Education is widely regarded as one of the crucial institutions that can help empower women. However, despite the strong emphasis on gender equality in school enrollment, questions regarding how women perceive education remain insufficiently addressed. The purpose of this research has been to examine the relationship between education, women’s aspirations, and gender ideology in the transitional society of India. This longitudinal ethnographic study carried out from 2001 to 2018, focusing on about eighty women in rural Bihar, the poorest state of India, revealed that educational expansion did not automatically result in women’s empowerment, but showed rather a non-linear trajectory. Although an increasing number of girls enrolled in schools since the mid-2000s, they had virtually no agency to decide their future mostly because of early marriage. Being forced into early marriage, therefore, overshadowed girls’ educational/career aspirations. On the other hand, though marginalized in decision-making, women exercised agency and negotiated their status by utilizing their education. It was also found that their perceptions of “good” education had been changed across the study. Women largely embraced vague ideas regarding the value of education in the 2000s. Nonetheless it was observed that participants often reconceptualized the meaning of education following the recent sociopolitical transformations that have highlighted women’s contributions to community development. This may bring about a shift in rigid gender norms and family ideology in the community. This study suggests the need for further qualitative research on education and gender ideology as well as women’s subject-agency in rural India.