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Saturday, 19 October 2019

EDUCATE TO SAVE Why is it so important to educate girls?


EDUCATE TO SAVE
Why is it so important to educate girls?

What’s going on?
One of the greatest problems of the indian sub-continentis the lack of education provided to girls. According to the data reported first by the MHRD (Ministry of Human Resources Development) and then by CENSUS, in 2011 around 84 million children were outside the school system, almost 20% of all those who have an educational obligation, according to the norms of the RTE (Right To Education Act). The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education is an act of the Indian Parliament which guarantees free access, and confirmation of its mandatory nature, to education for all those who are between 6 and 14 yearsold.
However, especially towards the end of primary studies, the number of girls attending school is low and indeed the dropouts are numerous. The data iseven more negative when we start talking about secondary education, where 32% of girls do not have access to school, compared to 28% of boys, as highlighted by researcher AnjelaTaneja.
Why?
What determines the dropouts and what prevents many girls from studying?
Reasons can be traced to three macro-areas:
1)      Family responsabilities: traditional gender roles come into play,according to which girls must take care of home and family, and then get married soon. The responsibility however does not stop there, since the parents are often worried about the sexual harassment that girls could experience, bringing dishonor on the family, as reported by Rachel Williams on The Guardian;
2)      Lack of toilet facilities: an other serious problem that leads to poor attendance by female students is the lack of adequate sanitation and the presence of negative myths and beliefs related to puberty and the menstrual cycle;
3)      Priority to the boys: access to the internet and other facilities is often generally poor, therefore the priority is given to the boys, who hence have better access to knowledge, which facilitates their studies.


Why educating girls is so important?
This situation must necessarily be solved because of many reasons. In particular, educating girls would lead to both personal and social benefits. Let’s look atthem in more detail:
v  Economic independence: educated girls can aspire to jobs outside the house, which can give them a salary and thus make them economically independent;
v  Gender equality: among the SDGs there are “quality education” and “gender equality”. Adequate education allows girls and women to become aware of themselves and their abilities, reducing inequalities;
v  Society development: there can be no development within a society, and this cannot be said to be developed, unless there are equal rights and opportunities for women;
v  Social independence: as well as for economic independence, adequate education helps girls to be aware of themselves, their abilities and their rights as women, which emancipates them from traditional logics;
v  Chasing dreams: an educated girl is also a girl who, thanks to her skills and knowledge, can develop aspirations and goals, dreams that are more easily reachable with the right education;
v  No more pay-gap: another key point is the wage difference. With the right education and the right qualifications women can aspire to positions of a certain level, and they can fight to abolish wage differences.
Obviously the reasons for ensuring a (better) education for girls are not only these, but the list would be far too long to enumerate them all. We will therefore limit ourselves to these.
What can be done?
Of course, different interventions are needed to make a change: on the one hand, the role played by NGOs and non-profit associations working on a local scale is very important. As reported by The Atlantic, NGOs and individuals are moving to promote womens’ education,building schools dedicated only to girls. On the other hand, the push must also come from the government: although the problem has been recognized, the indian Government is slow in its response, putting the problemat the bottom of the list ofitspriorities. HEEALS is continioulsy campaigning on the importance of education among childrens ,espicially girls in schools and communuities.
Educated girls are fundamental to achieve a better future for themselves and for all of us, it’s fundamental that everyone understands it.
-Martina Pignatelli
Sources:
-          Why Do Indian Girls Drop Out Of Schools?,The Times Of India
-          Why Girls In India Are Still Missing Out On The EducationTheyNeed, The Guardian
-          The Groups Fighting For Girls’ Education In India, The Atlantic
-          The High Dropout Rate Of Girls In India, AnjelaTaneja
-          Right To Education, righttoeducation.it

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