Mobilizing the girl effect may seem easy.
- Give girls education
- Societies will prosper.
However, it may not be so simple. There are several factors that play a part in shaping the health and well-being of girls and women. Although a girl is given a chance, she may meet a lot of resistance.
I was playing with some data at genderinfo.org, the portal for the United Nations’ gender data. Looking at India, one can see that the literacy rate for girls aged 15-24 is quite high, 77 %. The expected years of schooling for girls in India is 13 years, so it is expected that most girls in India should at least finish high school. This, one may also think is quite high. However, looking at the percent of women aged 20-24 that were married or in union before the age of 18, is close to 50 %. Thus, close to half of these girls were married as children. The proportion of girls aged 15-19 that have already given birth is 12 %, which is also a very high number. (Keep in mind that India is a huge and diverse country, so these statistics may vary depending on region, city, village, etc.)
This gives me mixed feelings. Although this is not even close to a comprehensive study, it seems like India is investing in education for girls, but the amount of girls being married off as children is still high. Child marriage is a violation of a girl’s human rights. So, there must be other factors playing a part as well.
What do you think plays a part in shaping the situation of girls, besides education? Please share your ideas in the comment field below!