enroll in UG programs.

They must pass their 12th-grade exam or a test of a similar level. Students who wanted to enroll in the vocational stream were unable to complete the UG application. The college provides online admissions processes. Students who are SC/ST/OBC-A/OBC-B and simply have West Bengal residency are eligible for reservation privileges. As a result, students from other states will select the General Category on the application form.

The Merit list serves as the basis for choosing students. Students can go to the Bethune College Admission site at for further information.

2023 Bethune College Freshman Admission

For the academic year 2023–2024, Bethune College Undergraduate Admissions’ final deadline is tentatively set for August 5, 2023. The following UG courses are offered by the: B.A. (Hons.) and B.Sc. (Hons.). The undergraduate application form is currently accessible on the Bethune College website.

Students who are interested in enrolling in these courses can visit the Bethune College online admissions portal and submit an application for a bachelor’s degree. Students must pass the 10+2 level test or its equivalent in order to fill out the undergraduate registration form. The entire course cost for a BA is Rs. 3,588, while a BSc degree has a price structure that is the same.

2023 Bethune College Postgraduate Admission

The Bethune College application form will be made available at on July 18, 2023 (tentative), and the deadline to submit an online application is August 5, 2023 (tentative), for the academic year 2023–2024. Students must complete an entrance exam form in order to get admitted to PG programs like MSc and MA. Based on a merit list created using the candidate’s entrance exam results, admission will be granted.

Bethune College Admission 2023: Offered Courses

Numerous undergraduate programs are available at Bethune College Kolkata. The institution offers BA and BSc programmes in a variety of specialities, including English, Hindi, Honours, Political Science, Psychology, Mathematics, Zoology, and others. On July 18, 2023 (tentative), the application forms for enrollment in these courses will be made available.

Bachelor of Arts

  • Bengali Honours
  • English Honours
  • Hindi Honours
  • History Honours
  • Philosophy Honours
  • Political Science Honours
  • Psychology (B.A.) Honours
  • Sanskrit Honours
  • Women Studies (General)

Bachelor of Science

  • Botany Honours
  • Chemistry Honours
  • Computer Science Honours
  • Economics Honours
  • Mathematics Honours
  • Physics Honours
  • Psychology (B.Sc.) Honours
  • Statistics Honours
  • Zoology Honours

Bethune College PG courses

  • Botany M.Sc.
  • Bengali M.A.
  • English M.A.
  • Mathematics M.Sc.
  • Applied Psychology M.A.
  • Zoology M.Sc.

Bethune College Fee structure

Course NameDurationCourse Fees
B.Sc3 Yrs3,588
B.Sc (Hons.)3 Yrs3,588
BA3 Yrs3,588
BA (Hons.)3 Yrs3,588
M.Sc2 Yrs12,962
MA2 Yrs12,962
Bethune College Fee structure

Bethune College Seat Capacity

BA Honours in English46
BSc Honours in Economics36
BSc Honours in Physics36
MSc in Mathematics16
BSc Honours in Mathematics36
MA in English16
BA Honours in History38
BSc Honours in Computer science23
BA Honours in Sanskrit40
MA in Bengali23
BA Honours in Political Science38
BSc Honours in Zoology36
BSc Honours in Botany36
BA/B.Sc Honours in Psychology20
BA Honours in Hindi20
BA Honours in Philosophy38
MSc in Botany21
BSc Honours in Chemistry38
BA Honours in Bengali38
MSc in Zoology21
MSc in Applied Psychology10
Bethune College Seat Capacity

Interesting Facts:

  • Bethune College was named after its founder, Dr. John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune, to honor his dedication to women’s education in India.
  • The college started with only five students but gradually grew to become one of the most prestigious institutions for women’s education in the country.
  • Bethune College has a rich history of producing exceptional alumnae, including renowned poets, writers, scientists, and social activists.
  • The college campus boasts impressive architecture and historical buildings, which serve as a testament to its heritage and significance in women’s education.
  • Over the years, Bethune College has expanded its curriculum to include a wide range of disciplines, offering diverse educational opportunities to women.


The establishment of the first college for women in India, Bethune College, marked a crucial turning point in the nation’s journey towards gender equality in education. It challenged societal norms, overcame resistance, and empowered countless women with knowledge and confidence. Bethune College’s legacy continues to inspire and motivate generations, emphasizing the importance of inclusive education and women’s empowerment. As we celebrate the strides made in women’s education, we must remember the pioneering efforts of institutions like Bethune College that blazed the trail for a brighter, more equal future.

Luja Swain

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the weekly Newsletters from our website. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you.