What is that one thing that can change an Indian girl child’s life?

I think that one thing is her parents seeing her as their child and not as her future in laws’s daughter-in-law (Paraya Dhan).

Everything changes when a paraya dhan becomes her parents’ child. Her happiness, her future, her comfort, her health, her safety… and eventually her rights and  freedoms also become important enough to fight for.

Once the family values her, so will the society.

Do you agree?

But how do the parents begin to do that?

By realising that Getting Married and Staying Married need not be the only way for a girl child to ‘settle down’.

And what’s the first step for that to happen?

Education ofcourse.

Which is why I am supporting #​Selfies4School by Breakthrough.

Nation Against Early Marriage

What happens when a girl child goes to school?

1. The girl child gets to be a child that she is. She gets a break from housework and taking care of younger siblings. The school might also provide nutrition and opportunities for physical activities.

2. Makes it possible for a girl child to begin to see that there is more to her life than Getting Married and Staying Married.

3. Schooling also makes it possible/easier for her parents to delay a girl child’s marriage.

One huge plus in all this is that most Indians value Education and Success.


According to a UNICEF report, India has 47% of the world’s child brides – although we have festivals where we ‘worship’ girl children. 🙄

‘Breakthrough is hoping that #Selfies4School will help ignite conversations in the drawing rooms of professionals and the educated classes.’

Igniting conversations is a powerful step in the right direction I think, because without conversation there is Silence.

How do you like the campaign mascot – Uma with her dupatta flying like a cape 😀

Uma Selfies4School

Take a look at this video – in Hindi.

Related Posts:

“See – UNICEF has figured it out. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out.”

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

His sister is 26 and has two kids, the older one is 8! Another sister, around 18 is also married.

The life and times of another Indian Homemaker.

19 Rape Facts that Khaps, Cops and Chautala should know.

When life ends at twelve.

So how did you go to school?


17 thoughts on “What is that one thing that can change an Indian girl child’s life?

  1. Agreed! Proper Education leads to personal Independence which gives them the confidence to fight any forced or semi-forced marriages of any kind.
    This was one of the things my mother taught me – Education is the one thing that no one can ever take away from you whatever circumstance you may face now or in the future.
    P.S: Loved the mascot! Super Girls turn to Super Women! 🙂


  2. I think we need to bring the conversation into more than just the drawing rooms of the educated group. They mostly send their girls to school, atleast basic school. I think we could all do our part by thinking about influencing and enabling the kids who don’t go, like the construction workers kids who play near my parents place and the ironing lady’s daughter who watches her little brother.
    Its hard to influenece those parents but not impossible.


  3. Sometimes I wonder what difference education make to us. My parents are educated and both are working. They gave me education. I have done MBA and working. But still expectation is same Follow whatever they have said. This is qualification and requirement of being good child. I want to marry person of my choice. I wanted my parents to meet him with open mind and give their point of view.But from the day they came to know about this they don’t even talk properly. Even they went to say that it was their mistake that they gave me this level of education. It feels that in India girls are born for arrange marriage only. Otherwise if they want anything they are not worth of being born.

    It is not my case alone. Same situation is with my roommate. Her parents are educated working in bank. But they pressurize her to leave job so that they can force her for marriage.For one friend her parents are worrying that if guy is dark then her children will be dark.

    We all are working and supporting our families. But phir bh kum pad jata hai.The kind of torture it is it can not be explained in words.And you can find many stories like this everywhere

    And really how it empowers. One of my friends after her marriage lived with her husband only. But even for going her mother’s house she need to call her MIL for permission, for buying one AC her husband said that on your birthday your family can gift it na,during late pregnancy he said that if you continue to be fat then I will not take you out. This person is MPharm and working with MNC. But she said nothing against all these things.

    Sometimes I wonder any difference will come in the situation of Indian Women or not.


    • I agree. My so called well to do, educated family continues to believe in marriage being the be all and end all of life. They have educated their daughters but still ‘want what’s best’ for us, which of course is marriage and children, not following our dreams even if that means remaining single for as long as we wish.

      The change can only come in future generations and how they implement these ideologies in their progeny. Or even parents see the horrors of what a bad marriage can do to their child.


    • What education gives is the opportunity for economic independance.

      But then you must be prepared to fight to get what you want.

