This paper provides an account of gender equity in schooling in India, with a particular emphasis on educational access. It aims to highlight educational access issues affecting both girls and boys in India and the types of initiatives needed to secure meaningful and sustainable access for all. Specifically, this paper refers to the gendered aspects of access in six zones of exclusion in Indian context: children who have never been to school and are termed as 'never enrolled' (Zone 1); children who enter primary schooling (grades I through V), but drop out before completing primary (Zone 2); children who enter primary schooling but are 'at risk' of dropping out (Zone 3); children who complete primary but fail to make the transition to upper primary (grades VI through VIII) (Zone 4); children who enter upper primary schooling but who drop out before completing the cycle (Zone 5); and children who complete elementary schooling (in the Indian context, 'elementary' refers to primary and upper primary levels, or from grade I through grade VIII) but do not enter secondary schooling. Developed as a review of existing literature and data, the paper provides both qualitative and quantitative accounts of gendered access to schooling.
In the first section, the paper provides background narrative to the gendered contexts of education in India. There then follows quantitative information on educational access according to gender. Both data and research literature are analysed to highlight the interlocking nature of educational inclusions and exclusions, viewing gendered access alongside issues such as education of children belonging to scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and Muslims, disability, poverty and child labour. Supply-side issues are also discussed in terms of educational provision and gendered schooling practices. Initiatives designed to address gendered inequalities are then highlighted and critiqued. Finally, conclusions are drawn and recommendations are made for future research.
CREATE Pathways to Access Series, Research Monograph Number 18, ISBN: 0-901881-19-8, 58 pp.