1

INTRODUCTION
In India, discriminatory attitude towards men and women have existed
for generations and affect the lives of both genders. Although the
constitution of India has granted men and women equal rights, gender
disparity still remains.
Discrimination against female children has been a topic of debate. It has
been a subject of concern and sociological significance. This subject
raises the cultural aspects about the role of a female child in society,
what her human rights are as a human being and a no. of sensitive
issues.This issue is important because there is nearly universal
consensus on the need for gender equality.
There are two main inequalities as pointed out by Amartya Sen:
educational inequality and health inequality. These are the indicators of
a woman’s status of welfare. In India irrespective of the caste, creed,
religion and social status, the overall status of a woman is lower than
men and therefore a male child is preferred over a female child. A male
child is considered a blessing and his birth is celebrated as opposed to a
female child where her birth is not celebrated and is considered more of
2

a burden Therefore, [education] and health care of the female child in
India is an important social indicator to measure equality between men
and women. According to the 2001 Indian census, overall male-female
ratio was 927 females per 1000 males. However, the 2011 Indian census
shows that there are 914 females per 1000 males.
Gender based discrimination against female children is pervasive across
the world. It is seen in all the strata of society and manifests in various
forms
There is specific research on gender discrimination mostly in favour of
men over women. Due to a lack of objective research on gender
discrimination against men, it is perceived that it is only women who are
suffering. The research often conducted is selectively sampled, where
men are left out of the picture. Women are perceived to be
disadvantaged at work, and conclusions are drawn that their capabilities
are often underestimated.
3



The gender difference in child schooling is one of the most fundamental
problems faced in developing countries. Where the initial enrolment
rates at the primary educational levels and there after, the overall
schooling outcomes at the subsequent educational levels are
significantly lower for female children in comparison to male children.
Even in some countries it is observed that the drop-out rates at the
primary and secondary educational levels are far more for female
children than male children.
This leads to the debate, if there is any disparity in parental investment
in children, if not then, why we observe the gender difference in
schooling outcomes. Do we need any further clarification to understand
this concept? In this paper, I am looking for the much discussed gender
4

disparity in child schooling in India, while controlling for a range of
other individual, household and community level characteristics and
then, if this is a manifestation of the intra-household resource allocation
favoring the male child, using household fixed effects estimation model.

The gender discrimination in schooling in India might be a result of the
difference in the perceived need for girls and boys education, due to the
existing economic and socio-cultural factors in play. In case of boys it is
considered more of a necessity to educate them, as it is the male head
(partner) in a household, who is expected to support the family
economically. So, educating a son is considered as the primary or basic
need of a resource constrained household. Whereas, on the other hand
the parents might not really opposed to female education but they are
rather in a position to be not able to afford it. So, when they are faced
with the problem of allocating limited available resources, it is probably
the education of male child (considered as a necessity), is preferred over
the education of female one (considered rather as a luxury). Hence with
the village development index or wealth development index, when
5

people are better-off or when they have crossed that threshold of
satisfying their basic necessities in life, they do not in reality differentiate
between a male and a female childIn India, discriminatory attitude
towards men and women have existed for generations and affect the
lives of both genders. Although the constitution of India has granted men
and women equal rights, gender disparity still remains.
There is specific research on gender discrimination mostly in favour of
men over women. Due to a lack of objective research on gender
discrimination against men, it is perceived that it is only women who are
suffering. The research often conducted is selectively sampled, where
men are left out of the picture. Women are perceived to be
disadvantaged at work, and conclusions are drawn that their capabilities
are often underestimated.

6

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Though there has been burgeoning literature on the presence of gender
differences in schooling in these countries and further discussing the
probable reasons behind such an issue and, there by leading to the
conclusion that female children in general receive lower schooling
resources than male children in overall household resource allocation.
Yet, there have been almost rare evidence in the literature addressing
the issue of ëwhether this commonly observed gender differential in case
of schooling outcomes is really a reflection of gender discrimination in
the intra-household resource allocationí, which is the subject of this
present study. On the contrary, this study has found no evidence of
gender bias in the intra-household allocation of resources between male
and female children observed through their individual schooling
outcomes once they are enrolled. Although in the initial process, when
the households decide between getting their children enrolled or not,
there is sufficient evidence of gender-bias. A similar argument was also
forwarded by Kingdon (2005).
7

To start with, in the cross-sectional model there is strong evidence
supporting the presence of gender bias against female children both in
case of initial enrolment and also while continuing in school. This gender
effect becomes insignificant once we consider the household level fixed
effects within regression controlling all the household specific
unobserved common characteristics. This is consistent with an earlier
analysis of gender-pattern in household consumption expenditure in
India (Subramaniam, 1996).

