Women’s education in India is still an evident problem. Education is our fundamental human right and no education system must face gender discrimination.Unfortunately, poor countries like India still face this problem and many girls are deprived of education.
Even though India is considered the human capital of the world, the importance of women’s education in India is not accepted there widely. There are many reasons for it. Poverty is one reason, patriarchal system and traditions are another.
But whatever the reason may be, it still doesn’t mean the importance of women’s education becomes less. Let’s look at some facts and statistics about women’s education in India.
The Importance of Women’s Education in India
What do you need for education?
It’s a simple question, but what would you answer if you were an Indian girl? Things are not elementary as they seem.
It’s the 21st century and we think that everything is ok. We think that there aren’t any issues regarding education. We think that gender discrimination is gradually deteriorating. We think everything is headed to a brighter sight.
Meanwhile, in India, girls have to fight to go to school. Sex discrimination is still prevalent there.
We are going to look into the issues, statistics, historical background and other problems that are still relevant concerning women’s education, specifically in India.
China, United States, and India. These are the top three countries that have a better education system.
Throughout history, the topic of education has had its problems and solutions. Uneducated children face a lot of difficulties, such as child labor, which is cruel and illegal. Education helps in preventing kids from being victims of child labor.
Women’s education in India has always been in the public eye. Boys in India are more likely to go to school, mainly because of the mentality and the historical background. The percentage of educated children in India is obviously unequal among boys and girls.
Among lower-class families, sons are more encouraged to receive an education than girls. The issue can be viewed from another perspective: both the son and daughter go to school, but the boy attends a better one. WHy are girls discouraged from going to school and what are the reasons behind the discrimination?
Here are some reasons:
- Social norms (because they are girls)
Unfortunately, social norms, cultural factors make them think that girls don’t require education. Over 90 million Indian girls are illiterate.
- Fear of violence
A lot of parents are very concerned about sending their girls to school. India is not the safest country, people need to be very careful in order not to be kidnapped, raped or have something stolen from them.
- Protection of their virginity
This is a common mentality among parents who have daughters. Parents don’t want them to study in a classroom where there are boys and male teachers.
- A valuable resource for homework (agriculture, household chores)
Sadly, girls do not do regular homework. Due to poverty, the family has to take their child to work in the fields under very severe circumstances.
As we see, the reasons simply follow each other. Poverty is an important reason behind women’s education in India. For families, the first and foremost need is not education, but clothing, food, work and survival.
- Child marriage
- Child marriage is a vulnerable topic in India. This is the major cause of girls missing classes. According to UNICEF’s statistics, 18% of girls in India are married by the age of 15, and 47% are married by 18.
- Child labour
Another horrible reason why children do not attend school is because they’re labourers. They are not only female, but also male. This greatly harms their physical development.
Mentally they are not ready to be educated. They get used to their lifestyle: working in the manufacture, domestic labour, etc. Child labour itself is a problem and there is no need to point out the number of child victims.
- Daughters will marry soon (there is no point in educating them)
This might be the most senseless reason that is common not only in India, but in other countries as well. They claim there is no point in spending money on their education. Parents are more focused on teaching them how to cook and do other household chores.
- They will be controlling
Very few men need a smart, brave, controlling and powerful woman in their house. It is easier to marry a girl who has no knowledge, who can’t argue or say her opinion out loud. This is a somewhat sly move to get the men to be in charge.
- She needs to be prepared for her wifely duties
A good housewife. This is all that is expected from women. Wasting time in studying will not make her prepared for wifely duties.
What kind of society do we expect to have? Where the influence of cultural terms, violence, and old mentality has more importance than safe and equal opportunities, or…?
The Importance of Women’s Education
Before thinking about the question; why do women need to be educated?
First of all, we have to understand what role women’s education in our society has. A woman is the one who has the greatest role in the process of upbringing her child. She is the one that will educate and prepare them for a new life.That woman can be a role model for her children and an invaluable member of the society.
