Why Many Indian Girls Do Not Go to School and What We Can Do ?

1_newIn this age of global educational institutions, National Sample Survey Organisation of India says that about 15 percent girls never attend school as compared to 11 percent boys(and think that world’s first university was founded by a woman). As the kids grow older, the gap in their educational status between widens and widens and becomes a huge one with huge implications over time. That is why I wrote this post for #​Selfies4School campaign by Breakthrough.

Why is this so?

Let’s Talk.

Here are some well known and talked about reasons.

Paucity of Resources

Lack of resources tempts people to prefer boys over girls to spend. They think that to invest in boys’ education is more profitable than to invest in girls’ education.

Paraya Dhan Attitude

Society believes that girls are Paraya Dhan- bound to go to ‘Other People’s House’ so often they do not want to invest in girl’s education.

Old Beliefs

Old belief that girls should not study above a certain level is a big obstacle in the ways of girls’ education.

Parents Attitude

Most of us believe that important reasons for girls’ drop-out takes place because of the belief amongst parents that girls do not need much or according to some do not even education  and because their help is needed at home front

Early Marriage

Early marriage is a major impediment on the girl’s road to a meaningful education and/or a degree. The marriage blocks her education in most of the cases.

According to a paper of Vimla Ramchandran there are many other  reasons as well:

  • Just Being a Girl
  • Being the Oldest child
  • School That is far away
  • Burden of work at home and outside
  • Dowry (more education needs a larger dowry)
  • Safety of girl
  • Lack of Toilets

    Parents are not only culprits in girls’ education as society often believe. Just being a girl is an important and often enough reason to and factors like early marriage and domestic work also affect the already bleak scenario significantly. However, the lack of a school in the vicinity is also a significant factor.Moreover, even more critical than this are  having disabled sibling, being oldest sibling and also her safety and security at school and on the road too. Keeping the fact in mind that girls even in urban India are not safe from perverts, one can imagine the scene around a village girl. Eve-teasing at school and college and fear of kidnapping and sexual attack on the way to school is always present and perhaps increasing if we consider the recent media coverage. Lack of toilets
     for girls in most schools is another huge and important factor. Menstruating girls often drop out because of this lack.So the most important reason why girls are not being educated is not because of parents’ reluctance to send the girl to school but also because of lack of infrastructure and lack of moral behavior amongst some people around the girls. Human trafficking has reached massive proportions in India and village girls are most vulnerable.

    P.S-> I am a teacher have written this post with valuable inputs from my students many of them are girls like the campaign mascot Uma with her scarf flying like a cape.     


Link(s),Source(s) and Inspiration(s):

A Wide Angle View of India

Vimla Ramchandran’s paper

The Campaign by BreakThrough

The Scenario around Us


My students


About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
This entry was posted in Education, India, Learning Initiative and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Why Many Indian Girls Do Not Go to School and What We Can Do ?

  1. Shashi Wala says:

    Agreed with most of the points. Infact most of the people would list somewhat similar reasons .being a girl I have experienced that ‘profit-loss’ calculating attitude myself too. Speaking of the ground level, we need to think and possibly have empathetic attitude that means to put yourself on the girls’ place, wear their shoes, feeling their pains and problems. After the “great feminine responsibility” of kitchen n households, does she spare the courage to compete with their male counterparts. They are continuously humiliated for those frailties that are not inherent .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. singhalka says:

    It’s the story of each n every female of our society. With all these stereotypes, the safety and security concern is the root cause which prevents the girl child from schooling and further education. But when the women are not secured at home, what can we expect from outside. There are plenty of rights, Laws and regulations which encourages the education of girls, but who to be blamed for the realistic picture – the family, the education system, todays’ entertainment models such as movies, internet, tv shows, social stereotype or something else. The root cause can be traced in the home, the female’s status in family . . . then many other factors are also there. Sensitivity and Respect towards female as a human being cannot be given by training after a particular age, rather it should be imparted from the childhood starting from the family, school, peer group, neibourhood…etc., only then we can give a prestigious status to females of our society. It’s like a dream that will come true when we all apply it together. It is a more idealistic view . . . but we can hope to make it realistic soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is worst situation in our country since many Indian girls do not used to go to school after achieving education up to a certain level say higher secondary or even graduation level due to lack of proper resources and availability of infrastructures but also due to panic of kidnapping, human trafficking, in everyone’s mind who care for school going girls. many of them are thinking in same way that their daughter / sister is growing to young and just some minor mistake by them will results liable to go down deep trouble due to unwanted happening with her.
    however , our central as well as state governments have planted and runs so many schemes for appreciation of level of education of those girls who don’t used to go to school. …some of these schemes are…KANYA VIDHYA DHAN, HAMARI BETI USKA KAL, LAPTOP AND TABLET VITRAN YOGNA,etc. besides these schemes there are plenty of efforts by governments for girls at low level school education such as MID DAY MEAL SCHEME, SERVE SHIKSHA BHIYAAN , SCHOOL CHALO ABHIYAN etc

    so these are the efforts made by governments to promote school education of girls….but there is also need that parents of those girls must change their attitude regarding education of school going girls .they must realize that education is most necessary for girls .it is also worth to note here that “” if we provide education to boy than only one family will get benefits …but if we provide education to a girl than that girl after her marriage will be able to educate their kids ..outcome will be that whole society and nation will get benefited .


