Did Society Change At All After 7 Years of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”?
Even after more than 7 years of the launch of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (which translates to, “save girls, educate the girls”), its posters are still omnipresent. You can find them on the walls of a government school, auto rickshaw hoods, inter-state buses and even on private trucks.
But the irony is, the same can’t be said about the presence of girls in schools.
Let’s travel back to the year 2011 when it all started. The census made some shocking revelations. We found that the child-sex ratio was declining even after the ban on the prenatal sex determination in 1994. It dropped from 945 girls per 1000 boys in 1999 to 918 girls per 1000 boys in 2011.
To tackle this problem, the government of India launched its flagship scheme BETI BACHAO BETI PADHAO (BBBP), with an initial funding of Rs.100 Crore.
Objectives of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
Through BBBP the government wanted to achieve the following goals:
-Improve child sex ratio
-Ensure women empowerment
-Prevent female foeticide
-Ensure survival and protection of the girl child
-Encourage education and participation of the girl child
What did we get out of it?
More than seven years down the line, we have successfully increased the child-sex ratio at birth, and saved girls from female foeticide. But, is there any success in ensuring their survival and protection?
Society still perceives women as a paraaya dhan – a burden that needs to be married off ASAP. Girls in India still face gender bias. As a matter of fact, post-birth negligence of nutrition, health and education is very common among tier 2 and 3 regions. Hence, the BETI BACHAO part remains unfulfilled.
Added to this, the school dropout rates of girls at secondary levels are still increasing. So we have failed on the BETI PADHAO front of the campaign as well!
Was this just a marketing campaign?
To sell the idea of saving and educating girls was not enough. The root of the problem with the scheme lies in itself. The whole scheme talks and advertises about how we should save girls and save women, but there’s no mention of WHOM we are trying to protect them from.
We are trying to educate girls, but we don’t have a single mention of WHO is trying to stop them from going to school. WHO is subjecting them to constant discrimination? WHO is responsible for this vast injustice?
Well, we all know the answer- it’s the other gender, primarily. And society, the enablers!
It’s the men of these families who decide whether a girl child should be born, educated, married off, or allowed to work. So while we are bachaoing our betis, are we talking about saving them from the MEN in their social circle? After all, men are responsible for the majority of crimes against women. The irony is men call women a burden because women need to be protected, but the danger to these women are the men in their lives – fathers, brothers, uncles, and neighbours who push women into such exploitative situations.
Read More- Will Gen Z Save The Earth?
The need to revamp the scheme
It’s high time that we address the crux of the situation – educating our boys and men, and society as a whole to kill gender bias from the root. We need to incorporate the role of men in this scheme right from the start. We need to sensitize them towards these issues because we can’t save women just by playing defence against each other.
We have to play together to win, this is the only way to bring about social change.
Along with girls, we also have to educate the boys and ask ourselves, “Beti Bachao, Beti Padao par beton ka kya?”