The Economic and Social Implicationsof Women?s Education in India
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According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), there were a total of 862 million illiterate adults in the world in 2000, with 34% of that population (293,080,000 persons) living in India. Even with India?s population of over 1 billion people making up approximately 17% of the world?s population, the high concentration of illiteracy is staggering. What is even more alarming is that UNESCO reports two-thirds of the world?s illiterate adult population being female. This fact is of particular importance because according to the United Nations, there is a ?direct correlation between literacy, health, economic and political power and the exercise of informed choice, especially for women.? Studies by the UN Development Program (UNDP), the UN Children?s Fund (UNICEF) and UNESCO have shown that ?education decisively determines a woman?s access to paid employment, her earning capacity, her overall health, control over her fertility, family size and spacing, and the education and health of her family.? Thus, these studies show that the key to achieving greater development in a nation such as India is the education of the country?s women.