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Indian girls fail to attain decent work, gender justice despite better educational attainment, warns UNESCO report

By Our Representative
Observing a major discrepancy, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report has said that India may have seen rapid growth in education attainment among girls, but this is "not seen a commensurate increase in decent work or changes in gendered social norms."
"In India, the female employment rates have decreased while female education increased", UNESCO says in its “Global Education Monitoring Report 2016.”
It underlines, "Furthermore, while the levels of girls’ and women’s enrolment in all levels of education is rising in the country, the female-to-male infant ratio is simultaneously dropping, especially among more urban populations, with gender-discriminatory views leading to sex-selective abortion and gender-discriminatory child-rearing practices."
The report also says, "Gender-based violence can continue in spite of high levels of education."
Giving an instance, it says, "Kerala state, India, has a high level of women’s education and literacy, yet rates of domestic violence and dowry-related crimes have been increasing. Furthermore, women’s levels of mental ill-health, and changes in marriage, inheritance and succession practices have weakened women’s access to and control over inherited resources."
Blaming this on strong traditional roots, the report states, "A survey-based analysis of intergenerational transmission of gender attitudes in India finds strong positive correlations between parent and child attitudes, with mothers having greater influence than fathers."
It adds, "On average, when a parent holds a discriminatory gender attitude, their child is 15 percentage points more likely to hold that attitude; the effect is 50% larger for mothers than for fathers. Girls with more gender-discriminatory parents tend to drop out of school earlier than those with more gender-progressive parents."
It underlines, studies "confirm the importance of female role models" in overcoming this problem.
"The presence of female leaders in India was found to narrow the gender gap in girls’ aspirations and advancement in education. Female students were found to perform better in introductory math and science courses if taught by female faculty, and more likely to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics."
However, the report believes, "Focusing on women’s initiatives is not enough. Men and women have to work together to achieve gender-balanced lives. Analysis of results of the International Men and Gender Equality Survey from 10,490 men aged 18 to 59 in 8 countries, including India, found that "men’s education and income, and equitable practices in men’s childhood homes, were associated with their attitudes to equity."
The report, however, says that the results of the survey revealed somewhat surprising results for India. It says, "Men’s equitable attitudes were reflected in practices such as more participation in the home, reduced use of violence and higher relationship and sexual satisfaction; men’s education and their mother’s education were found to be positively associated with progress towards gender equality, except in India."
The report also finds that greater representation of women in politics and public office can also reduce gender disparities in education and provide positive role models for other women, increasing their educational aspirations and achievements, and thereby improving female educational attainment levels.
Thus, it says, “Across the 16 biggest states in India, a 10% increase in the number of women involved in district politics would lead to an increase of nearly 6% in primary school completion, with a larger impact on girls’ education. Similarly, in villages assigned a female leader for two election cycles, the gender gap in career aspirations shrank by 25% in parents and 32% in adolescents.”

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