Drez and Kingdon(2001) have found strong evidence of sharp gender
bias in schoolparticipation in rural north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Madhya Pradesh andRajasthan. As it has already been established
in the literature, they furtherstrengthened the argument that, the
probability of school participation increases withparental education,
both maternal and paternal, whereas, the inter-generational
crosssexeffects are weaker than same-sex effects. The most significant
effect is that ofmaternal education on girls. school participation. Later in
rural West Bengal inEastern India, Pal (2004) found mother.s literacy
8

significantly enhances theprobability of school enrolment among girls
but, it is insignificant for boys. Similarlyfather.s education significantly
encourages boys schooling only and does not haveany perceptible
impact on girls. In a similar attempt on Guinea, Glick and Shan(1998)
also found very strong evidence of positive association between
parentaleducation and child schooling. They further substantiated the
fact that intergenerational same sex effect is in fact very strong and there
is almost no cross-sexeffect in case of the mother.s education, though it is
not the same with father.seducation. Father.s education has effects on
schooling of both boys and girls, whilethe effect is relatively smaller on
boys.
The paper also found strong evidence in supporting the facts that,though
the schooling attainment of both male and female children are related to
both of their parents. education in both the countries, yet the effect of
father.s education isstronger than that of mother.s education for both
sexes. Again both parents. educationhas a larger impact on their
daughter.s schooling than on their son.s

9

Differential labour market returns among male and female workers are
the often citedexplanation for the existing gender discrimination in
schooling outcomes. Kingdon(1998) explained the lower schooling
participation rates among girls in India, through the existing labour
market discrimination, using household survey data. The paper focused
on 15-59 years old, excluding the full-time students. The base or
reference category is those not labour force participants, the
unemployed and unpaid workers mostly working in family owned
enterprises. Examining the relative rates of return to women.s and men.s
education, the paper found evidence of significant omitted variable bias,
if we ignore the home background in the equation. Without involving the
family background variables, the equation substantially overestimates
the rates of return to education.

The gender discrimination in schooling in India might be a result of the
difference in the perceived need for girls and boys education, due to the
existing economic and socio-cultural factors in play. In case of boys it is
considered more of a necessity to educate them, as it is the male head
10

(partner) in a household, who is expected to support the family
economically. So, educating a son is considered as the primary or basic
need of a resource constrained household. Whereas, on the other hand
the parents might not really opposed to female education but they are
rather in a position to be not able to afford it. So, when they are faced
with the problem of allocating limited available resources, it is probably
the education of male child (considered as a necessity), is preferred over
the education of female one (considered rather as a luxury). Hence with
the village development index or wealth development index, when
people are better-off or when they have crossed that threshold of
satisfying their basic necessities in life, they do not in reality differentiate
between a male and a female child.


11

12

METHODOLOGY

OBJECTIVE OF THE PROJECT

 To Find gender discrimination in education at various
levels
 To examine the relationship between Gender
Discrimination
 To suggest measures to reduce gender gap

13

Hypothesis
 Discrimination in education affects Economic
Development
 Discrimination in education has its impacts on
women empowerment
Thus: =
Ho: Gender Discrimination in education doesn’t affect
economic development
H1: Discrimination in education affects Economic
Development

 Collect gender gap for gender discrimination

 G E M for Women Status

14

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWOK

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GENDER DISCRIMINATION
Discrimination towards men
Although socially women have been at a disadvantage, Indian laws highly
favor women. If a husband commits adultery he will be jailed, but a
woman cannot be jailed for adultery and neither will she be punished by
the courts. In most child custody cases the children are given to the wife.
In most divorce cases the child is given to the mother even without
enquiring the child's appeal There is no recognition of sexual
molestation of men and rarely the police stations lodge an First
Information Report (FIR); men are considered the culprit by default even
if it was the woman that committed sexual abuse against men Women
can jail husband's family for dowry related cases by just filing an FIR.
The law IPC 498A demands that the husband's family be considered
guilty by default, unless proven otherwise, in other words it implements
the doctrine of 'guilty unless proven innocent' defying the universally
practised doctrine of 'innocent until proven guilty'. According to one
15

source, this provision is much abused as only four percent of the cases go
to the court and the final conviction rate is as low as two percent.


