Education: Means of Empowerment

Topics: Gender, Gender differences, Sexual dimorphism Pages: 9 (3192 words) Published: September 5, 2010
EMPOWERMENT AND GENDER DIFFERENCE IN EDUCATION AND STATUS

LAYMAN’s definition would consider empowerment as position of woman vis-à-vis man in society. The term empowerment is widely used in the context of development, particularly women’s development. Women are partner in developmental process. It has been said by various dignitaries that in case of any big achievement by a man, contribution of the woman is well recognized. But it is found that women are not established in the deserving places of the society. The level of acquired education is an important pre-condition for individuals to enjoy power and achieve satisfaction in his/her life. Opportunities to access education are not uniform to different sections of the population. Gender bias is a major concern for unequal opportunities for acquiring education. In West Bengal, in the case of gender, girl students are relatively more deprived to reach at the end of Madhyamik level. Proportion of girls among Madhyamik examinees is 42% as against 58% of boys but negligible difference is observed with respect to achievement(result). In the present study effect of gender on Madhyamik results have been investigated. Key Words: Empowerment, Achievement, Gender bias.

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Introduction

Empowerment, as widely accepted is a process of awareness and building of capacity leading to greater participation, to greater decision-making power and control to transformative action (Karl, 1995). It is a way of defining, challenging and overcoming barriers in one’s life through which the individual increases his/her ability to shape his/ her life and environment (Devadas, 1999). Empowerment is the process of challenging existing power relations and of gaining greater control over the sources of power. This term is widely used in the context of development and women’s are partner in the developmental process. One can not disagree that a woman is quite capable to reach the goal and society can enjoy her services. But in the self-introspection, it will be found that women are not established in the deserving places of the society. There are various reasons behind this factor. Economic, political and mainly lack of education has deprived the women to get their rightful place in the social process. According to 2001 census, the available statistics provide adequate evidence to show that there continue to be considerable gap in literacy by sex in India (Dutta, 2004). On the contrary, one of the stated aims of the education system is to provide a learning environment in which all students can strive to achieve their potential. Despite that goal, gender inequality still persists. Moreover, around the world, girls face multiple social and economic barriers for enrolling in school.

Review of Literature
Prolific attempts have been made to explain this fact. Buckingham(1999)observed that boys and girls differ in scholastic performance due to biological differences, gender biases and socio-economic factors. Even in United States, after several decades of intense scrutiny and policy change, gender differences * Associate Scientist ‘B’, Psychology Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India. 55

Rumki Gupta in education linger (Nowell and Hedges, 1998; Ballantine, 2001). Lower percentages of adolescent girls attend and complete secondary school than boys in several parts of the world (Kurz and Prather,1995). Horne (2000) in one of his studies revealed that educational performance at school has also been found to vary according to the students’ sex. Gender disparity in schooling is also observed among the younger population, where female school enrolment in basic and secondary education is less compared to the male children (Tansel, 2002; Erturk and Daylo’ Lu, 2004). Mostly, girls drop out before completing four years of primary school (Women: Looking beyond 2000, 1995). Social inequality in educational opportunity with respect to gender is evident in India also. Gender...

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