India’s rural gap has its roots in the assumption that girls are destined to be homemakers and nothing else. Girls are therefore deprived of education, as only boys are considered future breadwinners. As a result, women’s access to education and other opportunities is held back, until she is pushed below the male child’s educational status. As a result, girls are deprived at every step of their life journey. Education is the only catalyst to achieve change. Here is why we should support girl education in India, and put them on the journey to become successful and healthy women.
Contributing to national growth
It is not possible to analyse a country’s social growth analysis without considering gender equality. Women account for almost half of a nation’s talent base. Logically, their workforce participation is critical to productivity and economic growth. As per World Bank studies, development strategies that are inclusive of gender equality are more likely to achieve stronger economic growth, than gender-neutral strategies. Globally, women are an underutilized force for sustainable development. This inequity persists, even though women are responsible for half of all agricultural output in Asia, and 80% of Africa’s farm output.
Role of women’s empowerment in social development
As per World Bank research, societies that discriminate against women experience slower economic growth and poverty reduction than societies that believe in gender equality. If African countries had opted to end the school gender gap (1960 -1992) at par with East Asia, the region would have seen doubling of the current per capita income growth. Investment in human capital, health and education of women and girls has been identified by the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals as a key way forward, based on the understanding that “educated, healthy women are more able to engage in productive activities, find formal sector employment, earn higher incomes and enjoy greater returns to schooling than are uneducated women…” (World Bank Group, Development Goals 2003: 6).
Societal benefits from girl child education
Access to education today will make today’s girls the skilled workers and employees of tomorrow. With education, they can uplift their families, by standing up for themselves and their communities, enhancing their health and prosperity. They will also bring wealth to their homes, generating a higher socio-economic status which can be the catalyst of overall growth. Their achievements will be evidence that faulty belief systems, like early marriage and sex-selective abortion should be ended.
Linkage to child marriage
India’s campaigns to empower the girl child with education and access to opportunities is capable of ending child marriage. As per 2016 report, every seven seconds a girl under the age of 15 is married off in India. Child marriage can negatively impact female education, health and child safety, as it prevents girls from living, learning and earning for herself freely. As a result, girl children experience underage pregnancy and sexual violence.
To participate in the fight for girl child education, donate online to a concerned child rights NGO like Save the Children. Save the Children works with leading corporates on corporate social responsibilities on empowering the girl child and other social goals. The NGOs Corporate Social Responsibility program with P&G’s Shiksha project facilitated education across schools in Jharkhand and imparted training in extra-curricular activities. The NGO mapped out-of-school children, creating and providing gender-sensitive material that reached over 30,000 children. it also undertook community engagement to encourage families to send their girls to school.