Woman’s participation in employment outside the home is viewed as
inappropriate, subtly wrong, and definitely dangerous to their chastity and
womanly virtue. When a family recovers from an economic crisis or attempts
to improve its status, women may be kept at home as a demonstration of the
family’s morality and as a symbol of its financial security.
(…) Well-off and better-educated families may send their daughters to
school, but are able to afford the cultural practice of keeping women at home
after schooling is complete.”

[“Women and the Economy in India”]

“In terms of skill development, women are impeded by their lack of mobility,
low literacy levels and prejudiced attitudes toward women. When women
negotiate with banks and government officials, they are often ostracized by
other men and women in their community
16

(…). Government and bank officials have preconceived ideas of what women
are capable of, and stereotypes of what is considered women’s work.”
[“Chronic Hunger and the Status of Women in India”]

“There is a popular notion among many employers who feel that the men
have a greater responsibility in supporting the family than the women and
therefore have a greater right to the job.”

17

Gender discrimination in Education at various levels
Removal of gender bias in the curriculum is also something
that has to be consciously done in different ways all the time,
and not by looking only at textbooks and correcting the
stereotyping or having an additional paper on women's
issues in the humanities subjects.
HOW DO we make out whether there is gender discrimination
in our school system? Let us look at the opportunities
available for girls and boys in regard to access to education
from the earliest stages. The Constitution guarantees
equality of opportunity before the law for both the sexes and
therefore, the de jure position is that girls and boys have
equal access to education. But what is the de factoposition?
Today the total number of girl students enroled in the upper
primary education are much better because of many policy
interventions on behalf of the girl child, such as the Report of
18

the National Committee on Women's Education (1958-9), the
Kothari Commission Report (1964-5) and above all the
National Policy (1968) and the National Policy on Education
(1986), which stressed the need for empowering women,
that is making them capable of guiding their own destiny and
becoming self-reliant through exposure to education and
survival skills, including income generation.
Whatever be the cause, there is a gap in enrolment. The
social barriers standing in the way of girls attending schools
— poverty, compulsions of older girls in families having to
look after the home and siblings, the conception or
misconception that girls do not need education and/or that
what is taught in schools is irrelevant to them, parents
seeing limited (economic) benefits in educating daughters,
lack of women teachers and separate schools for girls,
supportive facilities (like adequate and clean toilets in
schools) and transport facilities to travel to school and back,
19

all these inhibit parents from getting their girls enrolled. Girls
have to stay at home once they attain puberty and must be
protected till they are marreid. And they become part of
another family, leaving the parental home. Add to this, the
commonly held belief that marriage is the be-all and end-all
for girls, leading to early marriage and pregnancy. So
naturally the son is sent to the school, not the daughter.
The Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in
India (1974) found that some teenage girls were supporting
entire families of sick and unemployed parents and siblings
on their sole earnings. `It should be noted', the Report said,
`that girls constitute a higher proportion of the unpaid family
workers throughout the country, and that is a major reason
for their exclusion from schools.' `Fear of alienation of girls
from their environment is another inhibiting factor for not
sending girls to school,' said the Report.
20

These reasons also result in high dropout rates at (upper)
primary stage. So there is a gap in retention of girls in
schools, even if they enrol at the primary stage. In many
places in the rural areas where there are primary schools,
there is no scope for studying further as there are no schools
having upper primary and secondary sections and girls are
not sent to far away schools because of this. Fear of the girl
child's vulnerability is often the only reason given.
The other factor to be taken into account is that are there
enough opportunities for girls to achieve their full potential in
the way boys do in the education system. Often there are
unrecognised, unintended and unknown biases in the minds
of the teachers, administrators and peers in schools, which
inhibit girls. For girls in rural areas and from deprived castes,
communities and tribes and for handicapped girls, all the
above problems are accentuated much more than in the case
of boys because of dual or multiple disadvantage. It is well-
21

known that two thirds or more of our women are illiterate
and less than half of them are educated upto the primary
level. We have to also note that all-India figures hide a lot of
variations as between States.
The gender discrimination in schools is an extension of what
we think in the family, in society and in the community in
which we live. Unless there is camaraderie, diginity and
partnertship among the members of and within the family, it
is diffucult to expect the school to create it artificially in the
school environment, and to pursue it without reference to
what is happening in society. There has to be a democratic
environment in the home for the child to be democratic in
his/her lifestyle. Any programme of gender discrimination
elimination in educational institutions must take into
confidence, the parents and guardians and undoubtedly the
teachers (both men and women), for whom there must be
continuous programmes orienting them to equality in thought
22

