Why should Women Study?

Education is the pillar for economic growth and development. As a nation develops, the share of Industrial and Services sector increases in the GDP. Employment opportunities are generated and the country requires educated workforce. Economic growth is related to improvement in technology, which in turn is dependent on the availability of researchers in the country. Therefore, education can said to be one of the most important pillars for growth of a country. No wonder every year the Indian government spends crores of rupees on the education sector.

For the XI plan a total of Rs. 177,566.86 crores has been spent on educating the youth of India which is divided into –

  • Allocation for higher education: Rs. 39,646.82 crores (ie. Average yearly expenditure of Rs. 7,929.4 crores)
  • School Education and Literacy: Rs. 137,920.04 crores (ie. Average yearly expenditure of Rs. 27,584.0 crores)

Taking into account the total enrollment of students for school education and higher education , the average expense per year for every student paid by the taxpayers comes to Rs. 1142 for school education and Rs. 2776 for higher education. Therefore on an average to train 1 student (who has cleared higher education), the total taxpayer expenditure comes to Rs. 22,030 (12 years of schooling and 3 years of college).

Now a question arises why are we discussing the amount spent by our government for higher education. We will shortly come to that question. In the meanwhile let up analyse the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for women in India. The LFPR for women has been continuously declining since 2004 from 208 to 168 per thousand persons, which is a substantial decline. Every year roughly 1.3 crore women graduate in India, hence in the past 10 years about 13 crores women have graduated. As per the NSS estimate about 0.6 crore women in the age group of 25-34 are working in administrative, technical, professional and clerical roles .

Of the 13 crore trained women only 0.6 crore are in the Labour Force. A whooping 12.1 crore women are not working even though they are highly qualified. The taxpayers have spent roughly Rs. 265,816 crores in training these women, who are not contributing to the growth of the economy. These funds could have been better used at some other place which could have provided better economic growth and return on investment.

Now an interesting question arises as to why women donot want to work even though they are equally qualified. Often a reason promulgated is sexual harassment at workplace. We do have strict sexual harassment laws, still the workforce participation rate is falling. If sexual harassment was the reason, these strict laws ought to have increased the LFPR, which is not the case.

Now a question arises that what could be the reasons for this deep rooted social issue where well educated women are going out of the work force and even applying for maintenance from their husbands:

  1. Lack of agency on women’s part which means treating them as children. They are grown up and ought to be treated as same and should be made responsible for their own decisions
  2. Lack of responsibilities on women. All the responsibilities are on men socially as well as legally. Section 125 of CrPC specifically states that men are responsible for the upkeep of their wives and parents. No such responsibility is there on women howsoever qualified she might be.
  3. Lack of accountability on women. It has been seen that women are not made accountable for their actions. As is evident in the sharp rise in frivolous cases filed by them. Further, women centric laws are being implemented and sops are regularly doled out for them during each government budget

The effects of these social issues are grave such as:

  1. The loss to the GDP of India as discussed above
  2. Increase in the number of serious crimes committed by women
  3. Reduction of women from the workforce
  4. Rise in frivolous case of sexual assault
  5. Increase in the number of male suicides

In a maintenance case filed by an educated wife, the learned Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had commented, “The law does not help indolents as well idles so also does not want an army of self made lazy idles. Everyone has to earn for the purpose of maintenance of himself or herself, atleast, has to make sincere efforts in that direction.” The learned Judge further stated, “In fact, well qualified spouses desirous of remaining idle, not making efforts for the purpose of finding out a source of livelihood, have to be discouraged, if the society wants to progress.”

How do we rectify these social issues? What should be the future steps, let us all Stand Up for a Cause…



  1. Yearwise Plan Expenditure (Ministry of Human Resource Development): http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/YearwiseXIPlanExpdt.pdf
  2. Statistics of School Education 2009-10 (Ministry of Human Resource Development): http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/SES-School_200910F.pdf
  3. All India Survey on Higher Education 2011-12 (Ministry of Human Resource Development): http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/AISHE2011-12P_1.pdf
  4. Key Indicators of Employment and Unemployment in India 2011-12 (NSS 68th Round) (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation)
  5. Code 1-4 of NCO-2004 (Ministry of Labour): http://dget.nic.in/nco/CodeStructure.pdf . Calculation Steps: Multiplying the women in workforce (Age 25-34) given on pg 119 with women working in office given on pg 196.


School Education: Typically defined as classes I to XII.

Higher Education: Typically Universities, Colleges and Stand-Alone Institutions and includes integrated, certificate,  diploma, degree, post grad. and PH.D. courses.

Note: Do feel free to comment if you have any concerns or suggestions for the article. Your comments / concerns will be suitably included in the article.

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Female Literacy rate rising more than Male Literacy rate

I was recently reading a newspaper article where it stated that ‘India will take around 56 years to achieve female youth literacy‘.

On reading the headline, I was quite intrigued and found out data of literacy rates in India. The census comes out with the literacy rates, and as per its data the literacy rates are given below:

10-14 Years 15-19 Years
Year Female Male Female Male
2001 77.0% 86.0% 72.7% 85.0%
2011 90.0% 92.2% 86.2% 91.2%
Growth in % Pts. 13.0% 6.2% 13.5% 6.2%

As seen above in the age group of 10-14 years, the literacy rates for females and males is 90% and 92.2% respectively, which is not a wide difference. In the past decade (from 2001-2011), the growth in % points in literacy rates for females has been more that 2x times he growth in literacy rates for males. The growth in literacy has been 13% for females and 6.2% for males. Implying that the rate of literacy is higher for girls as compared to boys.

We have just discussed literacy (which means learning how to read and write), let’s now discuss regarding education (ie. studying in class I – XII). Here the parameter to be referred to is the Gender Parity Index (GPI), which is the ratio of female Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to male GER. A GPI of 1 indicates parity between the sexes.

For classes I-XII, the GPI has increased from 0.82 from 2001-02 to 0.96 in 2009-10, implying that the education level for girls and boys are nearly at par. For class I-VII, the GPI for 2009-10 is 0.98. The GPI of various classes is given below:

Class I-V Class I-VIII Class I-XII
2001-02 0.83 0.81 0.82
2009-10 1.00 0.98 0.96

As seen above the GPI has considerably risen and has become 1.0 for Class I-V. 

Therefore, female youth literacy and education does not seem to be distant dream as shown in the data above.



1) Statistics of School Education 209-10, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

2) YouthInfo India: ORGI_Census 2001, Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi 2001 and 2011

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