Project Nanhi Kali, an NGO supporting education for underprivileged girls in India, came out with the Teen Age Girls Report 2018 (#TAGReport) on Thursday. 

What does it mean to be a Teenage girl in India?


TAG Report’s announcement also highlighted the need for everyone to become more approachable when it comes to listening to teenage girls. Several voices came forward not only to give away facts and figures but also to seek remedies for the cause.

The team engaged with girls in 30 states of India in order to understand what the needs of teenage girls are. There were many scenarios, positive and negative, the report brought forward. 

Sheetal Mehta, executive director of Nanhi Kali, said, “There are 80 million girls in age group 13 to 19 in India, the absence of such body of data was critical data gap.”

Key takeaways from the report

The detailed report gave out some significant statistics categorised in various areas. Here are some key findings summarised from the report:

Education

  • 80 per cent teenage girls are currently studying.
  • During teenage, the percentage of girls studying decreases. 92.3 per cent are studying, at the age of 13 years. Shockingly, only 65.5 per cent are studying at age 19.
  • The percentage is a bit lower in rural areas as compared to urban areas.
  • The percentage is also also lower in low wealth quintile households compared to high wealth quintile households.
  • Overall, rural India is almost on par with urban India when it comes to girls being in school. The dropout rate in rural areas is also low now.

Hygiene and menstrual health

  • Overall, 39.8 per cent reported open defecation.
  • With 49 per cent, about three times more teenage girls in rural areas report open defecation than in urban areas, which amounts to 18 per cent.
  • Teenage girls reporting open defecation in low wealth quintile households is double the number of those from high wealth quintile households.
  •  As per the report, every second teenage girl in India is using unhygienic methods of menstrual protection.
  • The use of unhygienic methods of menstrual protection is almost double in rural and low wealth quintile households when compared to urban and high wealth quintile households respectively.

Health

  • 51.8 per cent teenage girls in India having anaemia. This amounts to every second teenage girl in the country with this condition. This situation is prevalent in both rural and urban areas, high wealth quintile and low wealth quintile households.
  • Only half of the teenage girls in India have a normal BMI. Girls in the 16-19 years age group have a more normal BMI than in the younger group.

Aspirations

  • 70 per cent teenage girls aspire to complete at least their graduation.
  • About 75 per cent teenage girls hold certain career aspirations.
  • Above 70 per cent teenage girls do not wish to get married before the age of 21 years.

Other findings

  • Positively, almost 96 per cent teenage girls across the country are not married.
  • Only every fifth teen girl has an access to a mobile phone that she can use when she wishes. Access to one’s own bicycle is a little higher at 36 per cent.
  • Almost every second teenage girl believes that boys have more opportunities when it comes education and jobs.
  • Only 20 per cent girls believe that boys/men can do any type housework.
  • Mothers of 13-19 year old girls, who have 5 or less years of schooling are in a majority in rural areas, making up to 72.3 per cent, and low wealth quintile households amounting to 78.1 per cent.
  • In the case of fathers of 13-19 year old girls, the percentage of those with 5 or less years of schooling hits the 40 per cent mark.

There are 80 million teenage girls across India all set to lead the country in the coming time. It’s time we listen to them and make them a significant part of the present and the future.
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