Education is a basic human right, yet nearly half of India’s girls never make it to secondary school. Right now, approximately 225 million girls are under the age of 18 in India. That’s 225 million reasons to invest in girls’ education.
Girls face serious barriers to getting an education that boys do not.
While there has been meaningful progress in girls’ access to primary education over the last 25 years, the barriers to secondary education remain high. Nationwide, nearly a quarter of girls leave school before completing Class 5. And more than 40% of girls don’t complete secondary school.
Every girl has a right to education. And yet, at every step of her educational journey, there are a series of roadblocks awaiting the girl child. This includes societal, physical and infrastructural barriers. The onset of puberty, security and safety are serious concerns. Paid work, unpaid domestic work, marriage and mobility all bear on a girl’s ability to continue her education. Even if she manages to get to school, other barriers appear in the form of poor schooling processes, unsavory environment and curricular issues.
At the very core, a girl wants to be recognized as an individual with rights. But, she often lacks opportunity from before she is even born. And what persists at the heart of the issue are pervasive socio-cultural barriers around son preference and daughter discrimination that transcend class, caste and community.
Educating girls has powerful and positive far-reaching effects.
When girls are educated, families and communities thrive – educated girls grow up to have healthier children, whose children are also more likely to be educated and healthy. Every additional year of secondary school raises a girl’s future income by 10-20 percent; and if girls receive the same secondary school opportunities as boys, the Indian economy has the potential to grow by $33 billion per year. In short, educating girls isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
Dig deeper into the issues with these exciting resources:
- Learn from The World of India’s Girl’s, a powerful report from Save the Children India.
- Explore Girl Power, an in-depth report from DASRA about the power of educating India’s girls.
- Discover ways to celebrate India’s girls with the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign’s brochures in both Hindi and English.
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