Women's education in India is one of the major preoccupations of the government as well as the civil society. This is because educated women are able to play a vital role in developing India. There is a saying that to educate a girl child means to educate a family. Education is the milestone of the empowerment of women as education helps them to change their lives, respond to their challenges and question their traditional roles.
The present status of women's education in India
The literacy rate of women is much lower compared to men. In the Indian society which is patriarchal, girls have fewer privileges and lower status than boys. Very few girls are admitted to schools and among them many are school drop outs. Many girls cannot attend school due to conservative cultural attitude.
Gender inequality reinforces itself in education as it is factually proved that the rate of literacy for women is 65.46% against 82.14% of men according to 2011 Census. The Census report also shows that the rate of literacy of Indian women is even lower than the national average literacy rate that is 74.04%.
Studies show too that the rate of unemployment in case of young females belonging to the age group of 15-24 is 11.5% whereas for young males of the same age group it is 9.8%.
In India a survey was conducted which showed results supporting this fact that the rate of infant mortality is related inversely to female rate of literacy and level of education. The survey as well suggested correlation between economic growth and education.
Why going to school and completing her education so difficult for a girl of India?
The answer lies between some main reasons:
"· Most Indian people think women are property or chattels. Patriarchal mindsets rule India. Fathers of such unfortunate girls do not take enough care of their daughters while bringing them up.
"· There is no unity among majority of the Indian women and only a handful of them have the courage to speak for their belief.
"· Sita Anantha Raman who is an Indian and Professor Emeritus in university of Santa Clara, California mentions that although professionalism is maintained by educated Indian workforce of women, they are outnumbered by men in most of the fields. In some instances men even get higher income than women for same positions.
As per the Indian government's Country Report, girls' education is the key to position change in society. The government wants to include more girls particularly from marginalized BPL families in the mainstream of education. To this end the government has been providing concession package in form of free books, scholarships, mid-day meals, uniforms, boarding, lodging and clothing for hostellers, free circles etc. For encouraging women's education at every level, schools, colleges and also universities for women exclusively have been established in the states of India.
Education reduces gender inequalities and helps to improve the status of women within family. Education for All or EFA program and many other educational programs undertaken by the Government of India provide various facilities for enhancing women's education. Therefore these programs are really helpful to improve the status of women's education in India.