In India, the better quality education expectations have been still seen as a dream to many poor or financially incapable. what we expect from the Indian government is that to provide a basic and good education system to all people irrespective of their financial status.
Gender equality in India is also still a dream for many. It always reminds us in a way that women are always lower in skills, qualifications, etc. Then men as the gender bias are always in favour of men in many realms including the workspace.
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India provides the right to education for all under Article 21-A, Provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years under Article 45. Every citizen also must provide education to their children which is even a fundamental duty mentioned under Article 51-A. The constitution of India also speaks about women’s equality. It says men and women equally have the right to an adequate means of livelihood under Article 39.
Gender Bias in Education
The world undoubtedly still has a barrier between men and women in terms of equality as basically the gender bias is in favour of men. Education plays an important role in curbing this gender bias once and for all. However, the irony is that even in today’s education system, especially in rural parts of India, gender bias is still carried out in various aspects. A girl faces so many challenges in school because of gender bias in society. Due to this, she is made to believe to have a stereotypical role rather than self-independence.
In the past, there was a dominant belief that girls do not need the same type/level of education as boys do. As a result, the men continued to dominate in every field.
Today girls are given opportunities and are gaining an upper hand in various aspects of social roles; nevertheless, the traditionally male-dominated society is still exerting some sort of gender bias in the educational sphere. The challenges posed by gender bias in the education sector would have a direct impact on determining the strength and capabilities of women. One has to understand that placing men and women at an equal level in society increases the value of women and their role in society. So providing equal education opportunities to both men and women improves the overall achievement of women and society as a whole.
Global Campaign for Education (GCE) followed a survey called “Gender Discrimination in Violation of Rights of Women and Girls” states that one-tenth of girls in primary school are ‘unhappy’ and this number increases to one fifth by the time they reach secondary schools. Some of the reasoning that girls provided include harassment, restorations to freedom, and an inherent lack of opportunities, compared to boys. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) understands Education as a “fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits.”
The Role of Education in Removing Gender Inequalities
Education is a basic human right according to Article 26 in the universal declaration of human rights: “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all based on merit”.
Gender equality in education refers to ensuring the equality of entitlements, opportunities, experiences and outcomes in education for both boys and girls.
In schools and colleges, there are many ways to promote gender equality, such as:
- Doing an act or play regarding gender equality
- Putting posters that promote gender equality
- Writing columns or Articles regarding gender equality
- Organizing an event to talk about gender equality
- Empower girls to realize their dreams
In schools and colleges, there will be coordination mechanisms that enable staff and students to interact and communicate effectively, both individually and collectively. They even have social interactions such as sports and other recreational activities which are critical for building community spirit.
Educational systems that adopt gender equality aspects can:
- Revise its curriculum framework to explicitly state commitment to gender equality.
- Emphasize attitudes and values that promote gender equality.
- Ensure that the content of the course syllabus includes values and attitudes of gender equality. Revise textbooks and learning materials to become gender-sensitive.
- Remove gender-based stereotypes that contribute towards perpetuating gender inequalities.
Gender bias in education is still seen in many parts of India especially in rural areas. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), poverty and local cultural practices play a role in gender inequality in education throughout India. The education sector could play a pivotal role in eliminating this gender discrimination and even poverty. If quality education and gender equality persist in India then there will be a reduction in poverty and inequalities, there will be good health and well being, proper economic growth etc. Therefore it is time to realise the importance of gender equality in terms of education and stick to it in making it real. So providing girls with equal opportunity as boys would have a meaningful impact on the world and its economy.