Education plays a critical role in the development of a nation whether it is social or economic growth. A nation can be educated in the real sense of the term, when its entire population is educated. Over the years, India’s literacy rate has improved manifold from 12% in 1947 to 74.4% in 2011. Even though, the literacy rate is still below the average of 84% around the world. As per 2011 census report, out of 77,84,54,120 individuals who are considered literate in India, 44,42,03,762 of them are male and 33,42,50,358 are female.
If you look at the percentage of educated people, there is a huge gap between male (82.14%, in 2011) and female (65.46%, in 2011) literacy rates in India. Low women literacy rate has a huge negative impact on the overall growth and development of the society – where women are majorly responsible for child care and development. As per research results, it is proved that children who are taken care by educated mom are well-nourished and have all-rounded development. Though slow, in the last decade (2001-2011) the gender gap is seen to be narrowing rapidly – women literacy rate has been growing at 11.8% and men at 6.9%.
Why Education is Indispensable for Women?
As per a UN report, education for women is the single most effective way to improve lives and health of a family and a society at large. A woman with education is a powerful person, she has the power to educate the children in her family, guide them in taking decisions, contribute economically and offer valuable inputs for improvement on home and social front. Women constitute almost half of a country’s population, when 50% of the population is denied education – a nation remains underdeveloped. Empowered women contribute to the development of the society, community and nation in numerous ways.
Education is the most important power that shape the lives of mankind. It empowers with the ability to think, reason, take appropriate decisions and protect oneself from oppression & abuse. However, in most of the developing world around the globe including India, women are often denied of education opportunities. Even though, women constitute 48% of the total population in India – the women literacy rate in urban area is 79.11% as against 88.76% males, and the figures are even lower in the rural scenario where 57.93% women are literate as against 77.15% literate males. In 2014, India GDP growth ranges between 4.6% – 5.3% (1st – 3rd Quarter) and this growth percentage can be drastically improved if women are educated and starts contributing equally economically.
Benefits of Women Education
- Women who are educated are able to take charge of their future
- They earn and contribute to their family income
- Women who are educated help reduce child and maternal mortality
- Educated women are better equipped to take care of their children
- They are less likely to be taken advantage of and lowers exposure to domestic abuse
- Have great confidence and takes right decisions
- Contributes in a positive way to the society and the nation at large
- When women are included in key decision-making positions, they take holistic decisions for the development of the society
- Including women in politics tend to have different growth dimensions
‘Educating a boy is educating a person…Educating a girl is educating a nation’, this statement is 100% true.
Many surveys and studies worldwide have demonstrated that educating women is the single most profitable investment in terms of well-being of children health, community welfare and building long-term success of developing countries. Education opens a whole new world of opportunities for a girl, it gives her the confidence to tackle different problems of life, become economically independent, make better choices, resolve family or community issues satisfactorily, stand for her rights and guide her children.
Over the years, the literacy rate among Indian women has increased and as per an article in one of India’s leading newspapers – women enrollment for higher studies have increased from 10% (during Independence) to 41.5% in 2011. Indian government has launched a number of programmes to encourage primary, secondary and higher education for women. However, the progress is albeit slow but moving steadily. The journey to become a successful nation, begins with Universal Education for Women. India can reach its true potential as a nation only when its women population are equipped with the power of education.
Author Name: Y Sunita Devi, Content Lead, ThinkVidya.com