      Situation of Indian Women will change only if one woman after another stands for what she wants. Even in the West, women have to fight for their rights, sometimes at work, sometimes with families.

      One thing I learnt is you can fight without being aggressive, and this happens when you start believing in yourself and stand up quietly but consistently.


  4. This is a great cause. It is nice to know that orgs like Breakthrough exist and are doing something about the despairing state of girl children in India.

    Although education can make a huge difference to the rural and poor families, in India, education hardly makes a difference to middle class to rich families. Many of these families do educate their daughters and even encourage them to work. They get their MBAs, become doctors, etc. and still believe in the ‘Get Married, Stay Married’ outlook and won’t choose their own partner and will suffer oppression at the hands of their in-laws in trying to stay married.

    How do we change that? Our education in schools doesn’t include tenets such as ‘respect individual rights’, ‘all humans have the same rights’, and ‘as adults, we are entitled to certain choices’. This is where I feel our education fails and really makes no difference.


  5. Forgive me for indulging my very sick sense of humour, but the first thing that came to my mind was:
    “A sex change surgery.”

    I am not serious, really I’m not, but having dealt with this anti-female prejudice both in India and the West for many years, I’m at the point where I need either cry or laugh – or give up. I am constitutionally incapable of giving up.


    • I’ve offered to my dad that I will have one if it means he’ll treat me like his child and not his daughter-who-cant-carry-the-family-name-forward


  6. I liked the video except for the part at the end where the Mom still mentions 21-22 as the age when she would think of getting her daughter married. I think awareness campaigns should stress on the fact that the age factor should not be more important than completion of education upto whatever level she wishes to and financial independence.


  7. Thinking back a bit about this , I agree with this concept at the same time i have an example of my cousin , an only son who married this awesome girl, v docile but bright, with an BE and an MBA who doesn’t work since her husband and in-laws don’t prefer it. and whose parents are so glad she has decent (??) spouse n din-laws that they don’t want her to rebel or rock the boat and offer her 0 support. her lot in life is to do dishes and cook with her MIL, who loves to keep house and thank god that she has in-laws who claim to never restrict her in food, dress, etc., but is she really free??? is she really content?? is she really happy?? i see sadness and acceptance in her eyes and when she speaks freely to me. is this what we want for our girls???


  8. One programme I really like is World Vision, where you can sponsor a child till completion of education and self-sufficiency. If the sponsor chooses a girl, that’s a big boost for girl’s education in the community. (All their programmes are community driven, so it’s not a literal one-one relationship between sponsor and child).


  9. Pingback: UNICEF:Child marriage on rise in Kerala | Udupi News, Manipal News, Mangalore News

  10. Pingback: The School Principal Who Married At Twelve | Tilling the Earthwoman

  11. The problem in the video was an abusive marriage. Why is that being used to denounce child marriage?
    So if it was a non-abusive marriage, would child marriage be okay?
    The relevant argument in the video is 4:49.
    But even that isn’t actually making the point is it? For instance if access to health, mandating education were accomplished. Would things be fine?

    Isn’t the conceptual problem with child marriage, the fact that the kids lack the agency to make the decision that charts the course of their lives?

    If say they had access to health, access to education – but the choice of life-partner alone gets pre-decided. How would one look at it? Like parents and siblings – you don’t so much have a choice, you have each other, grow-up with each other and have to look after each other – romance be damned!

    I am acutely aware that it’s in bad taste to muse on these lines when the ramifications on the ground are serious. But as a cultural shift over generations,it fascinates me how this causes visceral revulsion in all of us today. Not sure if we have examined this well enough.

    While the gender-prism is indeed instructive to look through, it wasn’t just our great grandmother but also great grandfathers who married as kids. How differently they’d’ve viewed marriage, choice, spouse than we view it now!


  12. Indian society expects the youth to earn a handsome amount of money, ‘make’ property, and finally, “settle down” by marrying. I find this idea of “settling down” quite ridiculous. Life is one constant struggle & it’s up to is how we choose to go through with it.


  13. Pingback: Child marriage “is an evil worse than rape” and should be completely eradicated from society, said a Delhi court | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  14. Pingback: Shadi ke baad ladki ki PRIORITY sasuraal ki taraf ho jaati hai? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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