#Gender Fact

Data Watch: India Remains Behind its Neighbours In Female Literacy

Feminism in India

Lack of education is a big reason why there has been a decline in female labour force participation. And India is in a poor position on both counts. India ranks the lowest compared to Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan in female literacy shows a recent study released in a blog-post by New York-based International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (or Education Commission),

The aim of the study was to see and analyse the changes in the rates of literacy over time and then compare it to the neighbouring countries.

Females constitute about 50% of country’s human resource but lack of education snatches their chance to be a part of the progress and development of India. This means our pace of progress is less than the required pace. Even if females do not use education to work, total illiteracy has a huge negative impact on our society. Justin Sandefur, one of the authors of the paper, said, “This is a simple but powerful signal that India’s education system is under-performing.”

According to the paper’s research,

  • 48% women had completed five years of primary education and were literate as compared to 92% in Nepal, 74% in Pakistan and 54% in Bangladesh.
  •  India ranks 38th among 51 developing nations which were ranked by the earliest grade at which half the women are literate.

However, India has witnessed tremendous growth over the course of time regarding female education.

  • In the data release by United Nations, the gross enrolment ratio in secondary education of females increased from 49.7% in 2004 to 64% in 2014.
  • Similarly, the youth literacy in females (15-24 years) saw an increase from 67.8% in 2001 to 90% 2011.
  • As of 2013, the gross enrolment ratio in tertiary education for females was 23%.
  •  Along with this, the proportion of females among tertiary education as teachers and professors was 39%

In a similar data, released by World Bank,

  • The primary education completion among females was 100% in 2015 as compared to 69% in 2000
  • The progression to senior secondary was 91.20% as of in 2015.
  • The completion rate of females in lower secondary saw a huge jump from a mere 45.80% in 2000 to 88.20% in 2015.

Despite all the growth in numbers and in proportion, women are still at a disadvantage as compared to men. The gender gap between females in literacy continues to exist even with the implementation of multiple female education programmes.

The country, as compared to other features in the lower ranks regarding literacy rate and this clearly indicates the failure of our educational programmes. The increasing school dropout rate continues and parents still have the mind-set of ‘wasting money on our daughter’s education’.