Breaking Down Barriers to Girls’ Education
All girls and young women have a human right to access high-quality education.
Based on data, the global community committed in 2015 to delivering high-quality education to every kid by 2030.
Every day, girls are facing barriers to education due to poverty, child marriage and gender-based violence, cultural norms and practices, and poor infrastructure.
The education and development of the girl child and their education can be improved by providing educational infrastructure and quality of education, transportation facilities, availability of basic facilities, scholarships and various financial assistance.
1.Identifying The Barriers:
Girls’ education is very important for the development of our society. Every educated girl not only makes the family educated and financially strong but also has the power to change the mindset of the society.
But due to some narrow social and cultural values, girls do not get as much freedom as they want. When girls want to go out, society or family puts a lot of obstacles on them.
Girls’ education is not just about attracting girls to school, it is about acquiring the knowledge and skills to compete in society, acquiring the social, emotional and life skills that are necessary to adapt to the changing world . Which helps them make decisions about their lives and contribute to their communities.
According to studies, educating girls reduces poverty and violence, prevents child marriage, and creates a healthier, wealthier, and more equitable society. If this is true, then why is society erecting such complex barriers for girls to be able to do this, from social norms to geographical norms? Are they not able to unleash their potential and take significant steps towards ending extreme poverty?
Girls encounter numerous obstacles in their pursuit of an education. Child marriage, poverty, and inadequate school infrastructure are just a few of the obstacles preventing females from attending education and realizing their potential.
There are numerous challenges for girls in the field of education. Several barriers, including inadequate school infrastructure, child marriage, and poverty, hinder females from attending school and realizing their aspirations.
1.1 Social & Cultural Barriers –
When females wish to advocate for themselves in our culture, they have to overcome numerous challenges. Girls face a lot of social pressure to pursue their educational goals.
Girls have to face gender discrimination in our society. Society gives more importance to boys than girls. Boys can freely go out of their house for anything, but girls have to do the main household chores even before going to school like fetching water, cooking, taking care of small children, cleaning and many more.
Child marriage has become a serious challenge towards girls’ education. In many cultures, girls are married at an early age. And after marriage, instead of focusing on education, taking care of the family is considered the ultimate goal.
Girls who marry early are forced to drop out of school and complete fewer years of school than their friends who marry later. According to the report of WHO, more than 41000 girls under the age of 18 are getting married every day.
Girls face early pregnancy and violence from their partners. This affects the health and abilities of their children.
Socio-cultural values influencing girls’ education include lifestyle, shopping habits, education, religion, beliefs, values, demography, social class, sexuality and attitudes.
1.2 Economic Barriers —
Economic barriers are also considered one of the biggest barriers to girls’ education. When a family is facing poverty, basic needs like water, food and basic health come first rather than providing education for their children, especially their girls.
According to statistics, on an average, 55% of women in low and middle income families can achieve education.
Girls are compelled to leave school in order to work and provide financial assistance for their families because of poverty.
Spending money on school is something that many families would rather do for their sons than for their daughters.
1.3 Concerns About Safety and Security:
When it comes to girls’ education, safety is a major worry.
When it comes to girls, parents worry a great deal about their safety before letting them go.
Girls are 2.5 times more likely than males to miss school in FCV (fragility, conflict, and violence) countries.
Girls’ access to education is increasingly being hampered by a lack of safe transportation options and travel-related safety concerns.
Parents frequently dissuade girls from traveling large distances for school because they are worried about their safety.
The most recent statistics shows that 246 million children suffer violence in and around schools annually, and around 60 million girls are sexually raped while traveling to or from school.
1.4. Lack Of Infrastructure :-
Lack of necessary infrastructure, shortage of teachers and low quality education are causing girls to drop out of school.
Facilities like water, toilet, cleanliness, hygiene are the basic things which a girl needs the most.
Due to lack of all these essential things, girls shy away from going to school or are forced to leave school and their education.
2.1 Investing In School Infrastructure And Resources –
The most crucial elements of school infrastructure include raising the standard of instruction for female students, enhancing the building’s infrastructure, hiring certified instructors, and providing classrooms, playgrounds, libraries, restrooms, and drinking water.
Effective infrastructure raises student performance, lowers school dropout rates, and improves education overall. Girls have the right to clean toilets, sanitary facilities, menstrual protection items etc. By providing all these facilities, the proportion of girls receiving education can be improved.
2.2 Providing Scholarships And Financial Aid –
Poverty is a serious concern for girls’ education. Girls’ chances of attending school can be increased by providing adequate financial facilities and educational expenditure.
Some other solutions include providing financial assistance, such as scholarship or cash transfer programs, reducing or eliminating school fees, etc.
The targeted poverty alleviation initiative will help families who struggle to afford school fees, uniforms and other educational expenses to send their girls to school.
2.3 Enforcement Of Laws For Girls’ Child Safety –
According to UNICEF report , 80% of child marriages can fall down if higher education is provided to girls . Often, early marriage results in untimely end of girls’ education. By implementing the govt has secured early marriage of children.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development also implemented various special laws for the protection of women like-
- Domestic violence Act ,2005,
- Child Marriage Act 2006 ,
- Dowry provision Act, 1961,
- Indecent Representation of Women ( Prohibition) Act, 1986,
- The commission for protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 and
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act ,2012. etc .
2.4 Promoting STEM Education And Career Opportunities –
The barriers to girls’ education can be lifted with the support of government initiatives pertaining to STEM education and girls’ education.
STEM is an acronym for Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering. It has the capacity to dismantle the societal barriers and challenges that the majority of females deal with on a daily basis.
Providing opportunities for girls to explore and excel in STEM subjects will help them become confident and understand their potential and develop strong self-belief.
IBM has taken the initiative to provide this benefit to girls. Through scholarships, career counseling and creating learning experiences.
It provides some opportunities and skills, so that girls can better themselves:-
- Arranging talks or seminars with successful women.
- It offers a workshop on Biological Sciences to girl students at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
- It offers scholarships worth $18600 to 284 girls and 147 boys.
- They provide interactive learning for teachers.
- Provide research based on experimental studies.
- Promote careers based on STEM subjects.
- It provides career awareness, gender awareness and self-awareness programs especially for girls. etc.
- Arranging interaction or seminars with successful women .
- It provides girls students a workshop on biological science at Indian Institute of Science , Bangalor
- It provides $ 18600 scholarships to 284 girls and 147 boys.
- They provide interactive learning for teachers .
- Provide research based on experimental studies .
- Boost career based on STEM subjects.
- It provides career awareness , gender awareness and self-awareness programs, especially for girls . etc.
The govt has also taken the initiative and brought law to improve girl’s education like:-
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme .
- Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidhyalaya scheme .
- Sukanya Samridhi Yojna
- National Means -Cum- Merit Scholarship Scheme . Etc.