Baba’s Explainer – Education and Women Liberation

  • IASbaba
  • September 29, 2022
  • 0
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  • GS-1: Women Issues
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Context: The Stri or the Female Energy is the mother of all gods, conqueror of all evil, dispenser of all boons in the Indian culture. This divine female energy is worshipped with intense adoration and devotion in India.

What is the contradiction that we witness in India with regard to women?
  • Yet, it is in India itself that we find the most intense contradiction towards the female shakti.
  • On one hand we surrender to the divine Durga to protect us and on the other hand we look down upon the feminine principle with condemnation, contempt, cause of all failures, source of lust and miseries.
  • An Indian woman suffers this wrath both in her mind and heart right from her birth. She struggles to understand her true role, position, and identity in human society.
  • Since ancient times women have not been denied legal, social, and educational rights in India but certainly in practise they have been more preoccupied and confined to domestic affairs and that is where their social subordination began.
  • Despite such subjugation, women have survived important roles such as bold householders, strong mothers, queens, administrators, warriors, elected representatives and leaders.
What has been the major concern of Women Across the Globe?
  • The battle for legal, civil, social, and educational equality is a central element of woman’s rights globally.
  • However, a deeper understanding of the women’s needs has revealed that in daily life they struggle to voice their objections and opinions, struggle to agree or disagree, condemn, or promote, speak, share, discuss, and struggle to manage, participate and lead.
  • Therefore, the battle is only half won if the women get access to education and opportunities but don’t get access to exercise their will.
  • Women across the globe may be characterized by diverse feminine approach to life, work, family, and society yet their basic emotional, psychological, physical, mental, intellectual, social, professional, and creative needs tie them together to a common cause.
  • The common cause being-women across the globe want to be active participants and decision makers in their own lives and refuse the passivity that is expected of them.
  • A modern progressive woman prides herself with all her feminine virtues. She wishes to embrace her own self in entirety and break out of an oppressed state so that she can realize her own untapped full potential.
  • Women today are capable of and want to accumulate the advantages of both the sexes, but she is not willing to pay an unfair price for achieving For instance, a young mother wants the right to work or not to work to lie within the domain of her decision-making powers.
  • She wishes to be able to make a choice where she wishes to strike a balance between her motherhood and professional duties and yet not labelled as irresponsible and selfish. Such a state of choice with dignity would be true liberation for a young mother.
What role does education play in women liberation?
  • There are several factors that influence poorer literacy rates in women as compared to men, the biggest and most crucial factors being inequality and sex-based discrimination.
  • This discrimination pushes the girl child to either never be born (female infanticide) or the woman to be predominantly pushed into household affairs.
  • Low enrolment rates, high dropout rates, social discrimination, unsafe public spaces, prioritizing boy child education are some other important factors that negatively influence female education.
  • However, when a girl is educated, she is empowered. She can make her own decisions, raise the standard of living for her family and children, create more job opportunities, and reform society as a whole. As a result, a shift in attitudes toward girl child education in India is urgently needed.
  • If all girls complete their education and participate in the workforce, India could add a whopping $770 billion to the country’s GDP by 2025.
  • Denying women access to equal and quality education opportunities encourages gender segregation and stereotypical behaviour in society.
  • Creating gender neutral learning environments can serve as a steppingstone to quality socialization. This in turn can help in creating favourable position for women in creative, scientific, technological, professional endeavours and lessen their personal and social struggles.
  • Any society that denies and discourages women from boldly participating in the learning process is only encouraging biased patterns that are deeply rooted in promoting the influential masculine identity.
  • Quality education can help both men and women understand these deep-seated issues in our society, raise their collective and individual levels of awareness, understand the importance of all people, irrespective of sex.
  • Also, in order to ensure sustainable development, it has become imperative to recognize the importance of all the sexes.
Important Statistics (Value addition for answers)
  • As per statistics presented by UNICEF, 129 million girls are out of school around the world, including
    • 32 million of primary school age
    • 30 million of lower-secondary school age
    • 67 million of upper-secondary school age.
  • It is estimated every year, 23 million girls in India drop out of school after they begin menstruating due to lack of sanitary napkin dispensers and overall hygiene awareness in schools.
  • As per National Survey of India, Literacy Rate in India has increased from 73% in 2011 to 77.7% in 2022, however it still stands behind the global literacy rate which stands at 86.5% (as per UNESCO).
  • Of the 77.7% Indian literacy rate in 2022, male literacy rate stands at 84.7% and female literacy rate stands at 70.3% as compared to global average female literacy rate of 79% (as per UNESCO).
What is the way forward?
  • The way forward for India and humans in general is to treat the Female Shakti (The Feminine Powerhouse) with respect, deep regard, equal access to experiences, learning and opportunities.
  • All sexes should be allowed to find, above all sexual differences, their full inner potential.
  • India, the land of diversity and contrast, India the ardent worshipper of the Shakti-The Durga can perhaps lead mankind into human success based in deep regard for the deep inner potential, intellectual prowess and ingenuity of women. Denying women their due place is denying mankind its due success.

Main Practice Question: Why educating women is more important than we realize?

Note: Write answers to this question in the comment section.

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