Intersectional Disadvantage in Attaining Parity in Basic Education: A Gendered Perspective

Achala Gupta


Literacy is a part of everyday life and affects individuals’ capability to not only gather and process information but also to contribute to prospective changes in the global as well as local contexts. Females’ exclusion from the institution of education widens gender disparity on the levels of educational credentials, occupational choices, and subsequently in perceiving gendered roles in society. Thus, established gender differences cause inequality between men and women. This paper showcases the status of primary education over a course of time and argues that challenges to attaining gender parity in basic education lie within prevalent traditional and modern perspectives towards gender that is influenced by the social positioning of women amidst multi-layered forms of social stratification in Indian society. The paper is organised into four sections. Part I discusses gender disparity in literacy rates and elementary education in India. Section II compares primary education for males and females across socially disadvantaged groups: Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Section III suggests key challenges to attaining gender parity in elementary education in India and the final section argues why it is pressing to achieve universalised primary education without gendered biases.

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