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International Day of the Girl Child 2019: Importance of Educating The Girl Child In Indian Society

International Day of the Girl Child is observed on 11 October every year. Declared by the United Nations (UN), the day is also termed as Day of Girls and the International Day of the Girl. The first Day of the Girl Child was observed in 2012.

The day is observed with the aim of spreading awareness on the importance as well as the need to provide more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide. The female gender is prone to face inequality in all aspects of life - it is not the natural law - but a construct of the patriarchal society [1] .

From the lack of access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence and child marriage, the plight of women is crucial not only in today's world but has always been this way [2] .

The International Day of the Girl Child 'reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research'. The theme of International Day of the Girl Child 2019 is 'GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable'.

Educating The Girl Child

The topic of equality in education has been in discussion since ages - and that shows the blatant reality of it. India is notorious for its female foeticide as well as severe inequalities towards the female gender. It has been proven over and over again that equality is the prime key towards success and yet, the world still seems to live in the remembrance of the male-centred era [3] [4] .

Likewise, education is key to the growth of an individual and inherently, a nation. Education for women in India is indeed the need of the hour, with only 65 per cent of the total population having access to education, which is critically lower than the world average of 79.7 per cent [5] .

In comparison to urban India, rural India has an extremely low rate of girls going to school. With the common mentality that girls are better off in the kitchens and within the four walls of a house, educating the girl child has indeed become a priority.

Educating a girl child has several advantages (apart from the boon of knowledge to the girl herself) and is directly linked to the development of the country. Let us take a look at the ways education to girls can positively impact the nation and why it is important [6] .

Significance Of Educating The Girl Child

  • Promotes gender equality: One of the primary and key steps in bridging the man-made gap between the genders. A prevalent issue in today's world, lack of gender equality can be overcome to an extent with the right to education for all (especially girls). With the young (male) generation of the country mingling with the females in a school setting helps promote a positive attitude, as well as help the children see everyone as the same [7] [4] .
  • Improves literacy rate: The literacy rate in our country is far below the global average. Education is the only key, especially education to girls is the means to achieve the right level of literacy rate [8]. When girls are educated, their chances of being bound to the house reduces as they are aware of one's rights and freedom and can help play an important role in society.
  • Promotes economic empowerment: Any country needs to have a balance between anything, for it to achieve economic development. A dependent and uneducated woman cannot benefit the country or herself. Therefore, it is clear that economic independence and empowerment will come when we educate the girl child [8] .

Apart from the above mentioned, educating the girl child can be beneficial in the following ways as well [9] [6] .

  • Economic development and prosperity
  • Improved life quality
  • Improved health due to awareness of health and hygiene
  • Dignity and honour in the society
  • The choice to choose a profession of her choice
  • Alter the regressive nature of the society

Although India as a country lags in the scenario, various NGOs and Government policies have focused on improving the current plight [10] . Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Balika Samriddhi Yojana, CBSE Udaan Scheme, National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education and Dhanalakshmi Scheme etc. are some of the initiatives and schemes by the Indian Central Government, which focuses on improving the condition of the girl children in the country and raising awareness on the importance of education to all!

View Article References
  1. [1] Svanemyr, J., Chandra-Mouli, V., Christiansen, C. S., & Mbizvo, M. (2012). Preventing child marriages: first international day of the girl child “my life, my right, end child marriage”. Reproductive health, 9(1), 31.
  2. [2] Ponte, B. N. (2006, September). Girl-child Empowerment: A Challenge for all. In United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) in Collaboration with UNICEF Expert Group Meeting Eliminating of all Forms of Discrimination and Violence Against the Girl-Child. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre Florence, Italy (pp. 25-28).
  3. [3] Ortoleva, S. (2013). International Day of the Girl Child: Focus on education–missing stories in the blogs.
  4. [4] Prasad, S. (2012). Girl child in India. Yojana, 56, 41-45.
  5. [5] Olateju, M. A. (2007). Reading Kiosks: Literacy Empowerment for the Girl-child. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 20(2), 155-163.
  6. [6] Fathalla, M. F. (2000). The girl child. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 70(1), 7-12.
  7. [7] Svanemyr, J., Chandra-Mouli, V., Christiansen, C. S., & Mbizvo, M. (2012). Preventing child marriages: first international day of the girl child “my life, my right, end child marriage”. Reproductive health, 9(1), 31.
  8. [8] Cobbett, M. (2014). Beyond ‘victims’ and ‘heroines’: Constructing ‘girlhood’in international development. Progress in Development Studies, 14(4), 309-320.
  9. [9] Paul, P. (2019). Effects of education and poverty on the prevalence of girl child marriage in India: A district–level analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 100, 16-21.
  10. [10] Verma, S. (2019). Dialectics of tradition and modernity in private spaces: the ordeal of girl child abuse in modern India. Marriage & Family Review, 1-20.
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