Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday expressed concern at female literacy rate and their labour force participation in the country and said that women empowerment should become a mass movement by focusing on girl education.
“Like Swachh Bharat became a mass movement, empowering the girl child should also become a mass movement, a cause close to the hearts of every Indian,” he said.
The Vice President said it was “appalling” that more than 50 million young women in India neither study nor work and that India’s female labour force participation in the market was only 31.2 per cent.
He said educating girls of all sections was a priority for the current government and that a 2015 study found that India could increase its GDP by 16 to 60 per cent by 2025 by simply enabling women to participate in the economy at par with men.
“There is nothing more important than educating women — it is the one sure shot, consistent gauge of progress for practically every development indicator, from mortality declines to economic growth, democracy and justice,” the Vice President said at the convocation of Jamia Hamdard University here.
He said it was a matter of great concern that in India, the average female literacy rate was 65.46 per cent as against the world average of 79.7 per cent.
“The World Bank estimates female labour force participation in the market at 31.2 per cent in India and says that more than 50 million young women in India neither study nor work. The numbers are appalling,” he said.
Naidu said there was a tremendous opportunity for progress in women’s education and empowerment and that programmes like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana’ had been proven to be game changers inspiring people to campaign for the cause of the girl child.