“The hand that rocks the cradle, the pro-creator, the mother of tomorrow; a woman shapes the destiny of civilization. Such is the irony, that a beautiful creation such as the girl child is today one of the gravest concerns facing humanity.”
When we look into areas of ushering change; when we talk high about empowering women, encouraging change; education of the girl child is most pressing. “When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family.” This thought is manifold; self-confidence, intelligence, determination and independence are what education endows a woman with paving the way for her to make a progressive family.
If we delve deeper into this, we can certainly understand that girls not attending school, seem to be higher in number than boys. Millions of girls every single year are denied accesses to protection, psycho-social support and most importantly the right to education. Owing to this, girls are being continually subjected to sexual assault, domestic violence and deprived childhood. Sexual health and reproductive rights are contravened every single day and most women stay mute!
The blessing is that, India contains in her a steel determination in reaching education to all her children, predominantly her girls. India has proudly declared education as a fundamental right which secures constitutional provisions for the girl child to receive compulsory free education. Campaigns like the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ reiterate the importance of elementary education and its effect on our society.
Often educated women too are subject to persecution which restricts their inner potential from impacting the country’s development. Complete denial of independence aggravates gender inequalities and prepares women to remain in confinements perpetually. All of this subjugation stems primarily from prejudice that abounds in our society. ‘Girls are irrational, domestic beings and most importantly slow learners, then why bother educating them?’ is the thought that governs most minds.
This thought needs to change. It is time we start observing women as winds of change! A boorish ignorant mother soon needs to be wiped away from India’s face so that matters of hygiene and sanitation can be taught to the girl child right from her tender years. Malnourishment, a living illustration of this problem needs to be tackled vehemently by both the government and the society so that the health of the girl child is not compromised upon.
Programmes like ‘Mahila Samakhya Program’, ‘National Program for Education of Girls at Elementary Level’ (NPEGEL), ‘Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme’, are all initiatives by the government to ensure that the girl child is not bereft of education but unfortunately the scenario has not changed much. The question that still remains unanswered is ‘why’. ‘Why hasn’t there been change when it was expected too?’
The problem is not with the state apparatus, the problem exists in the mind. It is the way of thinking that needs to be changed; people’s commitment towards educating a girl needs to be concrete. It needs to be all pervasive. From somewhere we have to start and the change needs to initiate with us! Further we can diffuse this thought to those who would care to listen. A tiny step today will definitely metamorphose into a giant leap tomorrow!
Do write back to us and tell us how we can open up more avenues and opportunities for the girl child. Collectively as a nation what else can be done to empower the girl child.