On the International Day of the Girl 2019, over 70,000 young people march for every girl's right to education in India.
“Daughters also have the equal right to education. Today, I am a part of this march to urge people to end all forms of discrimination against girls.”
Pari Tyagi, Class 8 student, Swastik Public School, Delhi
October 11th is the International Day of the Girl, and youth activists across India have been marching to demand the right of every girl to free, compulsory, and quality education until the age of 18.
The 2009 Right to Education Act in India made it law for every child to receive free and compulsory education from the age of 6 to the age of 14. However, the UN's Sustainable Development Goals - to which India has committed - call for 12 years of schooling to enable children and young people to fully realise their right to education. With over 62 million children out of school in India still - a figure that represents over 24% of all the world's out-of-school children - it is clear that the fight must continue. As in most countries, it is girls who suffer the most, with one third of girls of upper-secondary age being out of school, compared to 28% of boys.
Completing secondary education can have a huge impact on women's lives - not only on their ability to participate in their communities, societies and democracies, but also by giving them the strongest possible chance of breaking the cycle poverty: completing primary education can increase a girl's likely earnings by around 14-19%, while completing secondary can almost double this.
100 Million India, supported nationally by the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation India and child protection movement Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), as well as many state and local civil society organisations, reached out to more than 500 schools in over 18 states and over 280 villages to join the Girls' March to School. From Assam to Gujarat, Punjab to Tamil Nadu, over 70,000 young people took to the streets to call for the right to education for every girl, until the age of 18.
The campaign in India will continue fighting for access to quality education, particularly for girls, as part of their efforts to achieve protection from violence and abuse as well as social empowerment for women and girls across the country.
Images of youth activists marching (from top to bottom) in: Bihar (main picture), Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.