Education Problems Women

In spite of certain outstanding examples of individual achievement of Indian woman and a definite improvement in their general condition over the last one hundred years, it remains true that our woman still constitute a large body of under - privileged citizens. Women of course do not form a homogenous group in class or caste terms. Nevertheless, they face distinctive problems that call for special attention. The Backward Classes Commission set up by the Government of India in 1953 classified women of India as a backward group requiring special attention.

The ministry of Education clubs girls with Scheduled Castes and Tribes as the three most backward groups in education. Ram Manohar Lohia considered the lot of women to be similar to that of Harijans. Realizing the enormity of the problems of Indian women the Government of India has appointed a separate committee on the Status of Women in India, The social backwardness of Indian women points to the great hiatus between their legal status which is more or less equal to that of men, and their actual position in society, which is still far from the ideal which exists on paper. The educational, economic, political and social backwardness of women makes them the largest group hindering the process of rapid social change.

It is inevitable that when this ‘backward’ group has the major responsibility of bringing up future generations the advancement of society cannot be rapid or take any significant form of development. In the report of the committee appointed by the National Council for Women’s Education it was emphatically stated that what was needed to convert the equality of women from de jure to be facto status was widespread education for girls and women and a re-education of men and women to accept new and scientific attitudes towards each other and to themselves. A changing society and a developing economy can not make any headway if education, which is one of the important agents affecting the norms of morality and culture, remains in the hand of traditionalists who subscribe to a fragmented view of the country’s and the world’s heritage. The differences between the positions of men and women in society will not lessen; leave aside disappear, as long as there are differences between the education of men and women. Inadequate education or no education is the most important factor contributing to the backwardness of our masses, especially our womenfolk. It is the low literacy among women which brings national literacy figure so low.

This gap which exists between the literacy rates of the two sexes also exists between the enrolment of girls and boys at all levels of education. Right from the primary school to the university, we find that the number of girl students is considerable lower than the number of boy students. According to Article 45 of the Constitution, universal compulsory and free education until the age of 14 was to be achieved by the year 1960. Looking at the present condition of primary education in villages, it seems doubtful that 100 per cent enrolment of girls can be achieved by the end of this century. There is no doubt that we have made great headway in the education of women in the last century. It is unfortunately true of our society that children are sent to school not according to their intelligence or aptitude but according to their sex. Such attitudes need to be changed without further delay if we want to achieve 100 per cent enrolment of the primary school-going children. Although the disparity between the enrolment of girls and boys has been lessening in the urban areas, the gap between their enrolments is still very wide specially in rural areas. The reasons for this are both economic and social.

The economic structure of rural areas is such that children, especially girls, are required to help in household work and perform their chores. Young girls have to look after their younger brothers and sisters, have to get water from the well, have to carry food to the father in the field, etc. Since there is so much to be done at home, they cannot be spared for the luxury of attending a school. The resources of the poor farmer are so limited that he does not have anything to spare for the education of his children. If there are resources available it the boy who is sent to school first. Parents also do not see the value of educating their children specially daughters who would get married after all and be only housewives. Since they cannot see any direct relationship between education and economic betterment, they have very little motivation to send their children to school.

The following is the Table which shows the Gender disparity in Educating a female child.

