Achievements of Women in Ancient India
Seventeen of the seers to whom the hymns of the Rig Veda were revealed were women – rishikas and brahmavadinis. They were Romasa, Lopamudra, Apata, Kadru, Vishvavara, Ghosha, Juhu, Vagambhrini, Paulomi, Jarita, Shraddha-Kamayani, Urvashi, Sharnga, Yami, Indrani, Savitri and Devayani.
The Sama Veda mentions another four: Nodha (or Purvarchchika), Akrishtabhasha, Shikatanivavari (or
Utararchchika) and Ganpayana. This intrigued me so much that I had to learn more about them, but I drew a blank. Who were these wonderful women who were on par with their men and produced the greatest and longest living literature of the world?
In the Vedic period, female brahmavadinis (students) went through the same rigorous discipline as their male counterparts, the brahmacharis. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad describes a ritual to ensure the birth of a daughter who would become a pandita (scholar). The Vedas say that an educated girl should be married to an equally educated man.
A little unknown fact is that girls underwent the upanayana or thread ceremony, Vedic study and savitri vachana (higher studies).
Panini says that women studied the Vedas equally with men. According to the Shrauta and Grihya Sutras, the wife repeated the Vedic mantras equally with their husbands
at religious ceremonies.
The Purva Mimamsa gave women equal rights with men to perform religious ceremonies. Vedic society was generally monogamous, and women had an equal place.[The equals of men]