and deed. Persons in the community and the media have to
be involved, for the programme touches the lives of children
outside of schools. It cannot succeed if pursued in the school
alone.
The DPEP(District Primary Education Programme) is a special
programme of the Government of India run in 42 districts in
seven States, to increase enrolment of girls at the primary
level and helping in sustaining it. It has, as one of its thrusts,
the elimination of gender discrimination in the schools in its
jurisdiction. Infact, there is a substantial gender focus in it.
The decentralised implementation it envisages, provides for
specific interventions for girls. Programme goals include
concentrated effort on reduction of gender disparities in
education, as reflected in lower enrolment, retention and
achievement of girls, particularly those from socially and
economically disadvantaged groups. Rightly does it
emphasise the role of the community in helping the school to
23

combat sex stereotyping. It encourages local communities,
particularly women to play an active role in every aspect of
the programme. This includes intensive capacity building for
groups in the community to focus on issues relating to the
education of girls and boys. Involvement of the community is
also required in monitoring enrolment, retention and levels of
achievement and classroom behaviour and transaction, with
emphasis on girls. The equal treatment promoted in the
schools ought to be able to transform the thinking within
families.
In many States there is mid-day meal scheme, which is
intended to attract children of the poorer sections to enrol in
schools. And only women are recruited as primary school
teachers. Most States has attempted attracting girls to enrol
in schools, by making education free for all girls right up to
the professional stage. This however has the catch that even
24

those girls coming from families who can afford to pay, get
free education.
We here recall the instance of a Centre run in the Jama
Masjid area by the Central Social Welfare Board many years
ago, for girl dropouts who, through a `condensed course',
could appear for the school final exam leading to a
matriculation degree. For such centres, there were two
criteria — the students had to be girls from poor families.
The girls who attended this centre, could afford to pay, so
they would not normally be entitled to come to the centre.
But they pleaded that the centre should not be closed down.
The reason that they gave is something very important, they
said that their culture and community would not allow them
to attend regular schools, once they had attained puberty.
They wanted to study and if they were given a chance to
finish school studies here, it would be a boon not only to
them but also to their girl children, who might have the
25

chance to go to school and be educated! The centre was
allowed to continue on their request.
What has not happened in many States is that schools have
not come up in abundance or in convenient locations in rural
communities. If they have, then some of them do not pay
attention to conveniences that the girl students require and
the timings most convenient for rural girls who have to mind
the household and other kids in the family.
Again, the Report of the Committee on the Status of Women
in India had recommended that schools should have a day
care centre attached to them — the advantages are very
clear — girl children can attend schools while their younger
sisters and brothers are looked after close by in the day care
centre of the school and secondly, all children, girls and boys
in the school, can be given training in child care in the centre
— so that the stereo typing that children must be cared for
26

only by the females in the family, would go. No one seems to
have taken this seriously till date.
Within the school itself, there is need to identify the overt
and covert discrimination, arising out of ignorance and
deeply ingrained ways of thinking, on the part of teachers
and educational administrators. This manifests itself in
language, gesture, posture and action as seen in the way
girls and boys are seated in the classroom. We neither need
to exceed the limits of decency nor need we show prudery —
again it is for teachers and the administrators in schools to
ensure that girls and boys are comfortable in each other's
company. Quite often more chances are given to boys than
to girls (by a kind of reflex action) to answer questions or to
take on responsibility. Girls keep away from sports and
physical activity and nothing is done to see that they are
talked out of this preference by providing some transport or
other facilities for getting home safe and encouraging them o
27

take part in all the games and fitness programmes of the
school. Infact, it should be advocated that self-defence
should be compulsorily taught from an early stage for all
children, particularly girls, in order to to build confidence in
themselves.
For many girls from poor families, the biggest problem is that
of self-image, which is hardly thought of as a problem by
their parents, who may also not have a good self-image (and
anyway, the view may be — how can girls feel so for they are
born only to bear children and look after them). Even in
developed countries, there are problems amongst teenagers
entering the adolescent stage, as is but natural all the world
over, for at this stage of growing up, when suddenly they
have to restrict themselves, girls consider being girls as
`unlucky'. The American Association of University Women
(AAUW) did an extensive national survey in 1990 on gender
and self-esteem.
28

