It’s a fact universally acknowledged that when it comes to education in our country, often times it’s reserved as a right for boys. For girls, an education is an alternative and conforming to domestic roles is a necessity. After 70 years of Independence, it is fair to assume that women have access to basic facilities and rights are given to them. Women have the right to vote, free speech, right to compulsory and free education for all children between the ages of 6 and 14 is a fundamental right for all. So why is it that the overall literacy rate of India is 69.1%? Where women in rural India hold 58.6% to 72.3% male literacy rate and women in urban India hold 74.8% to 83.7% male literacy rate.


So why is it that the overall literacy rate of India is 69.1%? Where women in rural India hold 58.6% to 72.3% male literacy rate and women in urban India hold 74.8% to 83.7% male literacy rate.


What we need is to accept that women’s education is hindered at every stage of her life. A girl belonging to a rural family or economically backward sections of our society will either be allowed basic schooling or will not be allowed to go to school at all. What happens more often than not, is that the family asks their girls enrolled in school to quit because of the family. If a family member is ill, she’s asked to take care of them. If the mother is working, the girl stays home to take over domestic duties such as cooking and cleaning. If the family is struggling financially then the boy is provided education for whereas the girl is relegated at home.


What we need to accept that women’s education is hindered at every stage of her life. A girl belonging to a rural family or economically backward sections of our society will either be allowed basic schooling or will not be allowed to go to school at all.


In urban spaces, women have wider access to education but are often limited to schooling only. Our rigid patriarchal mind-set inculcates the need of education but only premature, so the girl is a good-enough candidate for marriage. And if these girls are allowed to pursue further studies, they are usually enrolled in ‘feminine subjects’ that would allowthem to enter into professions that do not have rigorous hours, enough holidays, close to home and would allow the family to come first.


And if these girls are allowed to pursue further studies, they are usually enrolled in ‘feminine subjects’ that would allow them to enter into professionals that do not have rigorous hours, enough holidays, close to home and would allow the family to come first.


Education for girls then is not a fundamental right, it’s a struggle. And in the midst of what our nation is seeing, it’s a fight. With the widespread news of violence against women, protests over the CAA and NRC bill, the environment of impending doom and the way the nation is struggling, the girls who fought for their education have witnessed a step-back. Over the last three years, India’s political agenda and its turmoil has bled into spaces of education and have violated what structures of knowledge stand for. We’ve witnessed vast protests in almost all our major universities and it would be impossible to not see the very obvious political link between attacking universities and shutting down these centers of learning.


Over the last three years, India’s political agenda and its turmoil has bled into spaces of education and have violated what structures of knowledge stand for. We’ve witnessed vast protests in almost all our major universities and it would be impossible to not see the very obvious political link between attacking the universities to silence the voice of the youth.


This is particularly dangerous for women and their struggles for education because even though we have seen women’s fight against claiming these safe spaces as grounds for violence and political stand-off, we’re also witnessing the patriarchal practice of infantilizing women and their families demanding their return because it’s “unsafe”. Our society has a notorious habit of sheltering women and finding reasons to cage them into domesticity, and it’s happening again. With news of public vandalism in universities, reported rapes in parks and public spaces, molestation in public transport and offices; women are being discouraged to even leave their homes.


We’re also witnessing the patriarchal practice of infantilising women and their families demanding their return because it’s “unsafe”. Our society has a notorious habit of sheltering women and finding reasons to cage them into domesticity, and it’s happening again.


This wave of not letting young girls go to school, drop out of colleges and even their jobs is a direct result of the horrifically large number of reported rape cases, violence in public spaces and office harassment. BetiBachaoBetiPadhao is a slogan that everyone is familiar with right now, but considering the sign of the times, a shift to BetiBachao, BetekoSikhao is long overdue.


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