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Interesting post. This is a really important problem. Gender inequality starts in childhood. I heard in a WaterAid campaign recently that in rural India and many other developing countries, girls are expected to gather the water. If the only water source is far away, this task will cut into her time so much that she may not have time to go to school.
    I think for a complex issue like this, attention needs to be paid to the families, the schools, and also the wider communities.


  5. Kashif Mahmood says:

    Gender gap in literacy level is more evident in both Indian and Pakistani society (I am not wrong to say that both have shared culture and values for centuries ) due to multitude factors. Following discussion is based on my PhD dissertation (Mahmood, 2014) :
    Parents give more attention to the education of a son than a daughter in Indian Society. Desire of son is an universal desire that is present in all couples but with a different intensity in each couple. Desire of son is also responsible for a large family size in both Indian and Pakistani society. It is more intense in an uneducated and poor family couples because male members are the bread winners in families. Having son is also a symbol of prestige in such families. A couple who has more boys than girls is considered to be lucky and everyone tries his/her best to become lucky through taking as many chances as possible through consecutive births just like a lottery ticket , in case of birth of daughter , they console themselves through saying that they will get a son next time.
    In some illiterate families, men torture women if they are unable to produce a son. They consider that woman is responsible for the birth of a daughter. Family size becomes larger and larger due to the desire of son. If first child is daughter, they take second attempt to get son, if second is also daughter, they take third attempts and they continue to produce children until they get a son. I have seen many families in Pakistan in which couples don’t like large family size but the desire of son compelled them for large family size because the first five, six or seven children are daughters but most of them did not get a son and women reached at menopause.
    Preference for male offspring to female offspring affects sex ratio of population (Christian, 1995). Parents give more value to son and desire of sons influence fertility in Indian society. Women with small number of sons or no son may continue child bearing (Chaudhuri, 2012). Demand for additional children depends on the presence of son in family. Desire of son influences family size in both rural and urban areas.
    The desire for children was also examined in terms of existing children. Workers who have more sons were less likely to desire another child; however, those with 2 living daughters desired 1.63 more children and those with 1 of each desired .85 more children. Those with 2 sons desired .67 more children. The number of additional children desired decreases with the increasing number of living children, and with increasing numbers of living sons (Farooqui, 1990).
    Various dramas and movies were made to highlight the issue of desire of son and importance of daughters and the major objective for these productions is to create awareness of equality of son and daughter in both indian and Pakistani society. Pakistani movie “Bol” (Speak) represented the true picture of male dominated Pakistani society in which main character is Hakeem (Quack of herbal medicines) who is a father of 12 daughters and one transgender. His quest for a male successor in family results into large family size. Film focused on the problems of a religious family in which using family planning is considered a sin and desire of son results into the births of 12 daughters and one transgender. One daughter stood against the cruelties of a father who represents the male dominated society. The film primarily objects to the idea of reproducing human beings into this world (blinded by faith and self-centered intentions) without taking complete responsibility of their existence. Concurrently, it also highlights the regressive attitude of a male-dominated society that offers no liberty to woman in choosing life-partner, refusing reproduction, gaining education or working independently (“Bol (film),” 2014; “Bol English Subtitles Trailer,” 2011; Malani, 2011; Mansoor, 2011). This film received a lot of criticism from the Ulemas and conservatives people both at national and international level. (Maqsood, 2011; Naik, 2011)
    Early marriages are also responsible for widening gender gap in education level in the Indian and Pakistani society . Early marriage means the marriage that is practiced at early ages like 18 or 19 and even below 16 years. We are not wrong to say it a child marriage in some cases. Early marriages were being practiced for many centuries in the Indian continent and it is still in practice in both Indian and Pakistani society. It resulted into the large family size and widened gein Pakistan. Females become victim of this tradition because in most cases it is a girl who is forced to do marriage before the legal age of marriage. Legal age of the marriage for male is 18 years and for female is 16 years in Pakistan but there is no authority to punish those who are involved in marrying their girls before the legal age. This tradition is being practiced in the rural Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and some parts of the rural Punjab. It is also common in illiterate urban families. This tradition exists in all parts of Pakistan but its intensity varies from regions to regions.
    Sex outside marriage is a sin in the both Indian and Pakistani society and the only way to fulfill sexual desire is through the marriage. Islam also instructs parents to do marriages of their children as early as possible for diminishing the immoral act of sex outside marriage which is strictly forbidden in Islam and punishment is very severe in the religion. As a result, religious people do the marriages of their children at early ages.
    In illiterate families, People do not send their children specially daughters to the school. Girls do household work and parents consider them a burden. They try to marry their daughters as early as possible and in some cases below the legal age of marriage. They try to marry their daughter as soon as possible after puberty or in some cases before puberty for avoiding any misshapen like sex relation with another boy than the husband. Arranged marriage is the norm.
    Condition is reversed in the educated families in which parents do not consider daughters as a burden. They provide all opportunities of education to their children without any gender discrimination. The First priority is education and career. Completing education and finding a job delay the age at marriage to 25 to 35 years but at the same time a illiterate couple starts their marriage at 17 or 18 years, has already 6 to 8 children but they are still young and motivated to add more children for increasing their family size.
    Poverty is also cause of early marriages and dropping of girls from schools. Old rich men exploited the poverty of families and parents are ready to do marriage of their 16 /18 or even in some cases below 16, to an above 40 or 50 or even 60 year rich man. It is in the instinct of male to attract towards tender age females so older men are also responsible for continuation of this tradition in Pakistani society.
    There is no doubt in it that illiteracy is the root of all social evils in the Pakistani society. It is also responsible for large family size. Illiterate couples continue to produce children without seeing economic and health consequences on their family. They feel proud and consider themselves lucky in having large number of children especially more sons. They don’t have awareness of family planning methods and Ulemas instigate them to avoid family planning in the mosque.
    Literate couples can understand the economic and health consequences of a large family size so they limit their family size according to their resources and give a proper education along with other facilities to their children. Literate women have more knowledge of family planning methods than illiterate women (Rehman, M.Satiruddin, & Qureshi, 2002; Sultan, 2003).Women having higher education level had lower fertility in Pakistan (Zeba Ayesha Sathar, 1984).
    Education appears to affect fertility because it delays marriage’s age and thus reduces life-time exposure to the risk of childbearing. It also induces women to marry men with higher incomes (a phenomenon that either reduces the cost of fertility regulation or the demand for children). It leads women to become employed in the formal sector (leading to a reduction in the demand for children). These findings lend support to increased investments in female education in urban Pakistan as a means of limiting the childbearing of married women. Although it is not clear if investment in female education would have the same effect in rural Pakistan, such action is important from a human and economic development perspective (Zeba A Sathar & Mason, 1993). It is an admitted fact that education has important role in controlling fertility in Pakistan (Basu, 2002; Diamond, Newby, & Varle, 1999; Jeffery & Basu, 1996).
    To sum up, desire of son, male dominated society, family structure, early marriages, poverty and low social status of women in both indian and Pakistan society is responsible for widened gender gap in education.

