TA: Amy Pojar
Literacy Rates Affecting Women and Development in India
Jawaharlal Nehru once said that you could tell a lot about the development of a nation by looking at the status of its women. This is often a very good indicator of development especially when looking at the literacy levels of the women in a particular society. Literacy rates correlate with a certain level of education. Education can lead to better health and lower fertility rates. These outcomes are argued as being extremely useful to development. Throughout this paper I will focus on India who is often being talked about for their rapid development; however, they still have the lowest literacy rates in Asia. There are many consequences, which will arise if this issue of literacy is not settled in India.
India is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, however there is a massive problem that the country is facing, in getting their female citizens educated. The U.S. Department of Commerce Census stated: “Despite government attempts at improving education for all its citizens, India still has one of the lowest female literacy rates in Asia. There are 330 million women above the age of 7 in India. Today about 60 percent, or over 200 million, are illiterate.” (pg. 3) India’s constitution guarantees free primary school education for both boys and girls up to age 14. This is continually used as an excuse used to express what India is doing for education. However, primary education in India is not universal. Overall, the literacy rate for women is 39 percent versus 64 percent for men. Attendance rates from the 1981 census suggest that no more than one third of all girls aged 5-14 are attending school. This is really unfortunate as the lack of an educated population can be an impediment to the countries economic development.
Education is a powerful tool in development as it leads to many other advances. Women who are illiterate tend to have high...