Who bears the burden of reforms? A study of education and gender in Delhi, 1947-1975

Dr. Manjushree Singh

(Associate professor, Gargi College, Delhi University, Delhi)

msprasadsingh@yahoo.com, singh.manjushree19@gmail.com


Post independence knowledge of the effects of inequitous access to education has led the government to form committees to go into the problem of providing education for girls. In Delhi we see a boost being given to girls' school and collegiate education levels in Delhi government’s five year plan. This paper takes an overview of the growth of educational facilities in Delhi in over a period of a quarter of a century of independence. It further examines how the traditional sterotyping of gender roles and the value placed on division of labour by sex whereby men work outside the home and women work in the house as caregivers, is breaking down as more and more girls are taking to education and were entering the job market in the late1960. But does this seemingly satisfactory correlation between the growth in educational facilities and better enrollment of girls in schools and colleges work in favour of girls across communities, castes and spatial location?

Across each educational level in Delhi during quarter of a century of independence,women were relatively worse off compared to men. This gender disparity becomes more pervasive in the case of certain communities and castes and for those living in rural areas. Explanations of this gender disparity are many. One may look at the educational facilities provided by the government and other agencies to promote education. Another line of argument may be based on the effects of patriarchal oriented families and their approach to girls'education. My proposition is that there were different sets of patriarchal relations in Delhi's society during this period. We need to explore the interplay of educational reforms and their implementation and also how these reforms were impacted by socio-cultural and economic factors . Girls' access to education is definitely a state function but is also conditioned by the sum total of gender,wealth and status of the family and knowledge.