Despite major increases in girls’ access to education and improvement in girls’ learning outcomes over the past decade, gender inequalities persist, and are particularly stark in many low-income countries. Given the developmental benefits of education – for individual girls, their families and communities, and wider society – these inequalities represent significant lost opportunities. In addition to its effects on economic development and public health, education contributes to women’s empowerment through the following pathways.
Girls’ education is a high priority
In the countries which have the lowest income champion the value of girls’ education. According to the Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf “investing in girls’ education is not only a moral imperative, it is a smart investment”. Nigeria’s former minister of finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the United Arab Emirates’ former minister of state for tolerance Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi said that “educating a girl does far more than place a child behind a desk. It is the surest pathway to reducing infant mortality, mitigating high birth rates, slowing migratory pressures, and unlocking economic potential.
President Ram Nath Kovind of India once said that “empowerment-through-education of our daughters. Chile’s former president Michelle Bachelet explained that “we focus on girls’ education because it sets them on a path to greater economic opportunities and participation in their societies.”
Advocates, politicians in donor countries, and international organizations have also voiced their support. In 2015, US President Barack Obama said that “the single best indicator of whether a nation will succeed is how it treats its women. When women have health care and women have education, families are stronger, communities are more prosperous, children do better in school, nations are more prosperous.
In 2021, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “it is his ‘fervent belief’ that improving girls’ education in developing countries is the best way to ‘lift communities out of poverty. International organizations agree. In early 2021, the Group of Seven (G7) stated that “nowhere is our resolve stronger than in addressing the global set-back in girls’ education.
All of the above statements highlights the educating a girl is good because it leads to a positive outcome beyond education, often beyond the life of the girl herself. Education is everyone’s right. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, identified education as a human right. Scholars have cautioned against labeling too many things as rights, noting that “a right that is not feasible is a meaningless normative injunction. But girls’ education is feasible and so should be seen as a right that countries can deliver on.
Countries all over the world made dramatic gains in girls’ education over the past half century, in many cases eliminating gaps between girls and boys (and in some cases, even reversing them). Because girls’ education is a right, independent of boys’ education, this report focuses not only on gaps between girls and boys but (mainly) on how to achieve effective high-quality universal education for all girls.
Girls’ Education in India
Through education, individuals are enabled to acquire knowledge and skills that help them in all facets of their lives. Education empowers people to develop their capabilities in order to not only better their own lives, but also the lives of those around them. The educational opportunities that people have access to fluctuate based on many factors; in India, a range of disparities, such as economic or cultural factors, make access to education for girls difficult to acquire.
Education is measured through a variety of means throughout the world, including literacy rates, standardized test scores, enrollment rates, and graduation rates. By looking at some of these forms of measurement, we can get a general sense of education levels within a country, throughout a region, or among a demographic. While education is measured in many different forms, literacy and enrollment rates are generally used by most researchers and will be the basis of measurement throughout this brief.
Globally, the average female literacy rate was 82.7% in 2016, while India fell behind at 65.7% in 2018—while these stats are two years apart, the time frame is close enough to be comparable. In contrast, the global average literacy rate for men is 89.8%, but 82.3% for men in India. Regionally, India also falls behind its neighboring countries, such as China, where the female literacy rate is 94.4%. Although the national literacy rate in India falls behind the global literacy rate, literacy rates in the more rural parts of the country are significantly lower than the urban regions. In Rajasthan, the largest and most rural geographical state in India, the average literacy rate is 67%,but only 52.6% for females.