Bridging Gender and Caste Based Gap in Education: Lessons from a Pilot in Rajasthan, India


  • N Saigal Associate Director, IPE Global (New Delhi), India
  • S Shrivastava Research and Policy Manager, IPE Global (New Delhi), India



girls’ education, equitable access, Leadership Organising and Action (LOA), marginalised communities, caste, gender


Girls in Rajasthan face several barriers in accessing education that range from physical (distance to schools), infrastructure, discriminative social norms, and a lack of incentive for families to send girls to schools beyond a certain age. COVID-19 has worsened the situation with school closures and several girls engaged in household chores. It becomes more challenging for girls who are at the intersections of caste, class, and poverty. Data shows that gender differentials in access to education are stark at secondary and senior secondary levels. Caste-based differentials are also observed with higher dropouts among girls from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities. IPE Global, in collaboration with AMIED, NGO based in Rajasthan, piloted a leadership model to bridge the gap in access to education for girls from SC and ST communities. This was based on the pedagogy of Leadership, Organising and Action (LOA) and a snowflake leadership structure was built and led by girls from these communities. This paper used qualitative surveys with a cohort of girls to study the role of this leadership model in supporting girls from marginalised communities in accessing education and bridging inequalities, and explores the potential for scaling it up across State of Rajasthan and other States. Structured, open-ended questionnaires were used to conduct Focus Group Discussions with girls who are a part of the movement and results were analysed in context of seven themes linked to the study objectives.  Preliminary results indicate success of LOA pedagogy in promoting equitable access. Girls’ leadership collective commenced with 10 girls, is now an alliance of more than 1200 girls within three months. The girl leaders have become a social and political force in their district, with enhanced agency and voice. It builds a strong case for replicating and scaling up this leadership model in other districts of Rajasthan. Lessons from the pilot in Karauli will be critical in informing its replication and adaptation to other districts.


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How to Cite

Saigal, N., & Shrivastava, S. (2021). Bridging Gender and Caste Based Gap in Education: Lessons from a Pilot in Rajasthan, India. Proceedings of the World Conference on Women’s Studies, 6(01), 15–27.