Education plays a critical role in the development of a nation – whether it is social or economic growth. A nation can be educated in real sense, when its entire population is educated. Over the years, India’s literacy rate has improved manifold – from 12 percent in 1947 to 74.4 percent in 2011. The literacy rate is still below the average of 84 percent 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. There is a huge gap between male (82.14 percent, in 2011) and female (65.46 percent, 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. 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 percent and men at 6.9 percent.
Why education is indispensable for women?
As per a UN report, educating women is the single most effective way to improve lives and health of a family and a society at large. However, in most of the developing world around the globe including India, women are often denied of education opportunities. Women constitute 48 percent of the total population in India, however, the women literacy rate in urban area is 79.11 percent as against 88.76 percent for males, and the figures are even lower in the rural scenario where 57.93 percent women are literate as against 77.15 percent literate males. In 2014, India GDP growth ranges between 4.6 percent – 5.3 percent (1st – 3rd quarter) and this growth percentage can be drastically improved if women are educated and start contributing equally economically.
‘Educating a boy is educating a person…educating a girl is educating a nation’, the statement holds 100 percent 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.
Indian government has launched many 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 is equipped with the power of education.
(The Author, Y Sunita Devi, is Content Lead at ThinkVidya.com)