Women’s education in India has come a long way since the 90s. The fabric of education has altered quite a bit in favour of Indian women. Through unfaltering demands, movements, and awareness programmes, we can see more and more girl child enrolment in schools. Albeit, there is still so much to be done, nonetheless, the achievements realised in the last decade cannot be overlooked.
There are quite a few reasons behind this success. But let us take a look at some of the elemental reasons in this article.
Government schemes backing girl-child education
In the last decade, India has witnessed a volley of schemes announced by the central as well as state governments to encourage girls to pursue education and incentivise parents to support their daughters’ dreams. A slew of some well-thought-out schemes, such as ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana’, ‘Balika Samridhi Yojana’, ‘Mukhyamantri Rajshri Yojana’, to name a few, have acted as a catalyst to improve the gender gap. These schemes have manifold benefits – discourage selective gender abortion, encourage gender equality, endorse property inheritance right of girls, financial incentives for girl child’s parents, easy loan terms, to cite a few. These steps have resulted favourably.
Poverty is one of the cruel reasons why women education in India in the country is biased. Parents from weak economic backgrounds often cannot make enough to feed and rear their children. This handicapping situation works to disadvantage the daughters in the family. Parents choose to address the needs of male over female children as the latter is often considered to be a financial burden. But with the advent of Anganwadi and the Mid-day meal scheme, parents have demonstrated a gradual inclination towards sending female children to schools. This has not only supported girl child education initiatives but has also improved their diet and overall health.
Girl’s bathrooms in educational institutions
One of the defining reasons behind the obnoxious lacunae between the boy and girl child ratio at school was the absence of bathrooms. This anomaly has been more staggering concerning the educational institutions in the villages of India. The fact that female students, especially teenage girls, would need separate bathrooms and sanitation facilities to themselves escaped public knowledge, and that is a violation of fundamental human need. Today of course the scenario, although not entirely altered, has improved a lot. Through vociferous and unswerving demands from votaries of girl-child education, government measures, and even Indian films, to a large extent for that matter, have made this subject a matter of grave public concern, thereby making it a part of public discussion.
Appointment of more female teachers or professors
More and more women are being encouraged to take up the teaching profession, and more and more female educators and instructors are being incentivised to spend time teaching in the hamlets in the country. To further facilitate this, schools are being also taking care of the female teacher’s necessities – transport, salary, online education platform. The inclusion of women into the demography of teachers is crucial as a large number of schools are being established to provide education to girls and a large number of boy schools are being converted into co-ed schools.
Encouragement to pursue subjects/careers that were once male bastions
The realm of women’s education has expanded through the last couple of years. Today women are pursuing subjects that were once regarded as male bastions. Women are travelling to other states and countries to pursue higher education and career. Colleges and universities along with banks are throwing in their lot to make education possible for women. From the armed forces to aeronautical engineering, from marketing and sales to cricket, from a home-based business to large start-ups, women are dreaming big and making them come true. With more and more women excelling in different areas of life, young girls, parents and the society at large is also changing.
Also, another thing worth mentioning would be the rise of skill-development programmes and the promotion of distance education. These programmes are much more beneficial for girls who had to let go of education opportunities. These programmes are also beneficial for financially weak women, or women who were married off early and abandoned by families. These programmes bring these marginalised women back within the fold of education, thereby reopening opportunities for self-reliance and independence.
The National Committee of Women’s Education had suggested several important pointers that were aimed to benefit women and, as an extension, for society in the long run. We must educate every individual to understand the benefits that the society at large stands to benefit from if women are also provided with equal opportunities and self-independence. Although India has a long way to go to see this dream come to fruition, the country is for sure on the right path now.