Female education in India is still below the world average. Hopefully, several success stories come to prove that there is no deadlock that cannot be crushed.
Education is the driving force of societies. Its lack or complete absence is dangerous for the whole world. Anyway, even with realizing the importance of it, some people go on with depriving girls of a chance to learn.
I always wonder why girls? Why don’t people understand that gender gap in every aspect of life hinders the functions of a society. Anyway, the problem still exists and it will take a longer time to overcome it and remove the consequences.
With no access to education, women become powerless. Then other problems show up. States become weaker because it’s impossible to rely on men power only.
India is home to more than 1 billion people thus, takes the second place in the world. But in terms of illiteracy level, it’s on the lead. This is quite pitiful. Female education in India is in a desperate situation.
Statistics alongside with figures prove that there is still a huge gap in girls’ and boys’ education in India to be filled.
Female Education in India
Being Educated is not a Privilege: It’s a Need
Education as a fundamental human right is of greater importance. Accordingly, everyone must have an access to it without any restriction. Furthermore, states are to guarantee and protect the civil right to the education of its citizens.
Any violation should be strictly condemned. However, world practice shows that people underestimate the role of education, especially for a girl. In fact, such approach should be banished because any investment in a girl’s education provides more returns.
Wondering how? Here is what the World Bank has found out.
According to its study social impact of educated women is valueless. First and foremost- educated mothers promote their children’s education as well.
That makes the society more sound and resilient. Besides intelligent women create a better economic environment especially in the countries with a middle-income rate.
And last but not least, such women are more likely to succeed in the labor market and pursue their career. On reflection, girl’s literacy is crucial to solving many problems both in economies and societies.
It provides a better life for humanity. The lack of female education can only prevent the world from further developments. This is why education is not something to splurge on. It’s a fundamental human need that must be satisfied.
Female Education in India | Overview
IT sphere is on the roll in India. This is actually a remarkable achievement. It proves that there are some hopes to draw the country out of the educational stagnation.
But despite many positive shifts, female education in India remains a real challenge. There is nothing legal or illegal. Just a matter of mentality and patriarchal attitudes.
In this country, the conservative traditionalism finds women’s status lower than that of men. The mood was the same centuries ago and very little has changed since those times.
Rural areas and backward parts of India are especially under threat in terms of female education. To cotton on the condition of female education in India imagine this situation. When parents have a daughter and a boy but they can afford education only for one child and they give preference to the boy.
Nothing surprising. This model exists not only in India but other Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Even if both kids are sent to school, in case of a financial problem the girl is supposed to drop out the school. This is how the percentage of school dropouts in India has reached 63.5% among girls.
Indian Families Spend More Money on Girl’s Wedding Than Education
One more thing which seems quite ridiculous to me: Indian parents are ready to spend more money on girls wedding than education. In fact, this is done just because people think a girl will marry and leave the house. Son is the one who will take care of parents.
But aren’t we sensible enough to realize that we still live in a society which strongly depends on mothers? Mothers take care of children and bring them up. Thus, illiterate mothers will bring up uneducated children. And the cycle of uneducated generations will go on.
This gap, however, is not only literacy rates of the two sexes. It exists between the enrolment of girls and boys at all levels of education.
The number of girl students is tangibly lower than the number of boys. Unfortunately, it is true about Indian society that children are sent to school for their capacity and wish to learn but according to their sex.
Closer Look at Statistics on Female Education in India
There is no doubt that such low literacy rates among women bring national literacy figure this low. Here are some statistics.
Any Indian aged 7 years and above who can both read and write with understanding in any language is regarded as literate in India.
The Adult Literacy rate (15+ Age Group) is the percentage of population 15-24 years old who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement on everyday life. This is not something like the world standards of an educated person.
However, the adult literacy rate has shown an upward trend both for females and males. Adult Literacy rate stands 70.5% for the year 2014.
Besides, the state encourages girls to attend school. This will lead to higher literacy rates in the future. As with literacy measures, there are large differences in school attendance by state.
