By Mahek Ansari and Gulsawa Ansari of Grade 6, Vile Parle East Mumbai Public School, Mumbai. This was written as an essay submission for #EveryGirlInSchool in TFI Fellows’ classrooms.
Even today, I don’t think that girls are given the same opportunities as boys because I still see around me that a lot of girls are not going to school. Both boys and girls have the right to education, right to play sports and right to freedom – freedom to wear what they want to, to say what they want to and to do what they want to. But girls are not given freedom to express their choice. There is a fixed mindset in the society that believes that girls should stay at home and boys should get a job to earn money, that boys are stronger than girls, boys can be independent but girls should only do as they are told.
People think that marriage is the goal for girls. But even in school when we do goal setting we do not write marriage as our goal. A lot of girls are not sent to school because they feel that it is a waste of money since she will get married and go to another family. Parents get their daughters married early because they think that if they get education then they will find it difficult to adjust and have a lot of wants and opinions. Even if the parents support their daughters, the society does not let them study because they think that education will make the girl smarter and more independent. They think that the girl will order her husband around and tell him what to do whereas they just want the girls to listen.
Recently, one of my friends wanted to go for a weeklong picnic with her dance class. Her mother allowed her but all her other relatives said no. The reason was “what if something happens to you?” Some will say this is for safety but when a boy wants to go to a picnic he is always allowed. Why do we not tell boys “what will happen to you?” It is this mindset of parents that is causing this discrimination between boys and girls.
I have a question for you – how are you reading this? You are reading this because you had the right to go to school and study. Then why are we not helping girls around us who are not allowed? Why do people listen to the society, but not their own daughters? If we let our girls study along with the boys, I think India will become a smarter country. We know so many great women leaders like Pratibha Patil, PV Sindhu, Geeta Phogat, Mary Kom, and Kalpana Chawla. They are famous and have made India a bright country because they were allowed to do what they want to. Girls can become doctors, teachers, engineers and police inspectors just like boys can do housework.
The government along with companies that work for girl child rights and news channels should spread this awareness and celebrate successful female leaders. They should talk about more girls growing and building hospitals and big schools for our country. The government has made rules like ‘everyone should be equal’ but it is not being followed. We need to keep checks. Apart from this, a lot of people have less money and say that they can send only one child to school. So they end up sending the boy, not the girl. We should all come together, be strong like Malala Yousafzai and write a letter to the government asking them to open more free education schools like our Vile Parle East MPS so that just like boys, more girls can go to school.