Table - 8
India / States /
Union / territories
Literacy Rate
1991 2001
Total Males Females Index of Gender disparity Total Males Females Index of Gender disparity
Jammu & Kashmir N.A N.A N.A   54.46 65.75 41.82 22.94
Himachal Pradesh 63.94 75.41 52.26 18.90 77.13 86.02 68.08 12.14
Punjab 58.51 65.66 50.41 13.61 69.95 75.63 63.55 9.02
Chandigarh 77.81 82.04 72.34 6.51 81.76 85.65 76.65 5.75
Uttaranchal 57.75 72.79 41.63 28.17 72.28 84.01 60.26 17.16
Haryana 55.85 69.1 40.47 26.76 68.59 79.25 56.31 17.46
Delhi 75.29 82.01 66.99 10.42 81.82 87.37 75 7.89
Rajashthan 38.55 54.99 20.44 46.79 61.03 76.46 44.34 27.48
Uttar Pradesh 40.71 54.82 24.37 39.05 57.36 70.23 42.98 24.80
Bihar 37.49 51.37 21.99 40.92 47.53 60.32 33.57 29.38
Sikkim 56.94 65.7 46.76 17.37 69.68 76.73 61.46 11.44
Arunachal Pradesh 41.59 51.45 29.69 27.32 54.74 64.07 44.24 18.91
Nagaland 61.65 67.62 54.75 10.90 67.11 71.77 61.92 7.66
Manipur 59.89 71.63 47.6 20.95 68.87 77.87 59.7 13.77
Mizoram 82.27 85.61 78.6 4.45 88.49 90.69 86.13 2.69
Tripura 60.44 70.58 49.65 18.08 73.66 81.47 65.41 11.38
Meghalaya 49.1 53.12 44.85 8.79 63.31 66.14 60.41 4.73
Assam 52.89 61.87 43.03 18.60 64.28 71.93 56.03 12.91
West Bengal 57.7 67.81 46.56 19.23 69.22 77.58 60.22 13.09
Jharkhand 41.39 55.8 25.52 38.20 54.13 67.94 39.38 27.55
Orissa 49.09 63.09 34.68 30.22 63.61 75.95 50.97 20.50
Chhatisgarsh 42.91 58.07 27.52 37.17 65.18 77.86 52.4 20.39
Madhya Pradesh 44.67 58.54 29.35 34.12 64.11 76.8 50.28 21.60
Gujarat 61.57 73.39 48.92 20.75 69.97 80.5 58.6 16.34
Daman & Diu 71.2 82.66 59.4 17.06 81.09 88.4 70.37 11.61
Dadra & Nagar Haveli 40.71 53.56 26.98 34.09 60.03 73.32 42.99 26.38
Maharashtra 64.87 76.56 52.32 19.51 77.27 86.27 67.51 12.68
Andhra Pradesh 44.09 55.13 32.72 26.54 61.11 70.85 51.17 16.81
Karnataka 56.04 67.26 44.34 21.35 67.04 76.29 57.45 14.67
Goa 75.51 83.64 67.09 11.44 82.32 88.88 75.51 8.48
Lakshadweep 81.78 90.18 72.89 11.04 87.52 93.15 81.56 6.91
Kerala 89.81 93.62 86.17 4.33 90.92 94.2 87.86 3.64
Tamil Nadu 62.66 73.75 51.33 18.68 73.47 82.33 64.55 12.64
Pondicherry 74.74 83.68 65.63 12.61 81.49 88.89 74.13 9.46
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 73.02 78.99 65.46 9.67 81.18 86.07 75.29 6.93

The values of the index of gender disparity for various states of the country are given in table 8. It can be seen from the table that the value of gender disparity found to be more than 40 in two states namely Rajasthan and Bihar in 1991. In Rajasthan it has reduced from 46.79 in 1991 to 27.48 in 2001.  In Bihar it has reduced from 40.92 to 29.38 during the same period.  Though, the gender gap in literacy rate is relatively higher in Rajasthan than in Bihar in 2001 but the value of the index of gender disparity is higher (29.38) for Bihar than that (27.48) for the Rajasthan. In fact, proposed index of disparity also take into account of the over all literacy rate of the respective state (or district). In 2001, over all literacy rate of Bihar was very much lower (47.53%) than that (61.03%) for the Rajasthan.  Table also shows that, in 1991, 5 states \ UTs (Chandigarh, Mijoram, Meghalaya, Kerala and Andman & Nikobar) had values of gender disparity less than 10.  In 2001 all have shown decline in the gender disparity. Also, in 2001 Punjab, Delhi, Nagaland, Goa, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry added to this category i.e.; gender disparity less than 10.  State-wise values of the index of disparity indicate that in all the states and UTs gander gap in literacy rate has narrowed down.

It is still not being realized that there is definite connection between education, good motherhood and efficient house management. The management of millions of household and the upbringing of millions of children in thus is the hands of illiterate women. It is here that a change is required if our democratic and socialistic intensions are not to remain a mere pretence. People can be motivated to have their children educated only if educational system is directly linked with economic and social development. As long as our education remains oblivious of the felt needs of people to solve their immediate problems and on the contrary, actually alienates them from their natural, social and cultural surroundings, they will rightly resist sending their children to school. It is the area of primary education, especially in rural areas, which should be given maximum attention. Primary education for both girls and boys is what we should be concerned about while planning our policies and allocation funds. It is this sector of our education structure that gets neglected in favor of all sorts of institutes of ‘higher learning’ and ‘research’ of a kind that are neither relevant nor pertinent to our pressing problems. The role of women outside home is becoming an important and even essential feature of our present day reality.