Shaping Girls’ Aspirations: Evidence from India

Prerna Kumar, International Center for Research On Women (ICRW)
B. Amenla Nuken, International Center for Research on Women
Nitin Datta, International Center for Research on Women
Aditi Vyas, International Center for Research on Women

Adolescents' aspirations shape up and crystallize as they transition into puberty. However, aspirations are influenced by sociocultural context including gender norms, especially for adolescent girls, thus necessitating support to explore varied opportunities and develop skills and competencies. This paper elucidates key determinants of education and employment aspirations of adolescent girls in India, using baseline survey data of ‘Plan-It Girls’ program. The study was conducted with adolescent girls studying in grade 9 and grade 11 in urban Delhi and rural Jharkhand, India. Findings highlight that there are significant differences in the education and employment aspirations of adolescent girls across urban and rural location. Individual characteristics such as self-esteem and gender equitable attitudes of girls have significant positive influence on their educational aspirations; which remain significant even after including factors related to enabling environment – family support and school climate – in the analysis. Employment aspirations of girls are significantly impacted by perceived support from family across age groups and locations. The findings confirm the need for an ecosystem approach that does not put the onus of change on adolescent girls. It highlights the need for gender integrated multilevel interventions and programs that engage with key stakeholders who influence girls’ lives significantly.

Keywords: Children and youth, Demographic dividend and economic development, Gender, Inequality

See paper.

  Presented in Session 25. Challenges Facing the Young in India