The results of the survey `confirmed... that for a girl, the
passage into adolescence is not just marked by menarche or
a few new curves. It is marked by a loss of confidence in
herself and her abilities, especially in math and science. It is
marked by a scathingly critical attitude toward her body, and
a blossoming sense of inadequacy.'
If it is like this in an advanced country with plenty of
opportunities for girls and boys, we can imagine the situation
in our country, where female infanticide in still practised in
certain parts.
Removal of gender bias in the curriculum is also something
that has to be consciously done in different ways all the time,
and not by looking only at textbooks and correcting the
stereotyping or having an additional paper on women's
issues in the humanities subjects.
There is the oft-repeated criticism that many girls are not
encouraged to get into science, maths, vocational and non-
29

conventional subjects and technical streams. At the school
stage itself several interventions are necessary for this.
These would include `enrichment' activities, such as a special
hands-on programme with toys and tools in the pre-school
stage, visits to museums and fairs and science centres, Lego
construction and also experiments in physics with water, air
and heat. Exploratory confidence building activities as well as
promotion of the competitive spirit through individual and
team projects will also help. There is an organisation formed
in 1981, in the U.K. called GASAT (Gender and Science and
Technology).
Its aim is to identify the barriers to female participation in
science, engineering and technology and to examine ways of
how this might be overcome. It also provides an international
forum for discussing research findings and until 1997, there
were seven conferences. Can we have something like this in
India?
30

In the State of North Carolina in the U.S., the work on sex
discriminatory practices and evolving strategies for meeting
them done by Amanda Smith points to the need to do the
following: assigning responsibility to a specific staff member,
setting up a mechanism by which grievances can be
channelled, understanding how sex stereotyping works, and
planning strategies for promoting change, in service training
for men and women teachers, student discussion groups and
forums, and making them take up studies in the community
to find out sex biases.
The DPEP schools could well study this approach and plan
their as suitable to conditions here. In addition, all students
should be encouraged to take part in life planning — both
girls and boys, planning as individuals and as members of a
family.
They should explore the shared responsibilities that they will
find in work, home, leisure and child rearing. They must also
31

be taughtto consider job or career as an economic
opportunity and for self-fulfilment, and not as a calamity,
taken up only if the marriage fails or if the girl is widowed.
The Government of India's Country Report for the Beijing
Conference in 1995 says, "The overall picture of girls' and
women's education is one of limited opportunity, numerous
obstacles and questionable quality and relevance. Available
evidence suggests that an explicit policy focus on female
education is amply justified on the basis of equality,
economic productivity and social benefits."
At a recent conference in Trivandrum in December 2000, a
new agenda for women's education was talked about. It was
felt that there are not many women at top levels of
educational policy and administration, even though
`teaching' is considered a `female' profession and this is a
great drawback as women's perceptions and perspectives are
32

needed for formulating the agenda based on the experience
of women's education in India.
You cannot think of education in isolation of what is to be
done for raising the level of women's progress. The theme of
the Beijing conference was "Look at things through women's
eyes". Let us add the word "also" at the end of it.
Lastly, let women not remain among the `unreached', for
today we have this very powerful technological option of
going to them through distance education which is still not
fully explored and utilised for women's education.



33

Curriculum issues
Modern education in India is often criticized for being based on rote
learning rather than problem solving. New Indian Express says that
Indian Education system seems to be producing zombies since in
most of the schools students seemed to be spending majority of their
time in preparing for competitive exams rather than learning or
playing. BusinessWeekcriticizes the Indian curriculum, saying it
revolves around rote learning and ExpressIndia suggests that
students are focused on cramming. Preschool for Child Rights states
that almost 99% of preschools do not have any curriculum at all.
Here we can list down some major issues related to curriculum in
India:
1. Education System Promotes Rat Race Our education system
basically promotes rat race among our children. They have to read
and mug-up entire text book without any understanding of it.
So a student who scores 90 out of 100 and comes first actually
remains a rat. I mean to say he or she does not have any analytical
skills that a child must have.
34

It is time to change our education system.
2. Education Does Not Builds Personality of a Child Unfortunately
our education system is not helping to develop persona of a child.
Remember, it is personality that is more important than academic
qualification.
As I said earlier, our system demands good numbers from a child in
an exam not to show his personality. Hence a child is not well
exposed to outer world and he or she might not be able to develop a
personality.
So this is another flaw in our education system.
3. No Critical Analysis, only Following the Establishment Our
children are not able to do critical analysis of anything, for example
our history, culture and religion. They take the line of establishment or
the views of predominant majority.
They are simply not able to look things from their own perspective. If
you want a society should become a lot better than we must develop a
culture of looking at things critically.
35

