A dalit women’s group today demanded that the birthday of education pioneer Savitribai Phule, wife of iconic social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, be declared as National Women’s Day.

At event organised here to commemorate her 185th birth anniversary activists of the National Women Dalit Movement said that there was no better way to pay tribute to the 19th century social reformer.

Savitribai joined her husband in opening the first school for girls in in 19th-century taking on a hostile and orthodox society where women’s education was taboo.

Lauding Phule’s role in pioneering women’s education in the country, activist Bharulata Kamble said, “There is no better way to pay tribute to Savitribai Phule than celebrating her birthday as National Women’s Day. We must not forget how she took on the formidable forces of caste and patriarchy apart from playing a stellar role in women’s education.”

Kamble, also a documentary filmmaker, was felicitated during the event along with Rahi Bhide, Editor of Maharashtra-based media group Punyanagari for their contribution in uplifting of the Dalit community.

Rajni Tilak, founder of the National Women’s Day campaign also asked for the inclusion of a chapter on Savitribai Phule in the teacher training curriculum “in order to inspire teachers”.