Way to go on women literacy

Almost half of Hindu and Muslim women are illiterate with rural areas faring the worst, latest Census report has said. Across India, 48.11 per cent (4.03 crore) of Muslim women and 44.03 per cent (20.60 crore) of Hindu women cannot write or read even their names.

Though more and more girls are getting into schools, the Census figures showed that more ground has to be covered, as a huge gap between the literacy level of men and women still exists. The male literacy rate is pegged at 69.75 per cent while the female literacy rate is way behind at 55.97 per cent.

The religion-wise data showed that Jains have the highest literacy rate at 86.42 per cent followed by Christians 74.34 per cent, Buddhist 71.83 per cent and Sikhs 67.50 per cent. In all cases, female literacy rate is below that of male literacy.

The worst literacy rate among women is in Muslim community at 51.89 per cent followed by Hindus 55.97 per cent. While 4.35 crore out of 8.39 crore Muslim women have the ability to read and write, 26.19 crore out of 46.79 crore Hindu women are literate.

Jains have the highest literacy rate among women at 84.92 per cent while the figure for Christians is 71.96 per cent.

In Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country, 59.21 per cent of Hindus are literate while only 48.71 per cent Muslims have writing and reading abilities. Among women, Hindus have 49.86 per cent literacy rate while that of Muslims is 41.95 per cent.

The situation is worse in rural areas where female literacy rate is low for all religions compared to urban areas. In rural areas, the total literacy rate is 57.90 per cent – 65.77 per cent for men and 49.61 per cent for women.

Literacy rate of Muslim women in rural areas are the worst, with 54.43 per cent of 5.06 crore having no capabilities of writing or reading. Among Hindu women in rural belt, 51.32 per cent of 33.26 crore are illiterates.

Urban women are better placed when it comes to literacy with 70.17 per cent of 18.16 crore among them in cities and towns have the capability to write and read.

Both Hindu and Muslim community have impressive figures in urban areas. According to the Census report, 71.44 per cent of 13.52 crore Hindu women are literate while that of Muslim women is 61.48 per cent of 3.33 crore.

Religion and Literacy Rate

 

Religion/Total Population

 

Literacy Rate

 

Male Literacy Rate

 

Female Literacy Rate

 

 

Hindu

96.62 crore

 

 

63.60 %

 

70.77 %

(of 49.83 cr)

 

55.97 %

(of 46.79 cr)

 

Muslim

17.22 crore

 

 

57.27 %

 

62.40 %

(of 8.82 cr)

 

51.89 %

(of 8.39 cr)

 

Christian

2.78 crore

 

 

74.34 %

 

76.77 %

(of 1.37 cr)

 

71.96 %

(of 1.40 cr)

 

Sikh

2.08 crore

 

 

67.50 %

 

71.31 %

(of 1.09 cr)

 

63.28 %

(of 98.84 lakh)

 

Buddhist

84.42 lakh

 

 

71.83 %

 

77.86 %

(of 42.96 lakh)

 

65.58 %

(of 41.46 lakh)

 

Jain

44.51 lakh

 

 

86.42 %

 

87.55 %

(of 22.78 lakh)

 

84.92 %

(of 21.73 lakh)

 

All India

1.21 crore

 

63.06 %

 

69.75 %

(of 62.32 cr)

 

55.97 %

(of 58.75 cr)

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Jan 1, 2016)

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