We are simply failing at this because of our education system.
Children must learn to criticize our own culture and other established
narratives.
4. Too Much Parochialism Rather Global Outlook Our education
teaches too much of nationalism and it could create a negative
mindset in our younger generation. Loving your country is good thing
but just blind love is dangerous.
In our schools children are not able to get a global outlook. It means
how to see yourself that you are actually a global citizen rather
confined to a place or a country.
I myself was not able to feel that I am a cosmopolitan rather I was
thought to become a jingoistic.
5. Teachers Themselves are Not Trained and Efficient To make
things worse, our teachers themselves are not sufficiently trained to
teach kids. They do not have proper training that how they are going
to impart values in children that are going to change the future of the
country.
36

If they can teach properly then the government does not have enough
salary to pay. Hence, to improve our education system teachers
should be better trained and more importantly better paid.
You cannot imagine a country without respecting teachers.
6. Medium of Language of our Education System This is also a big
problem that needs to be addressed. We are not able to decide on the
medium of language of our education system.
Still emphasize is given on English where majority of children cannot
understand the language. So how does they are going to understand
what teachers are teaching.
Moreover, subjects like mathematics, physics and arts have nothing to
do with the medium of communication. Hence, over-emphasis on
English could be wrong.
7. Education Given is Irrelevant to Job-Market This is perhaps the
most apparent failure of our education system that after completing
graduation in any discipline students are not able to get jobs.
37

It is simply because skills that are required in a job market are simply
not present in a fresh graduate. All that a student is taught in his entire
school and college life is almost redundant for job markets.
Skill that is required by them is not taught in schools and colleges.
Hence our education system is needed to be revamped and must be
designed according to our economic policies.
8. Missing Innovation & Creation because Only Aping West If we
talk about the privileged children in India then even they are not able
to innovate and create new things. Although they have everything that
a child need but still they lack something in them.
What they are doing is only aping western culture and not being able
to do something new. On the one hand children are not able to go to
schools and on other hand, if they are going then are not able to
innovate or solve the problems that the country is facing.
Hence, this is yet another fundamental problem with our education
system.
9. Students Happy in Getting a Highly Paid Salary Job but Lacks
Ambition to Become Entrepreneur Now, in college campuses it has
38

become a common thing that every young student is interested in a
getting a job that pays them well. However, they would never like to
become an entrepreneur.
This lack of ambition does not allow our country to excel in any field.
This attitude of our children making them slaves of few multinational
companies.
Therefore our education system should be designed to make our
children a successful entrepreneurs rather going for a salaried job.
10. Multiple Education Authority In India we've multiple education
governance authority like every state has its own in addition of nation
wide Bodies. Every entity has its own syllabus and examination
pattern which causes the differentiation among the students of
different schools.
11. Gross Failure of Our Education System to End Social
Disparity The last but not the least failure of our education system is
after so many years it has not being able to reduce social disparity in
our country. In fact, social disparity has gone up.
39

It is such a shame that education itself has become a tool for creating
divisions. A child of a rich parent would get good education and a child
of poor parent cannot afford even a basic education.

Government should intervene and make education its prime
responsibility.

40

IMPACT ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Women in developing countries usually receive less education than men.
More so, women in general enjoy far less employment opportunities than
men the world over. Any claims and efforts then, to remove poverty, can
show results only if they address the issue of gender inequality. In recent
decades, there have been large gains, no doubt on comparable levels, in
basic rights and opportunities, in life expectancy and enrolment ratios
for women. But despite these gains, the stark reality has not changed.
There still are large gender disparities in basic human rights, resources,
and economic opportunity, and in political rights- the world over.
Women have only half as many years of schooling as men. So until
nations are able to address this issue of gender inequality and resolve it,
the vicious cycle of poverty will continue to pervade. This is because
poverty leads to and aggravates gender discrimination – it is in the
poorer sections and nations that instances of gender biases and
inequality are more evident. Women and girls who are at the bottom of
the social, economic and political ladder in these societies, get even
lesser opportunities to have a command over productive resources such
41

as land or credit. Access to the means to influence the development
process is a rare and difficult possibility.

And yet, by the same logic, gender discrimination hinders development.
So while denial of basic rights ( be it education, employment or health
care for women) is detrimental to women, this denial, ultimately also
harms the society, the nations at large too, by hampering development.

There are several social and economic indicators to support this point.
For instance, reports say that if girls and boys in India get equal
schooling, child mortality could be lowered by as much as 25 per cent.

