Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated Odisha's first women's university here named after noted freedom fighter and social reformer Maa Rama Devi on the occasion of her 116th birth anniversary.
Stating that women constitute almost half of the country's population, the Chief Minister said the social impact of women's education is greater than that of men in society.
While development of society requires equal participation of women in every walk of socio-economic life, women's participation in higher education is below the desired level, he pointed out.
On Maa Rama Devi, Patnaik said she was an icon of women's empowerment in the state.
"Breaking the traditional world of conservatism with rare sense of courage, she had come out of the closet to dedicate herself to the nation and serve society," Patnaik said.
"I hope, Rama Devi Women's University will be able bring qualitative changes among its students, and gradually evolve as an institute that inspires the aspirations of women in Odisha," he said. The Chief Minister said the university was established with overall objective of increased participation of women in higher education and it will be an ideal institution that recognises and promotes gender equality.
"I hope the university will initiate studies on women's empowerment, women's rights, gender equality and studies that will create confidence and enable our young women for forward movement in society," he said.
Patnaik pledged all support to the university to turn it into a Centre of Excellence.