27th February, 2016 (MAINS)


Q1. You are recently posted as district development officer of a district. Shortly thereafter you found that there is considerable tension in the rural areas of your district on the issue of sending girls to schools.

The elders of the village feel that many problems have come up because girls are being educated and they are stepping out of the safe environment of the household. They are the view that the girls should be quickly married off with minimum education. The girls are also competing for jobs after education, which have traditionally remained in boys’ exclusive domain, adding to unemployment amongst male population.

The younger generation feels that in the present era, girls should have equal opportunities for education and employment, and other means of livelihood. The entire locality is divided between sexes in both generations. You come to know that in Panchayat or in other local bodies or even in busy crosswords, the issue is being acrimoniously debated.

One day you are informed that an unpleasant incident has taken place. Some girls were molested, when they were en route to schools. The incident led to clashes between several groups and a law and order problem has arisen. The elder after heated discussion have taken a joint decision not to allow girls to go to school and to socially boycott all such families, which do not follow their dictate.

(a) What steps would you take to ensure girls’ safety without disrupting their education?

(b) How would you manage and mould patriarchic attitude of the village elders to ensure harmony in the inter- generational relations?

[25marks/2015/GS-4] 250 words.

Please write answer in the comments section.

  • Umesh Sachin

    Answer –
    (a) The issue involves ensuring safety of girls, without disrupting their education. It also involves ironing out the
    difference of opinion between the two generations. Following steps can be take for safety and education of girls:
     Social influence and persuasion techniques:- For bringing social change through attitude transformation, we
    need to use different techniques of social influence and persuasion. Elders should be persuaded for allowing
    education of girls, while assuring them of their safety. Social proof, reciprocity, role models, etc can play a
    significant role in this.
     Changing Socialization process:- Gender stereotypes need to be broken by changing the socialization process of
    children. This is important to remove the gender discrimination face by girls. Child rearing practices can be
     Security arrangement and combat training: police roundups can be increased during opening and closure time
    of schools. Girls can also be taught in self defense techniques.
     Infrastructural improvements: Safety of girls in rural area is compromised because of lack of adequate
    infrastructure, like street light, toilet facilities etc. Bridging these gaps will help in providing a sense of security to
    girls. Constructing toilets, providing them cycles etc are some of the steps.
    (b) For managing and moldings the patriarchal attitude we need to use the following methods :
    (i) Using Persuasion techniques: Elder people must be persuaded with all due respect, in order to change their
    attitude towards girl education. Sarpanch of the village can play a significant role in this, since his position
    has authority to influence behaviour of people.
    (ii) Leadership skills:-The situation requires leadership skill on my part to influence the attitude of elderly
    people. I can do it my demonstrating them the benefits of girl education, through various examples. It is a
    powerful method of social influence.
    (iii) Emotional intelligence: It also requires emotional intelligence on my part, in order to understand and
    manage the emotions of the village elders. This is crucial for success of other steps. The issue has lot of
    emotional component which need to be managed properly.
    (iv) Attitude change: stereotypes and prejudice can be broken through adult education and dissemination of
    information regarding the benefits of girl education.
    So, in this manner social change can happen, and ensure that there is inter-generational harmony

  • Ashi Agarwal

    Ans. (a) There are many problems related with education of girls in India and to ensure that girls may feel safe while going to school several
    steps should be taken. The steps which I would take includes
    (i) Exemplary punishment that would be the best method of sending the correct message throughout the society.
    (ii) Potential criminals harassing girls should be deterred once they see that justice is done and it is done within a time framework.
    (iii) Ensure that there must be awareness about the individual security, and women and girls are attentive to pursue the means of safety.
    Therefore, the entire feminist strata must understand that safety of an individual is primarily the responsibility of the individual herself.
    1. In order to encourage proper way to manage and mould patriarchic attitude of the village elders to ensure harmony in inter- generational
    relations, I would encourage more and more conversation and exchange of views between people belonging to different age groups. To ensure the long term change in the attitude of the social fabric of the local area I will ensure that
    2. (i) The elders must be made more aware about the changing social environment and the role of educated women in the society.
    (ii) They must be made aware that if their attitude is not changed or their orthodoxy is maintained, they themselves will become an obstacle for the growth and progress of the society. And they will remain behind the developing fabric of the nation.