Clearly, then gender gaps that are widespread in access to basic rights,
access to and control of resources, in economic opportunities and also in
power and political voice are an impediment to development. The only
solution to this is gender equality, which strengthens a country’s ability
to grow, to reduce poverty and provide its people – men, women and
42

children – a better life. The issue of gender equality then, needs to be at
the core of development policies- both in national and international
arenas. Just because gender inequality is inextricably linked to societal
norms, religion or cultural traditions, it should not be either a deterrent
or an excuse to gender sensitive development planning.

AGRICULTURE
In rural India, the percentage of women who depend on agriculture for
their livelihood is as high as 84%. Women make up about 33% of
cultivators and about 47% percent of agricultural laborers.
[5]
These
statistics do not account for work in livestock, fisheries and various other
ancillary forms of food production in the country. In 2009, 94% of the
female agricultural labor force in crop cultivation were in cereal
production, while 1.4% worked in vegetable production, and 3.72%
were engaged in fruits, nuts, beverages, and spice crops.
[4]

Women's participation rate in the agricultural sectors is about 47% in
tea plantations, 46.84% in cotton cultivation, 45.43% growing oil seeds
43

and 39.13% in vegetable production.
[6]
While these crops require labor-
intensive work, the work is considered quite unskilled. Women also
heavily participate in ancillary agricultural activities. According to
the Food and Agriculture Organization, Indian women represented a
share of 21% and 24% of all fishers and fish farmers, respectively.
Despite their dominance of the labor force women in India still face
extreme disadvantage in terms of pay, land rights, and representation in
local farmers organizations. Furthermore their lack
of empowerment often results in negative externalitiessuch as lower
educational attainment for their children and poor familial health.
Gender division of labor
In India, the typical work of the female agricultural laborer or cultivator
is limited to less skilled jobs, such as sowing, transplanting, weeding and
harvesting, that often fit well within the framework of domestic life and
child-rearing. Many women also participate in agricultural work as
unpaid subsistence labor. According to United Nations Human
Development Report only 32.8% of Indian women formally participate in
44

the labor force, a rate that has remained steady since 2009 statistics. By
comparison men constitute 81.1%.
Literacy
An estimated 52-75% of Indian women engaged in agriculture are
illiterate, an education barrier that prevents women from participating
in more skilled labor sectors. In all activities there is an average gender
wage disparity, with women earning only 70 percent of men's
wage. Additionally, many women participate in agricultural work as
unpaid subsistence labor. The lack of employment mobility and
education render the majority of women in India vulnerable, as
dependents on the growth and stability of the agricultural market.

45

Women's second-class status carries a financial and social cost, and not
just for women. Men, and society in general, also pay a price.
For this reason empowering women is a central aim of sustainable
development. As Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has observed, the
"overarching objective" of development is to maximize people's
"capabilities" — their freedom to "lead the kind of lives they value, and
have reason to value".
1
It is not only a matter of economics: as Dr. Nafis
Sadik has said, "Better health and education, and freedom to plan their
families' future, will widen women's economic choices; but it will also
liberate their minds and spirits."

UNICEF/0749/Nicole
Toutounji
46

Empowerment and equality are
important human rights aims in
themselves, and an exclusively economic
analysis of gender inequality would
result in "commodification" of women
and men.
2
However, the economic dimension should not be ignored:
promoting gender equality also promotes the stable growth and
development of economic systems, with social as well as strictly
economic benefits.
Much of women's work, paid and unpaid, has an economic impact,
though their contribution is rarely noticed or fully quantified. If it were
recognized for what it is and supported accordingly, its increased value
would offset any costs or supposed savings derived from inequality, for
example, in women's unpaid farm labour.
Inequality between men and women results in lost opportunities and
prevents mutual gain. In general, discrimination:
 Diverts resources from women's activities, sometimes in favour of
less productive investment in men;
Slum in Haiti. Men, and
society in general, pay a
price for women's second-
class status.
47

 Rewards men, but also some women, blinding them to productive
alternatives;
 Obstructs social as well as economic participation and closes off
possible partnerships;
 Reduces women's effectiveness by failing to support them in
meeting their responsibilities, challenges and burdens.

48

Impact of education on employment opportunities:

Thanks to the fight for women’s rights, increasing participation of
women in the job market and to the right to vote, women have emerged
from the strictly private sphere to which they were formerly restricted.
Women have broken the implicit social contract that for more than
hundreds of years confined them to home, child rearing, household tasks
and fieldwork, while men worked outside the home.

