Girls Need Education, Not Discrimination
When girls are denied education because of poverty, it is a blot on society. What is worse however is when girls are denied education even when they have the opportunity to go to school, solely because of gender discrimination. It a common occurrence not only in India but in many countries across the globe, as data reports suggests. Perhaps it is such a regular phenomenon that girls as well as their families have become accustomed to it, so much so that they have passively resigned to it, without any show of response.
Both men and women teachers have low expectations from a girl’s performance, since they subconsciously believe that her intellectual skills are poorer than that of a boy’s. This is simply presumed that girls will have lower intelligence than boys, and it often leads to inadequate development of self-confidence and building up of a sense of inferiority among girls, which can be hazardous. In a mixed classroom, girls are usually the ones that are given less feedback, and are often not given as much attention as the boys. Studies claim that girls have eight times less eye contact with teachers than boys. Such defects at the basic levels of education are responsible for the lower self-esteem of girls. Somehow, they end up believing that they are not efficient or competent enough, and that their future primarily lies in being wives and mothers.
Such factors are further worsened by the fact that the textbooks, curricula and assessment materials severely lack female role-models and are rather replete with examples of illustrious men. It serves to psychologically reaffirm their misconception. Studies have indicated that textbooks prescribed to adolescent students often comprise of such chauvinistic content, and they are very likely to mould and manipulate the self-image of girls at this vulnerable stage of their lives, when their sense of identity is being formed. Often, girls are not given adequate encouragement and space to express themselves freely, which makes me them submissive, introverted and often socially inept. Prizes and achievements of girls are not highlighted and brought to emphasis as much as that of boys. Teachers often commit the extremely erroneous act of encouraging the boy-students to pursue science, mathematics etc. while girls are encouraged to take up humanities, which is often fallaciously thought of as “easy”.
Also, knowingly or unknowingly, teachers often use sexist language in class, which perpetuates the cycle of discrimination and their ability to challenge is further suppressed. Thus they go on enduring the silent form of violence that is practiced against them in classrooms. This is not all. Girls are also subjected to worse things in school such as sexual assault and harassment which scars their psyche, often irreparably, thus destroying their dreams, dedications and direction of life. What’s worse, the education authorities are often ignorant of such mishaps and even if they are not, they deliberately choose not to intervene, brushing aside such incidents to be “natural”.
It is our primary duty to look into such matters and put an end to them, so that girls who are fortunate enough to attend schools, are able to tap their potential to the fullest and are not made victims of such lowly discrimination and stereotyping.