When I read news headlines of girls outshining boys in the board examinations, my chest swells up with pride. It implies that in the process of making our country the epitome of equality, we have achieved a great milestone.
Another testimony for increasing trends in the education of women is indicated by the recent survey by National Family Health Survey, released in 2017. It states that “Education levels among women have risen in the past 10 years. It has helped push the percentage of women who are literate to 68% from 55%.”
And the paramount of all is the news which states that Punjab has announced free education for girls in government college from nursery to Ph.D. As an individual, I experience positive vibes whenever inception of such initiatives takes place.
But there is only one big problem associated with it.
What happens after a girl is fully educated in our country?
There are two possible solutions available at present. Either she is married or she starts working. The chances of the latter happening are very low. A few years back a study by the IMF revealed that the enrolment of girls in higher education increased from 39% to 46% from 2007 to 2014, but female participation in India’s labor workforce declined to a low 27% in 2014 from 34% in 1999. I’m sure not much has changed in the recent years too.
India at present has more than 315 million students and by 2025 it is predicted to have the largest student population in the world.
But my dear readers, what do you think is the purpose of educating half of the student population of the country when you know that half’s contribution to the society is negligible?
The explanation for not being able to contribute to the Indian economic development by the female gender is very unrealistic but unfortunately true. You might shun away some of the reasons for being non-viable but it is important to understand that such situations do prevail in our society. The reasons are:
- In the so-called modern yet patriarchal society women don’t tend to but are bound to give up their jobs because of unrealistic expectations of playing multiple roles.
- There exists societal pressure which holds them back from pursuing careers ahead.
- Lack of encouraging support from in-laws.
- The pressure of having a child soon after the marriage takes away the fire to focus on career.
- The disintegration of joint families leads to multiple responsibilities on single individuals, which in most cases are women.
- It is also seen that due to faulty grooming women generally are not career oriented.
The consequence of one gender’s limited participation in the workforce restricts the economic growth of the country. This can be comprehended from the fact that in the Indian startup ecosystem only 21(3% only) out of 670 funded startups in the year 2016 were run by women.
Now imagine what will happen if the there is even a slight augmentation in the percentage of funded startups by the women from 3% to 30%. It would massively benefit the Indian economy along with uplifting the status of Indian women without any campaigns, protests or even reservations.
Also, the scenario above presented applies only to the startup industry. What if in all other industries also the percentage of women workforce increases?
Such an enlargement would mean increased productivity along with increased family income. An increased family income would mean an escalation in the disposable income of the family. And an upsurged disposable income would mean more demand for goods and services which would ultimately imply the expansion of the industry. And we all know that when an industry expands, the economic growth is positively affected.
This chain of effects happens because females make up half of the population of the country. That’s roughly around 48.17% according to the world bank. So, if we utilize the other half of the population productively, wonders can happen. Because of the empowerment of female population economic growth takes place as well as it also surges their ability to influence decision making within the households that leads to women empowerment.
Thus, the entire point of writing this article was to focus on the notion that just educating the girl child will not empower them. Empowerment comes when a female can stand shoulder to shoulder with his male counterpart in all aspects of life.