Male Female Gap In Literacy In India ::By:Mrs.Gouri Kalai



                                                                   By: Mrs. Gouri Kalai 


n a narrow sense, education is defined as the basic knowledge of a man or a woman in reading, writing and arithmetic that can be termed as literacy. Literacy, being the highest priority for standardized human life, Indian Constitution has guaranteed the educational right for all its citizens. But it is very unfortunate that in spite of this provision, male and female Indians are not accessed to educational facilities to an equal extent. There is a huge gap between the numbers of male and female literate in India. In most of the states including progressive Kerala and West Bengal, the male – female gap in literacy has declined only during the last 10 years while in the North Indian states like Rajasthan, Haryana, U.P and M.P, the gap is clearly visible. Education expands opportunities for women, equips them to make more informed choices, and empowers them to claim their rights whereas huge gap between male and female in literacy is a sensitive indicator of social discrimination against women. 


In India, even after the 60 years of the attainment of independence, more than half of its female citizens are illiterate. Surveys show that the most of them have never been to school or any other educational institution. Of these, women from the poor, rural and disadvantaged families constitute the bulk of them.

Causes of Male-Female Gap In Literacy

1.       Girl children are usually and easily engaged to the household jobs by their parents.

2.       School going among the girls is considered as the social taboo in the rural areas.

3.       Cost of schooling is gradually growing high which is out of the reach of an average Indian family.

4.       Schools are generally situated at far flung areas where girls are often not allowed by their parents to go.

5.       Schools can be the site of discrimination and violence with girls being the victims.

6.       There is a rumor among the rural people about the HIV/AIDS that these dangerous diseases get spread in the schools and colleges where girls freely frankly mix with the boys.

Having the above facts as the reasons behind the low attendance of girls in the educational institutions in India, following measures can be suggested. These will also be fruitful in case of minimizing the gap between male and female in literacy:

 Policies are to be designed to provide parents with incentives to send their daughters to schools such as financial incentives to combat poverty. This will also encourage them not to engage their daughters in the labour work and household job.

2.       Measures can be taken to raise the productivity and hence the wages of adult labourers will reduce the need of the parents to depend on the labour of their children.

3.       Abolishing primary school fees can have a major impact on boosting the enrolment of maximum girls in the schools.

4.       Women are to be encouraged that their increased participation in the education and further in employment will increase their say in the household decision making and rearing their children.

5.       School-curriculum need to be redesigned from a gender perspective and measure can be taken to ensure the appointment of lady teachers which will pose as the role model for the girl students.

6.       Along with the arrangement of essential study equipments and text books which can bring more number of girls to the schools, the availability of girls common rooms, private sanitary facilities in the school itself can attract the girls to school in larger number.

7.       Schools are supposed to be the places of learning, growth and empowerment. Hence vigorous action is needed, bringing together students, parents, teachers and school administrators to protect girls from violence, harassment and sexual assault in academic institutions.

After the above discussions on the methods to remove the Male-Female Gap in literacy, we, can come to the conclusion that Right to Education is for all, no matter men or women. If this fundamental right of the citizens is to be properly implemented, none of us should be left behind in making the education necessary for all. The process of human development remains incomplete without female education because women constitute almost half of the total population. So being the women, why should they be kept behind?



About The Author:  Mrs. Gouri Kalai is  an  Asstt. Professor of Political Science. At present she teaches at the  Kabi Nazrul Mahavidyalaya of  Sonamura Sub Division. She  writes  about  the social challenges of Indian women. She had the experience of working  as  a  CDPO for some times under the Government of Tripura.  




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