According to the Census of India 2011, female literacy is at 65.46% while the male literacy is at 82.14%. Compared to boys, lesser girls are enrolled into schools and many of them drop out. Numerous economical, social and even political factors are to be held accountable for this distressing result. One of the most obvious, yet least spoken about contributing factor is the parent's, especially the mothers' level of education.
Studies continue to show that children's educational performance is linked to their parents' level of education. Having well-educated parents would be that the household income is higher, enabling the child to attend better schools, equipped with a high quality of life. Education parents also means that they are likely to stay married longer, before having children, meaning they would have worked on their relationship communication skills, and would raise a child in an emotional sound environment.
However, the effects of uneducation do not boil down to this entirely, as studies have shown that a mother's education may be the most defining factor in a child's upbringing. Why mothers? Since we want to focus on girls getting educated, it is important we look at the repercussions of girls not benefiting from an education system and the setbacks in the society due to it. The cycle of uneducation prevails; an uneducated girl is more likely to get married early due to societal and cultural norms outside of her control, and similarly, have children soon in the marriage. This very lack of social/cognitive functions have crucial consequences on a child, especially a girl. A study done by Foundation of Child Development shows that low level of education in a mother can significantly impact a child's level of economic status, educational success and their health.
An educated mother can help curate cognitively stimulating activities to enhance a child's academic potential. They are more equipped to help the children with tests, exams and homework. Educated mothers are also more likely to encourage a child to partake in extra-curricular activities, those not necessarily linked to academic excellence but rather the growth of their social-cognitive abilities. They can also provide tips to increase or better their performance at school without coming across patronizing, as well as become excellent role models for younger girls to look up to.
So, what can we do to break the cycle and enable more girls to take up education?
Changing the negative attitude towards a girl's education can help. In the Indian society, the girls are not expected to make any economical contribution to the family and so, the environment for a girl to get educated is incredibly unhealthy.
Unlocking a girls potential by increasing her self-esteem growing up. A good level of self-esteem can help a girl push through some of the tough times in her academic path and also, make her proud of her work.
To continue to increase awareness about the importance of girl's education. The more we talk about this issue, the more we do, and thus, reduce the prejudice about education.
While we cannot overcome this struggle overnight, our restlessness to create change, our efforts to change the conversation and the fight to continue on despite the setbacks, will bring the positive growth in girls education that we hope to see.
Help us unlock some of their potential today by contributing here or maybe even donating some of your time! It's never too late to start the process of change.
Written by Ruwi Shaikh, a content strategist living in Brooklyn.