Girls’ marginalisation in education
Within the Young Lives sample in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India, girls are significantly less likely than boys to complete secondary education; only 66% of girls progress through secondary school, compared to 77% of boys. Findings from Young Lives qualitative research highlight many reasons for girls being marginalised in and excluded from secondary education, including distance to school, inadequate safety, and engagement in paid and unpaid labour, particularly after they attain puberty. These issues particularly affect girls from scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and ‘backward caste’ families.
The latest findings from Young Lives indicate that leaving school early is a powerful predictor of child marriage and early childbearing in India. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, girls in the Young Lives Older Cohort who left school by age 15 were four times more likely to marry before age 18 than girls who were still enrolled. These girls were also more likely to come from poorer households, and their parents and caregivers were less likely to be well-educated or to have high aspirations for their daughters. These findings indicate the importance of safe, accessible and high-quality secondary education for girls, as well as the need for effective social protection and investment in livelihoods and opportunities for young women and men, so families feel confident that they can delay their daughters’ marriage and invest in their education and future.