More of India’s teenage girls are currently in school and fewer married, while over 70 per cent (of a sample of 74,000 girls) want to work, findings from the Teen Age Girls (TAG) report suggest. The survey was compiled and published by Naandi Foundation — which runs Project Nanhi Kali, a non-government organisation that focuses on educating underprivileged girls — along with support from Mahindra & Mahindra. This is the first time a nation-wide survey has been attempted to understand issues and aspiration of India’s teenage girls, said Naandi Foundation.
While the data suggests issues such as female illiteracy and child marriage may be on a decline, India’s teenage girls still battle anaemia, open defecation and unhygienic menstrual practices. The rural-urban divide is stark for defecation and unhygienic menstrual practices. However, concerns over anaemia transcend that divide. Amid these challenges, the average Indian female teenager is aspirational and rightly so (see chart).
WHAT THEY ASPIRE…
Higher studies, late marriage, work opportunities
70.0% wish to pursue higher studies
74.3%wish to work after their studies; have a specific career in mind
73.3%in rural as well as urban India want to marry only after the age of 21
One may ask if there is someone listening. Manoj Kumar, CEO of Naandi Foundation, says the girls have voiced their demands that one cannot ignore. Some of these girls will also exercise their right to vote in the upcoming general elections. To begin with, states such as Kerala, Mizoram, Sikkim, Manipur and Himachal Pradesh did well on the TAG index, but a lot remains to be achieved.
Note: The TAG index tracks well-being of teenage girls based on nine parameters, including education, marriage, menustral hygiene, new-age skills, mobile ownership and health; Sample size: 74,000 teenage girls.
Source: The TAG survey