Girls questioned – Why are we asked to stay at home to do household work & only boys in the family go to school? Why are we questioned for reaching home late by even 10 mins? Why are we not allowed to go to cities for higher education? Why are we not allowed to pursue our careers, our dreams and aspirations?
(The conversation took place in a college 100 KMs from Varanasi, India, with a group of 45-50 girls pursuing graduation/post graduation.)
In most of the families in Indian villages, priority of education is defined by gender which means – boys are always given priority over girls. The issues such as –
- girl’s safety concerns,
- priority to household work,
- strong social conditioning,
- lack of knowledge resources
further decreases the chances of them receiving good education.
Below statistics from Uttar Pradesh education board highlights – Girls’ enrollment is almost one-third of that of boys’. And the enrollment for girls drop even lower as we go to higher education. Enrollment has increased significantly in recent years but the quality of education has n’t improved.
- Number of girls passing the exams in same years is almost twice than boys.
The data has been taken from “Board of High School and Intermediate Education Uttar Pradesh” (http://upmsp.nic.in/stat.htm#Highschool)
The successive governments have come up with various solutions to promote girl education, such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. But the solutions have worked only on paper and not in reality. The issue needs to be understood in proper context and then solutions, policies needs to be formulated, implemented to promote –
- Equality in every aspect of life
- Right to take decision for themselves – not someone else takes decision on behalf of Girls
- Economic independence
The bright thing is – Schools/Colleges are now accessible from every village. So the immediate actions/programs should be to make people, communities accept that we have to change our mindset towards girls at every moment when there is discrimination, and stand with them.