    Kashif Mahmood , Univeristé D’Orleans , France


    Basu, A. M. (2002). Why does education lead to lower fertility? A critical review of some of the possibilities. World Development, 30(10), 1779-1790.
    Bol (film). (2014). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bol_%28film%29
    Bol English Subtitles Trailer. (2011). from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_DxgZU5yoI
    Chaudhuri, S. (2012). The Desire for Sons and Excess Fertility: A Household-Level Analysis of Parity Progression in India. International perspective on sexual and reproductive health, 38(4), 178–186.
    Christian, S. (1995). The desire for a son is the father of many daughters. Journal of Population Economics, 8(2), 185-203.
    Diamond, I., Newby, M., & Varle, S. (1999). Female education and fertility: examining the links. Critical perspectives on schooling and fertility in the developing world, 1999, 23-45.
    Farooqui, M. N. (1990). Son preference, fertility desire and contraceptive use in two largest cities of Pakistan. Pakistan Population Review, 1(1), 54-64.
    Jeffery, R., & Basu, A. M. (1996). Girls’ schooling, women’s autonomy and fertility change in South Asia: Sage.
    Mahmood, K. (2014). Transition urbaine et structures familiales au Pakistan, le cas de Faisalabad. (PhD), Université D’Orléans France.
    Malani, G. (2011). Bol: Movie Review, The Times of India. Retrieved from http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news-interviews/Bol-Movie-Review/articleshow/9795843.cms
    Mansoor, S. (Writer). (2011). Bol Pakistan.
    Maqsood, T. (2011). BOL the Anti Islamic Movie BOL – Movie kay Kufria Aqaid (Mufti Tariq Masood) from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oddpg4JZOSk
    Naik, Z. (2011). Re: Dr.Zakir Naik to Shoaib Mansoor Movie Bol (About Family Planning) Retrieved 08.05.2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOiMaZj7q8Y
    Rehman, S. A., M.Satiruddin, & Qureshi, Z. u. (2002). Education and marriage : A case study of college teachers of Karachi. Pakistan Geographical Review, 57(1&2), 85-98.
    Sathar, Z. A. (1984). Does female education affect fertility behaviour in Pakistan? The Pakistan Development Review, 573-590.
    Sathar, Z. A., & Mason, K. O. (1993). How female education affects reproductive behavior in urban Pakistan. Paper presented at the Asian and Pacific Population Forum.
    Sultan, R. S. (2003). A comparative study of knowledge attitude and practice of family planning among literate and illiterate women of karachi city, Pakistan. Paper presented at the Population research and policy development in Pakistan, Faisalabad, Pakistan.


  6. Kashif Mahmood says:

    I feel pleasure in permitting you to incorporate points in yours post with citation -Mahmood (2014).


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