In Asia, more and more young women have been joining the official
workforce in recent years and are experiencing some of the benefits -
financial independence, higher status and lower fertility rate through
delaying the age of marriage. Children also benefit because women
usually devote more of their income to the family's welfare compared to
men.
However, in the context of the developing world, lack of education has
forced many women into the risky "informal" economy as street traders,
49

domestic servants, home workers and seasonal laborers. This in turn
reflects a continuing belief that there is little benefit in educating a girl
when she could be working in the market place or fields. Boys are
affected by this thinking, too, though not to the same extent.
Although economically productive to society, once again, women’s work,
if they get the opportunity at all, is rarely recognized in official statistics
and the women often get no protection from unions or employment
legislation
Just as women's domestic work is undervalued, so are their skills in the
world of employment. Most are concentrated in the poorly-paid, low-
skilled "women's" sectors of the economy like Free Trade Zones set up in
many developing countries to attract foreign companies. Exhausting 18-
hour days in unsafe and unhealthy conditions are the norm, along with
sexual harassment and lack of job security.

50


India represents a picture of contrasts when it comes to education and
employment opportunities for girls. Cultural, social and economic
factors still prevent girls from getting education opportunities so the
question of equality is still a mirage.

However, the rural and the urban areas present a contrast.

In the rural areas the girl child is made to perform household and
agricultural chores. This is one of the many factors limiting girls’
education. Cleaning the house, preparing the food, looking after their
siblings, the elderly and the sick, grazing the cattle and collecting
firewood are some of the key tasks they have to perform. Households are
therefore reluctant to spare them for schooling. Physical safety of the
girls, especially when they have to travel a long distance to school and
fear of sexual harassment are other reasons that impede girls' education.

51

In the urban areas, however, there is a discernible difference in the
opportunities that girls get for education and employment. Though the
figures for girls would still be low as compared to boys, what is
heartening to see is that whenever given the opportunity, girls have
excelled more than boys.

For instance, in the Central Board of Secondary Examinations for grades
10 and 12, which are at an All India level, girls have for over a decade
now, bagged all the top positions and secured a higher over all
percentage compared to boys.

In employment opportunities too, women in India today have stormed
all male bastions. Be it piloting aircraft, heading multi-national
corporations, holding top bureaucratic positions, leading industrial
houses, making a mark as photographers, filmmakers, chefs, engineers
and even as train and lorry drivers, women have made it to all hitherto
considered male bastions in India.
52


However, this is not reason enough for cheer. For the number of girls and
women who have been left out of education and employment
opportunities, still far outweighs those who have got them. And what
needs to change this scenario, is not just governmental efforts but a
change in societal norms, in cultural and traditional biases and in general
mindsets of people. And in this the media, the civil society, and the youth,
the women and girls have a lot to contribute.

53

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Poverty is a worldwide issue and growing. If poverty is analyzed through
gender perspective we find that women are more vulnerable to poverty
because of inequality in different socio-economic aspects and the culture
of patriarchy. After analyzing the data it is concluded that a disparity
exists in targeted area, which on many grounds affect poverty alleviation
and development. The study indicates that women have no or low share
in income / earnings of the family, all female and a few male respondents
specified that there was no equal status of women, females were not
allowed to work outside home, women are more vulnerable to poverty,
women share more burden of productive and household work, if
household and productive burden share equally it could helps in poverty
alleviation, household poverty could be reduced when both male and
female members earn. Male members were the decision makers in their
houses, there were no equal opportunities in higher education for omen,
and women are facing difficulties in labour market. The study shows that
quality education can help in poverty alleviation while gender inequality
hinders poverty alleviation.
54

On the basis of findings, the following recommendation are made:
Equal educational opportunities should be provided to women,; skill-
training facilities should be provided to them; women should be given
equal right and power of decision-making; there is a need to bring
equality in resources distribution; equal opportunities of participation
should be given to both genders in various activities; equal opportunities
should be given to the women inside the family affairs as well as outside
the family; equal opportunities should be provided to women in different
jobs. It will be helpful in poverty alleviation.

55

REFERENCES
Amnesty International. 1995. Women in Pakistan. Disadvantaged &
Denied their Rights, USA.
Andreson and Patricia. 1991. Race, class and gender: An introductory
Anthropology. Belmont, Calif.
Anderson. 1988. Thinking about women. 2
nd
Ed. McMillan, New York.
Baron J.N. and Biebly. 1990. Bringing from back in stratification
segmentation and the organization of work. Amer. Social Rev. 45,735-
765.
Bradshaw, Linneker and Mcllwaine. 2002. The poverty line approach:
Constraint in gender development. Harper Row. 9p.
Demos. 1978. Old age in England. Amer. J. Social. 84, 248-287.

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