A girl who has no future yet decides to get an education to build her future with a strong foundation. That little girl in the near future will become a wonderful mum, a beloved wife, a clever and a strong businesswoman who will make her family stronger.
She will have an impact not only on her family, but on society as well. Finally, she will be financially independent and happy. Education is the first step to take this road.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India from 1947-1964, once said: “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women.”
Educated women have a very important role in the development of their country. They will be ready to serve not only their families, but also society. They can be teachers, doctors, politicians, lawyers, business owners and much more. The word “woman” has more than one meaning, we just have to read between the lines.
Education gives girls an open mind and a big horizon for her future. They say a clever woman is very dangerous. If she knows her responsibilities and is aware of her rights, she will fight for it till the end.
Women’s access to education in modern and historical India
The government has made education free for children of 6-14 years. But, as statistics show, free education has nothing to do with the number of girls and boys at primary school. Starting from 2005, the international community promised to have as many girls as boys in schools. Unfortunately, this didn’t come true.
Female literacy is lower than male. Girls have the right to education. The excuses society has for not providing women with education has no legitimate reason behind it.
Educate a man, and you educate an individual. Educate a woman and you educate a whole family.
Dada Vaswani: A Life in Spirituality
Education in India has a long history. Education was provided to all and was accepted as one of the methods of achieving clarity of perception. Education was closely related to religion, and there were religious schools.
Outside this perspective, there were urban institutes of learning grammar, medicine, philosophy, arts. Kings and princes were educated in the arts, politics, economics, historical traditions. There were female poets called brahmavadinis.
By 800 BCE Gargi and Maitreyi were mentioned as female scholars in the religious ancient Sanskrit texts. Out of the composers of Sangam literature 154 were women. In spite of that, the vast majority of the educated population in that era were the representatives of the male sex.
Statistics for Women’s Education in India: Underlying the Importance of Female Education with Facts
Many steps have been taken to improve women’s education in India.
From the start of the British Raj till the independence, only 2-6% of females were literate. The percentage went up to 15.3% in 1961 and 28.5% in 1981.
By 2011 the female literacy rate in India stood at 65.46%. There is an obvious increase in the female literacy rate, but India stills falls behind compared to other countries.
Female illiteracy rate varies in different states. Rural areas of India have the lowest female literacy rate. Rajasthan, India’s seventh largest state has less than 52.66% female literacy rate.
A lot of organizations and human rights activists have raised their voices to take action on women’s education in India. They are still taking steps, but the society should understand and change their way of thinking.
Everyone should be aware of their rights and opportunities. The statistics will not change until the society changes.
Women should stand for their rights and break the disparity between male and female education. Educated women can guarantee their place in society. They will be honored due to their knowledge. Women have to recognize their privilege. Women have access to any platform or sphere where they can raise their voices.
Famous Women’s Voice
The women fighting for education are the same people from our societies.
These are the same women who raise their voices and call out on discrimination. Now, they can stand in front of everyone and speak out. The time has come for every woman to be the one to do it.
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She said, “I raise up my voice, not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”
Indra Nooyi CEO, PepsiCo, said, “At the end of the day, don’t forget that you are a person, don’t forget that you’re a mother; a wife, and a daughter.”
Chanda Kochhar, the chief executive officer of ICICI Bank, said, “I urge all women to believe in themselves and in the fact that they are capable of running a successful professional life as well as family life.”
Preity Zinta, a Bollywood actor, said, “Violence and aggression against women is wrong, yet people try to point fingers at the woman who comes out with it trying to make her sound frivolous and with an ulterior motive.”
As we see, the disparity in education is vast. Boys have access to better education, whereas girls are encouraged to be housewives. Fortunately, the world is changing and we are taking steps towards a better future.
Education is a fundamental human right and must be provided to all. We mustn’t obey society’s unwritten rules and do nothing about education. We must learn, and in turn, teach others.
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