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Educating ourselves through girls

‘When you educate a man you educate an individual; when you educate a woman you educate a whole family.’

This quote by Robert Morrison MacIver, which states the Multiplier Effect of women’s education and empowerment, is backed by data. But these figures also declare how dismal are the state of affairs when it comes to women’s education.

Discrimination against girls is seen at every step. Education of girls is seen as unnecessary, as their aim is to be married and fulfill their reproductive duties. Superstitions also rule here, educating a woman was seen to have repercussions in her husband, saying he would die if the wife is literate. Similar, to caste, women had a place in society and there were methods to make sure no one challenges it. However, the situation is changing. Our freedom struggle showed how women could be an asset and were no less than men. Notably, the first supporters of Gandhi were women. Recently, the amount of women joining the workforce is increasing. This has obviously led to a greater impact on women education.

My reflections on education and its concerns with women are also through personal experiences. Coming from a highly segregated society when it comes to gender, been schooled in an all-female environment, I never felt I was less than a boy, having participated in all sports and different academic subjects. There were obviously, some INDIVIDUALS who might have not been not that good in an aspect. However, I never assumed it was due to gender. In college, I noticed some small things which have been backed by analyses. Studies have shown how women tend to build more leadership skills in an all female environment than a coeducational one. There is a tendency to take a backseat when males are present. My co-educational college has had rarely any women running for college president post. There is a need to expose any unconscious apprehensions that occurs in our society. Women need a space to know that their opinions matter.

Girls have done better than boys in the board exams (common exams for 12th standard students) in India. However, this is not seen after school. There are a lot of societal pressures for girls to be married by a certain age, which dissuades them to take academics seriously. Women are characterized to be suitable at the social sciences than any technical subjects. There is no overt discrimination, however, data has shown how girls do not choose to study mathematics and sciences at higher degree. Glass ceilings are an evident phenomenon, where the prospect of women entering the higher position in an organization is difficult. This is seen in the academic sphere, where high posts/professors (even in the social science departments) are men!

Education as a mean is an important. Educating girls is important, but the kind of education imparted also has place. India, known for its bias toward girls, has many issues it needs to tackle. Economics, I feel plays an important part to it. When women can be and are economically independent, their worth in society rises, despite any ingrained prejudiced. However, we also need to make the infrastructure and security for women to have this chance.

Education, as an end itself, making sure we have enlightened individuals. This would be done best if we concentrate on women, as women are caregivers of society and help in developing a more conscience society. Their influence and impact of educating a girls, themselves leads to educating a family, a society, a world.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Katalina's picture


Thanks for your story on education for women. All the Best, Katalina

Dear gayatrip,

Thank-you for sharing your experiences - your observations about college-education really is an eye-opener. I hope you will continue to use WorldPulse as a platform to share your ideas about how to overcome these barriers.


Gaurav Nakhare
WP Listener

Hello, Gayatrip~

It was such a pleasure to read your essay! You had so many great points to make, and I especially appreciated how you gave examples to support your thesis from your own experience. I look forward to the chance to hear more about life in India and what it is that supports women like you to speak out, achieve, analyze, and write.

Isn't it puzzling, that, as you point out, women often seem to be choosing on their own to not pursue power, education, self development. The power of tradition is strong -- and is the power of a woman in the process of allowing her voice to express her heart and mind -- even stronger?

I appreciate the power of your words, Gayatrip ~


Speaking my Peace

Thank you, Gayatrip, for your essay. You point out the barriers to education for girls that come from both the outside (traditional practices) and from the inside (how a girl sees herself). I think it is very important to be aware of both, in order to take action that will support the growth you want and in fact accelerate that growth.

For example, you have given a lot of thought to this topic and in the process maybe you feel stronger in your conviction about what you want for your own life. At the same time, the people you come in contact with are nourished by your inner strength and intention, and perhaps they begin to entertain possibilities they might not have stopped to consider before.

Things are changing for and within girls and women, and as you say, this "leads to educating a family, a society, a world." I wish you well on your journey.;


Lorraine Cook

Together let us create "an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on the planet" now.

yvonnegemandze's picture

Inspiring Journal

Thank your gayatrip for sharing

Your journal is full of hope for women in India in particular and the world at large. I also strongly share your views that women should get more involved in school politicing so that, they can prepare their ways into national politics once they are out of school. By this, more women will be represented in paliaments and in senates to protect the interest of their fellow women.

I am glad your were able to achieve education in a country like india which has recorded a high level of discrimination against girls over the last few decates. Hope other girls in india copy your example.

Keep posting on World Pulse

Yvonne Riwuya Gemandze
Chief Administrative Officer and Researcher
Center for Independent Development Research, Cameroon
Junior Chamber International (JCI) Cameroon National Vice President
+237 70212069

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