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This women's day, let us ignore the gifts like flowers, jewellery, or chocolates, and give the best of all gifts - education of girls and women. Let us cheer for every girl going to school.
We need to focus on education of girls if we are to make any real progress at all. It’s time we realise this.
“You know, we’re in a sports center. Imagine if you have a team and you don’t let half of the team play. That’s stupid. That makes no sense. And the evidence shows that communities that give their daughters the same opportunities as their sons, they are more peaceful, they are more prosperous, they develop faster, they are more likely to succeed.” ~~ Barack Obama
According to 2020 statistics, in India, there are 100 females to every 108 males, so females are approximately 50% of the nation’s population. When we are getting the girls ready to go to school today, we are actually getting them ready to contribute to the progress of our nation and our society tomorrow. When 50% of our population is not empowered, we cannot expect the nation to grow.
I have worked as a team member creating a learning app for a non-profit for their educational program in J.P. Nagar. We were trying to close the gap created in early education due to COVID-19. Schools were closed and many students were yet to start their journey of education.
We observed that the girls faced a lot more challenges than boys in learning since they came with a lot more responsibilities than just studying. Some of them were managing younger siblings, some had to go back due to the pending housework they had to attend to, and some couldn’t come at all because of some responsibilities given to them which was way beyond their tender age. In the adults’ struggle to feed the family, no one bothered much about the education of their children, especially the girls. It was as though girls did not have right to be educated.
Even twelve years after the Right to Education (RTE) Act came into being in 2009 in India, nearly 40% of adolescent girls in the age group of 15-18 years are not yet attending school while 30% of girls from the poorest families have never even set foot in a classroom.
Parents often prefer to invest in boys’ education since they assume the sons are going to be their providers at an older age while girls get married and move to become a part of the husband’s family. Though that doesn’t hold true always, the belief continues and so does the discrimination.
We observe a lot of discrimination against girls in many families. The best of the all the basic needs like love, food, and education is given to boys and girls have to compromise on a lot of things even from childhood. Our society tends to forget that girls have equal rights to education as well.
When men marry after settling down with their careers, girls who are supposed to be younger than their husbands often miss the chance of even starting their careers before marriage. This makes them dependents and takes away their rights in decision-making. When it comes to their daughters, they will not be able to take a stand for themselves or their daughters.
The vicious cycle of girls dropping out of school for various reasons continues. The women who have never experienced financial independence, prepare their daughters to follow the orders and take care of the men since they become the providers.
Educating a girl child is the first step towards the solutions to most of our societal issues like
It is not enough to provide access to schools for the girls. We have to ensure that they have time to study and attend school regularly. They should be safe in the school environment and while traveling to the school as well.
Just educating girls is not going to chase the evil of gender discrimination that has seeped into our society for centuries creating a strongly patriarchal society, but it will start erasing it out slowly – one step at a time.
This women’s day, let us ignore the gifts like flowers, jewellery, or chocolates, and give the best of all gifts – education to girls and women. Let us cheer for every girl going to school.
Image source: Biswarup Ganguly / CC BY
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I am Farida Rizwan, 55, Counselor and Psychotherapist working as Senior Curriculum Developer with Chimple Learning. I am ardent blogger @www.chaptersfrommylife.com and share my life experiences of surviving breast cancer 3rd stage for read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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