In many parts of India, the birth of a girl child is not welcomed. Right from her arrival, she faces discrimination, humiliation, and oppression at every stage of life. When it comes to healthcare, education and growth opportunities, she is neglected because of her gender. Some manage to survive and foster new paths to follow. Most, however, surrender hopelessly to the sad fate assigned to them.
The issue of girl child rights and protection in India is a very serious concern. Being home to more than one third of the 10 million child brides in the world, India has one of the highest numbers of girls forced into marriage before the legal age of 18. If one half of our society remain so vulnerable to violence and neglect, how will the country advance or progress? Not only are they unsafe at home where they are victims of stereotypical attitude, but also in learning environments. Ill-equipped schools that lack separate toilets for girls are one of the major deterrents for parents not willing to send their girls to study. The few who manage to attend school risk violence and abuse. According to India’s 2011 census, 53% households and 11% schools had no toilets. This lack of safety deprives young girls of an opportunity to educate themselves and better their lives.
Education that helps create attitudinal shifts that emphasise the rights of a girl child
• Breaking myths and stereotypes around gender
• Ensuring State accountability to implement various schemes, policies, laws, constitutional guarantees and international commitments
• Institutionalising gender sensitive processes within various systems such as law and programmes
• Encouraging community ownership in preventing violations faced by girls
• Demanding a healthy budget allocation for the girl child at state and central level
• Building women leaders from the community through sensitisation programmes that help them understand their rights and ensure it for girls and women like them.