In six states, over 85 percent of girls aged 6 to 14 were attending school. Not surprisingly, these states also had female literacy rates that were above the national average. In all states except Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, more than half of the girls aged 6 to 14 were attending school.
Actually, this statistics female education in India is quite encouraging. Though in broader context India occupies higher levels because of illiteracy rates among girls. Behold the problems that hinder the issue to be overcome.
Reasons That Cause Low-Level of Female Education in India
Problems of Female Education in India #1 | Poverty
One of the several reasons causing low levels of literacy in India is sky high level of poverty. According to World Bank over one-third of the population lives below the poverty line. Perhaps you will ask what this has to do with education as far as school attendance is free in India. Yes, it is!
But the costs of uniforms, books, transportation and the pocket money are too much for poor families. This is why poor families tend to keep girls at home to care for younger siblings or to do housework. Thus, such bias parental attitudes towards daughters are one of the problems that make female education in India less possible.
Besides, poor families see the education of a daughter as a waste of money and time. They would better marry. This is too tough but it reflects the reality in India.
Problems of Female education in India #2 | Inadequate School Facilities
Another barrier to female education in India is the lack of adequate school facilities. Many states simply do not have enough classrooms to accommodate all of the school-age children.
Furthermore, the classrooms often lack basic necessities such as sanitary facilities or water.
In Uttar Pradesh, for instance, 54% of schools do not have a water supply. Besides nearly 70 students may stay in the same classroom with fewer desks and other necessities.
Problems of Female education in India #3 | Gender Bias in Curriculum
To be frank I was really shocked about this. I’ve been aware of gender bias in different aspects of life but school curriculum was a real shock.
Even though the Indian government agreed to rewrite the textbooks in 1965, to avoid any discrimination, the study of Indian textbooks found that men are still the main characters in the majority of lessons.
In these lessons, they are portrayed as strong, adventurous, and intelligent. In contrast, women are depicted as weak and helpless, often as the victims of abuse and beatings.
If the tendency goes on it can be firm barriers for empowering women in Indian society.
How to Keep the Situation under Control?
Regardless all these problems Indian government implements various reforms to improve the quality of female education in India.
But before that everyone should start from his own home. There are some simple daily measures which will contribute to women’s education in India. So female education in India can be considered improved if:
- girls are treated as complete members of the family
- the abilities she holds is welcomed
- everyone understands that girls are not only for everyday drudgery
- the importance of female education in India is given priority
- society doesn’t restrict career opportunities for women
- domestic violence is abolished and girls do not have to drop out the school just because they have to marry in token of traditions
- society members understand the profound role an educated woman plays in their state
As you see my list is not about money, spending or unbearable stuff. It shares mindset and attitude of common people towards female education in India. It is noteworthy that something has changed. There are success stories that can be a source of inspiration for everyone.
Success Story #1: Navli Kumari, Rajasthan
Those who try always win in the end. This is true about Navali Kumari who grew up in Rajasthan. This Indian state has nine of the country’s 26 worst gender gap districts in education. However, her father encouraged her to attend school.
Thus she studied until 12th grade. After her father’s death, Kumari returned to live in her native village and saw that few girls had received an even primary education. She decided to help them and her efforts paid back.
After four years of volunteering with Educate Girls, she got 46 girls back to school and stopped two child marriages. Moreover, several years later a school was established in her village only due to her efforts.
Success Story #2: Swati Bhargava, Ambala
This inspiring lady is the co-founder of Cashkaro. It is the largest and fastest growing cash back and coupons site in India.
After graduating from London School of Economics with Honors in Mathematics & Economics, Swati was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs for 5 years.
She is considered one of the most successful women in India.
Success Story #3: Ajaita Shah
Ajaita Shah is especially famous throughout India because she brought quality and affordable consumer services to rural India through her ‘Frontier markets’.
This is her initiative. It is a sale and distribution company that offers energy and sanitation products to low-income households. BTW, Ajaita holds a B.A International from Tufts University.
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