In India, there are still many societies where a patriarchal system is prevalent. The SRB or sex ratio at birth accounts for an estimated 896: 1000 for females and males respectively. The difference in this ratio is not a normal occurrence mainly due to the societies following patriarchy even in the modern age. In the past few decades, the government has paid more attention to the life of a girl child and various schemes have been developed and implemented to foster the welfare of the girl child.
In India, education is considered to be a fundamental right for children up to the age of 14 years. The government has, therefore, created several political cues to eradicate inequality and five universal access to education for all learners. In educational institutions, inequality is often related to access and outcomes. According to Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy,
“The State shall endeavor to provide, within ten years from the commencement of the Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they attain the age of 14 years.”
Government Schemes to Reduce Inequality
The government has introduced several schemes to reduce inequality based on gender some of which are as follows:
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao
This scheme was launched by the government on January 22, 2015, in Haryana. The main aim of this scheme is to prevent the girl child from getting aborted and to give them universal access to education. The scheme was a collaboration between the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
CBSE Udaan Scheme
This scheme is a collaboration between CBSE and the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Indian Government. It aims to increase women’s enrolment in prestigious academic institutions across India.
Balika Samriddhi Yojana
This scheme is a scholarship initiative to offer financial aid to girls who come from poor economic backgrounds. The main aim is to improve the social status and enrolment of girls in schools.
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
The scheme is also known as Women Child Prosperity Account and has been created as a savings program for parents of girls. Its main aim is to reduce the issues of dowry and marriage costs prevalent in India.
Ladli Scheme and the Kanya Kosh Scheme
Haryana was reported to have one of the worst birth sex ratios in 2011 accounting for 834 girls for 1000 people. This scheme was developed to offer a financial reward of Rs. 5000/- per year to parents who give birth to a girl child after August 2005.
Problems and Challenges of Gender Equality
There are various problems related to gender equality which are as follows:
The differentiation of roles between men and women may lead individuals to feel pressured as they may not be able to do things according to their personal preferences.
Since gender roles are ingrained in human beings from early on, they can affect the performance of men and women causing them to perform according to the expectation of society when they can do better.
Women have more burdens than men as they are expected to be caring, nurturing, and do all the household work even when they may have a job while men are not expected to do the same.
The difference in gender roles has led to numerous cases of discrimination towards women such as child marriage, domestic violence, and the like.
Boys are assumed to prefer blue rather than colors like pink and if they are seen to like the same, they are often called feminine, or they are assumed to have a mental problem that may go on to affect their overall mental health.
In many professional fields, there is a huge pay gap between men and women. Even when they may be doing the same work, men get paid more. This can cause frustration among women and for a long time, there has been a demand for equal pay.
In their work field, men are the more popular choice when it comes to promotions than women. This leads women to not get paid for their worth and to ensure equality the government must develop facilities that can offer equal treatment to individuals of all genders.
Causes and Reasons for Gender Inequality in Education in India
The main reasons behind the issues of retention and exclusion are as follows:
Lack of Coordination
There is a lack of coordination between the local community and the educational institutions which leads to issues in universalizing education.
Even though education may be free, there are still some expenses parents have to incur and those belonging to a poor social class may therefore refrain from sending their children to school. Many families still believe that girls should get married instead of getting educated.
Lack of Motivation
Those who belong to a poor socioeconomic economic background may not consider education to be important. They motivate girls to get married instead of becoming educated.
Lack of Resources
Even with the government’s provision of learning resources, it continues to be inadequate for quality education.
An attitude of Indifference
There is an air of indifferent attitude by the higher authorities which leads to a lack of effort in the universalization of education.
Ignorance by Parents
Despite the government’s efforts to offer free and compulsory education, many people living in remote areas still ignore sending their girl children to school and believe that they should be doing household work instead.
Lack of Funds
There is an inadequacy of funds due to the various schemes and programs which leads to a lack of learning resources and materials.
The government has been taking many measures to universalize education and reduce gender inequality through programs such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Kothari Commission, and National Education Policy to name a few.