What Happens When Girls are Stopped from Going to Schools?

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What Happens When Girls are Stopped from Going to Schools?
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Effects of Lack of Female Education

It’s always a good idea to circle back to the basics when feeling disillusioned with what we’re doing in our lives. One wrong action has the power to create ripple effects somewhere else. Effects of lack of female education are gravely concerning.

If girls are stopped from getting an education in one part of the world; a family member might halt it elsewhere. So, this topic needs revisit to ensure that girl child education remains relevant at all policy and implementation decisions.

Education benefits women and girls and this is a fact. Many studies and reports have time and again argued for continuing education for girls and women. Reports have listed the many benefits of education like reduced child and maternal deaths, improved child health, and lower fertility. 

Women who have been fortunate enough to receive some formal education are more likely than uneducated women to use contraception, marry later, have fewer children, and overall take better decisions regarding their health, and the needs of their families. 

What Does The Data Say?

However the potential economic benefits associated with a robust working population are lost when half the population is not educated. They are unable to prove livelihoods for themselves and their families and this problem plagues our country even today.

Not Just in India

Conflict zones, radical regimes and war torn countries are the ones which record the lowest number in girl child education. For them, educating girl children is their least priority.  

International communities have identified that nine of the top 10 countries which make girls’ education difficult and a taboo are in sub-Saharan Africa. The only non-African country in the top 10 list is Afghanistan. Afghanistan with the highest level of gender disparity in primary school is in the top 5. Chad is fifth, followed by Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Ethiopia. 

All these are fragile countries have population that are at risk from poverty, ill health and displacement from war and conflict. In these countries, young girls work or do household chores than go to school. In some cases, they are married off  young, which ends their chance of any education even at a basic level.

Reasons for School Dropouts: Effects of Lack of Female Education

Even in countries with laws for girl child education, there is a huge number of school dropouts for these common reasons

  • Harmful gender stereotypes and wrongful gender stereotyping–

This is a persistent issue that we as a society deal with regularly.  The conditioning that “men are providers and women are mothers”  is archaic and irrelevant in today’s modern world.

  • Child marriage and early and unintended pregnancy– 

When girl children are taken out of schools and denied education, families tend to marry them off to offset living expenses to raise them. Although laws in India are very strict against child marriage, its prevalent amongst the marginalised and rural communities. They tend to look at girl children as a great burden to bear. 

An early marriage leads to early pregnancies which are several and take a toll on the health of both mother and child. Girls without an education are more likely to become child brides, more vulnerable to infectious diseases like HIV and more likely to die young.

  • Gender-based violence against women and girls– 

Another persistent malaise infecting the country. Constant violent attacks on women and girls have created an unwarranted atmosphere, making parents wary of sending them to school.  

  • Inadequate and unsafe school infrastructure, including sanitation–

This is probably the biggest reason why girl children drop out of school quickly and willingly.  Long distances to travel, unhygienic sanitation  facilities and a lack of security see a high dropout rate from school.

  • Poverty–

Taking out nearly 50% of the working population from school and depriving them of education will create a loss of $1,800,000,000,000 – that’s $1.8 TRILLION – in low-income countries alone.

What Concerns us as a Country and Society

Without quality education, the consequences for girls can be devastating. If the world neglects the girls’ education crisis across the globe, we could see these risks become a reality. 

As India records the youngest population in the world, all hands on deck is the way to achieve our dream of being a global economic superpower. The image of girls and transgenders leading this dream on an equal footing with boys will make the reality sweeter.

Smile Foundation and Girl Child Education

Smile Foundation’s girl child initiative, She Can Fly, is an effort to enable, equip and empower girl children with quality education, proper nutrition, good health, adequate skills, and above all a lot of self-confidence to help them live their lives to their fullest potential.

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