Published: 10th October 2022
Study reveals that burden of household chores is preventing girl students from attending school
The Educate Girls study reveals that the burden of early marriage or engagement has resulted in the high number of girls not attending school
Educate Girls, a nonprofit organisation that focuses on girls’ education in India’s rural & educationally backward areas, recently conducted a study across 900+ households to understand how the pandemic has impacted the education of girls aged 5 to 19. This study was conducted by talking to mothers, girls and boys in villages of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, stated a report by ANI.
What were the key findings of this study?
The study revealed that the number of hours girls, aged 15 to 18, spend doing household chores has increased. The study also revealed that out of four adolescent girls, three were still strapped with the responsibility of household chores even after the reopening of schools.
In November and December 2021, Educate Girls conducted another study with mothers and over 3,200 girls and boys to estimate the impact of the pandemic on girls’ education in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The report stated that, in India, over 1.5 million schools in 2020 were closed and this impacted over 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary school. Girls from marginalised communities were the most affected.
According to the study done by Educate Girls, one of the major roadblocks preventing girls from resuming education is the increase in financial distress. The number of girls who are not attending schools is 2.3 times higher in households that have lost most of their income post-pandemic.
The lockdown resulted in an increase in the burden of household chores on girls falling under the age of 15 to 18. This is not contrary to regular times when girls are burdened with household chores, but, after the pandemic, the time they spend on these chores has increased by 1 hour to 3.5 hours on average.
The burden of early marriage or engagement has also resulted in the high number of girls not attending school. The report noted that roughly 30% of the girls who participated in this study from Uttar Pradesh were already married or engaged and in Rajasthan, all the girls mentioned that there has been an increase in proposals or interest in their marriage.
Most parents and adolescent girls reported that the girls were not married and neither did they get engaged or spoken for during the lockdown and overall COVID period while schools were shut. Only 1% of adolescent girls admitted to being married while that number is 2% for adolescent boys. 4% of adolescent girls and 2% of adolescent boys have said there has been an increase in the number of marriage proposals after the lockdowns.
"The findings of the study are clear — the barriers to girls' education are greater than ever before and we need to fight greater odds to ensure these girls go to school, don't drop out and continue learning. The impact is most acute for adolescent girls. The study also highlights the stories of girls and the long-term effect the pandemic has left on their lives," says Safeena Husain, Founder and Board Member, Educate Girls, as reported by ANI.
"Educate Girls works with some of India's most rural, remote and marginalised communities. This study has built evidence on the criticality of supporting girls through education, especially in post-COVID times. The findings of the report have helped us create actionable plans to work with the communities and the government to ensure that girls are back in school," shares Maharshi Vaishnav, CEO, Educate Girls, stated the report.
The study has been compiled in a report titled 'Impact of Covid-19 in rural India and its effect on girls'. The report also stated the opportunities that are ahead of these girl students that will help them get back to school with the support of their teachers, parents and peers.