June 23, 2011

Educating a Girl Child- a necessity

  The issue of gender equality is a talk of everyday. And its promotion across the globe is a shared concern and repeated discourse in any international forums. It is, in fact, one of the tenets of every nation’s planned developmental projects. The education for female child, for this reason is, what I considered a matter most urgent and needs to be given new meaning.

How education for women would enhance socio-economic development? Why this issue needs to be considered and address urgently? What are the strategies? The gender equality can only do the justice to these questions. That is why “Gender Equity” is adopted as one of the goals of the United Nations Millennium Development. It is without a doubt to end world poverty by 2015.

My literature reviews on this subject indicate that a male from female is distinguished in relation to their existing nature of the world. It is always found and recognized that the weaker ones are looser. The critics and analyst also validate what determined who is weaker, how it has occurred and what solution are there to bring them in the equal footing. My sensitivity and approach to this gender equality promotion is provision of equal educational opportunities.

Dr. A.Agarwal expresses his strong view to maintain education for women. He says “education enlightens and an enlightened woman only can stand up for protection of her human rights and for those of her fellow sisters who may be being deprived and discriminated against due to various religious and socio-economic factors. By educating girl child we set in a process of empowering women, who will be able not only to defend their rights and live with dignity but also to contribute to the development of entire society.”  To add, Swami Vivekananda summarizes his vision for the magnitude of educating girl child. “I ask you all so earnestly to open girl’s schools in every village and try to uplift them. If the conditions of women are raised, then their children will, by their noble actions, glorify the name of the country” 

In sum, it is understood that today’s girl child will be the mother of tomorrow. When girl child is given right education, then as a mother she can give her child a sound nursing and capable upbringing. As an educated mother of two children, I have experienced and observed that we women can generate maximum impact on the social, economical decision making in the family. At micro level, we the educated woman can help in making the whole family including the older family members understand the values and importance of education, and at macro level, educated women add to the socio-economic development of the nation. Girl education, hence, is like sowing the seed which gives rise to green, cheerful and full grown family plant.

Let us compare and contrast the girl child education in the developing countries like ours and what needs to be addressed it in the light of gender equality. The literacy rate of women is very low as compared to men. The overall average is 50% in the developing countries. This clearly indicates how women could develop when they don’t have opportunity for basic education. This low percentage of literacy rate is responsible and restricting factor of religion practices, promoting culture, improving social and economic development. We can also relate this to the poor quality of education that girl gets and the content of the education they receive. The amount and quality of education is found different from countries to countries. In Africa only 77% of girls are enrolled against 97% boys in the primary level and secondary level have only 22% girls received compared to 36% of boys. Similarly in Asia, only one-third girls received the education. It is found that girls who receive little or no education suffer more in facing the modern world.

On the other hand, the lack of resources in developing countries is the main obstacle for educating girl child. In the last decade, economic deterioration throughout the developing countries has led to cut in public expenditure in school education. School fees, cost of stationeries is ever increasing and parents have to make a choice to send their sons to schools and compel their girl child to dropout. For instance, in rural areas of our country, during the cultivation, parents need helping hand and normally take the girl child out of school instead of boy. This phenomenon is a social attitude of the society. Early marriage is another social factor preventing a girl child to finish her education.

In order to change this social attitudes and help complete girl child education, Royal Government of Bhutan has placed importance on promotion of gender equity and adopted a policy of education for all by 2013. We can also find in our country that the female literacy is equally emphasized with the male literacy. We have record of low population growth and high standards of living. It is a positive indication of gender equality and equal educational opportunities.

 I would like to say that a woman influences the activities and decisions of family than anyone else. The educated girl can shoulder any kind of responsibility. See for example Margaret Thatcher, Sonia Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Aum Sangay Zam and Aum Neten Zangmo who had earned the name and fame in their country and world wide and, who are inspiration to all the Bhutanese women. For the success of a person whether man or woman, education plays an important role. Education for the girls is more important as she not only builds the home but all routine responsibilities are taken care of by her. An educated woman not only helps in nourishing the family in a better way but can also help in earning. She is the most crucial and reverend entity. She must be given all the necessary education, ignoring her, keeping her illiterate means creating an illiterate and ignorant generation. Development cannot be accelerated unless girls are given right education in right direction. 

And as a teacher my only wish is to see every Bhutanese child going to the school inclusive of the girl child so that we can rest assured of our future. J
Levy, Marian Fennelly. (1981) Bringing women into community development process. Save the Children. US.
Omvedt, Gail. (1986). Women in Popular Movement, India and Thailand. United Nation Research Institution for Social Development. New York.

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