Why educating girl is the need of the hour?
Education is very important for every child, whether boy or girl. An educated child paves the way for an evolved community, thereby, creating an egalitarian society. While education for girls has received multiple scheme supports in last few years in India, there are still regions and communities that don’t consider educating a girl child as important as a boy. Sometimes, there are social traditions and deep rooted thoughts questioning the benefits of educating a girl child. This is an attempt to answer some of these long held questions.
An African proverb says “ If we educate a boy, we educate a person. If we educate a girl, we educate a whole family”. This is very true as an educated lady in the household will understand the importance of education and ensures that the children are well educated. There has been low infant mortality observed in children of educated females. Probably it is the result of an ability to read and understand various instructions in child care and medication.
Child marriage is another challenge which we still face in some parts of the country. Educated girls typically marry late and bear children only when they attain an age to do so. A UN global study has shown that on average, for every year a girl stays in school past fifth grade, her marriage is delayed by a year. An educated girl child also ensures that in an eventuality, she can go about and get meaningfully employed to take care of her family’s needs.
All these factors also contribute to the country’s economic progress. India has currently around 22% females of employable age, who are working. In most of the developed world this percentage is about 75%, which is almost same as for male working population. Countries like Bangladesh have shown that by increasing participation of women in work-force, their economies grew much faster than that of India. For nuclear families in cities, the monetary contribution by a female is not an option but a necessity considering the ever-increasing cost of living.
The participation of women in work-force also fights many parochial thoughts at a very basic level. It allows them to have a say in the matters of the family, resulting in better decision making. Their earning capability also demolishes the notion of male superiority in intellectual matters. There have been different girls, who have shown their immense capabilities and have challenged such notions. A recent example is that of Gitanjali Rao, who at the age of 15 years has become the first TIME magazine Kid of the year. She has already made some scientific inventions and has mentored some 30000 kids to develop their interest in scientific faculties. This breaks a significant myth of boys doing better than girls in STEM.
There is no doubt that an educated girl brings prosperity to the family, the community and to the country. With improving facilities for girl child education, the challenges of resources have been overcome. Various agencies of government as well as work by some NGOs have made small but sure and consistent changes to the situation. Pradeep Richa Educare Foundation (PREF) is one such NGO in east UP contributing towards education of a girl child by providing them the requisite career guidance and the necessary resources so that they become much more knowledgeable of the job market and the occupations which can be chosen by them.