A+| A| A-

Girls Just Want to Learn

School girls in Haryana remind us that education is more than infrastructure.

It is like a contagion. What a group of gutsy schoolgirls began in the village of Gothra Tappa Dahina in Haryana’s Rewari district is now spreading to other districts in the state. On 10 May, around 80 girls at the government school in the village went on an indefinite fast. They demanded that their school be upgraded to a higher secondary school. They said they could not access the nearest such school some three kilometres away because of lack of transport and the sexual harassment they faced en route. What began as something that the state government expected would fizzle out, instead ballooned into a full-scale crisis as the girls refused to end their fast. Within 10 days, the state government conceded and the village school will now have classes 11 and 12.

The agitation of these girls was unique in many ways. They are products of a state that does not love its girls. Haryana has the lowest female to male sex ratio in the country, just 877 as compared to the national average of 940. Its 0–6 years sex ratio is even worse, 830. If girls escape being eliminated before or after birth, they barely survive in a society where deeply entrenched conservative attitudes control and constrain their lives. Despite this, some young women like Geeta Phogat and other women wrestlers have come through as strong exemplars of what women can achieve against all odds. But these women are the exception. The reality is what the girls from Rewari district face every day where they are unable to travel three kilometres to a school without being sexually harassed. Haryana’s record of crimes against women, where the incidence of rape has increased by an incredible 873% between 1971 and 2011 tells us that the girls are not exaggerating.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 27th Aug, 2017

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Using ordinance to protect freedom of expression from foul speech may result in damaging decent communication.

Only an empowered regulator can help boost production and cut coal imports.

Biden’s policy of the “return to the normal” would be inadequate to decisively defeat Trumpism.

*/ */

Only a generous award by the Fifteenth Finance Commission can restore fiscal balance.

*/ */

The assessment of the new military alliance should be informed by its implications for Indian armed forces.

The fiscal stimulus is too little to have any major impact on the economy.

The new alliance is reconfigured around the prospect of democratic politics, but its realisation may face challenges.

A damning critique does not allow India to remain self-complacent on the economic and health fronts.

 

The dignity of public institutions depends on the practice of constitutional ideals.

The NDA government’s record in controlling hunger is dismal despite rising stocks of cereal.

 

Back to Top