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Understanding the impact of a grassroots organisation on girls’ educational potential in rural Bihar, India

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Understanding the impact of a grassroots organisation on girls’ educational potential in rural Bihar, India

Venue: N44, St Mary's University
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Part of the Centre for Research into the Education of Marginalised Children and Young Adults (CREMCYA) 2019/20 Seminar Series.

Speaker: Ms Rebecca Gordon

In spite of increases in girls’ access to, and attainment in, education worldwide, many still face exclusion.  A grassroots microfinance organisation working with women who are mostly scheduled caste labourers in rural Bihar, India noted that class, caste and gender are barriers to girls’ education among their members, particularly in girls being able to access education for a sustained time period.  The unique operating mechanisms of this women-led grassroots organisation have led to changes in gender relations within the family and impacts on social and cultural norms, which could have positive effects on levels of girls’ education.

This presentation will draw on research that explored the changes in the lives of members of this organisation, particularly looking at impacts on girls’ education. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions were undertaken in order to give insight into whether the unique aspects of this organisation may have supported changes in girls’ access to education. The presentation will highlight key findings including a change in educational aspirations, due to women becoming role models as group leaders and through new social networks.

About the speaker

Rebecca is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, exploring the work of a grassroots microfinance organisation in rural India, impacts on women’s lives and girls’ education. She also focuses on feminist epistemologies and methodologies in ethics and research, and is a co-founder of the Politics of Representation Collective, which aims to provide an opportunity for greater engagement with the concepts and ethics of representation in research and in practice.


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