3rd plenary meeting - 59th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD59)
The 59th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD59) will take place from 8 to 17 February 2021 at the…
“Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all”.
The theme of the 59th Commission for Social Development in 2021 is extremely relevant and important and I would like to highlight that it must ensure that all people — women and girls as well — must be included. However that is not the case in India, where we are still struggling to meet the standards of equality and inclusiveness when it comes to women and girls.
Despite the Beti bachao, beti padhao (Save daughters, educate daughters) campaign of the Government of India, we still have a horrific sex ratio. Recent statistics for 2 of the states — Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh indicate that female births have declined to 806 per 1000 male births.
This skewed sex ratio indicates that girls are seen as a liability and a burden and impacts their status in society. In rural areas, education of girls is still not a priority. Many families deny girls an education because of poverty, violence, child labor, early marriage, abuse within and outside families, and lack of care and nutrition. Further, the education system is inefficient — lack of teachers, lack of school buildings, electricity, toilets, infrastructure and more.
During COVID19 education for all children moved online and we were not prepared. Unfortunately, we have seen a large percentage of girls being disadvantaged and discriminated against because either they did not have access to digital devices or were not given preference to use them or they didn’t have access to the internet. The impact of the girls losing out a year of education can only be assessed in the future.
Unless we take a holistic and multi perspective approach which places the girls at the centre of our policy design, we will not be able to solve this problem. In our work, we have come across girls who want to aspire for more — they want to be astronauts, police officers, doctors and teachers. But in many homes they are not allowed to pursue education beyond a point for a multitude of reasons as explained earlier. We have to change the way girls are perceived and build their confidence in themselves and in those around…