TAG (Teen Age Girls) report says 73.3% girls want to get married after the age of 21 and further wish to pursue higher studies. 25% girls said they wanted to do post-graduation, 12% said they would like to complete a professional degree, the cross country survey which spoke to 74,000 girls in 28 states and seven cities, found. Further, 33% of teenage girls said they would like to be a teacher, 11.5% wished to be tailors and 10.6% wanted to be a doctor when they grew up. These are some of the findings of a new survey conducted by Nanhi Kali, a project by the Naandi Foundation, which works with adolescent girls.
Mumbai is the topmost city in the TAG index. The event was presided over by Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, who founded Project Nanhi Kali in 1996. The survey asked girls aged 13-19 years questions on nine topics including educational and health status, basic life skills, agency and empowerment within and outside the home and aspirations.
A TAG survey tool was created with the help of organizations working with teenage girls, research experts, gender experts, specialists in sociological and anthropological studies, lawyers and mental health specialists. After training, the all-women teams of 1,000 surveyors went across the country and interviewed 74,000 teenage girls in 600 districts across 30 States. There are 80 million teenage girls in India.
According to the report, 96% of teenage girls are unmarried with hardly any difference in rural (95.5%) and urban (96.6%) data. Around 70% of girls wish to pursue higher studies and most adolescent girls aspire to work after their studies and marry only when they are able to earn a living.
In 2015, according to data from the Ministry of Labour and Employment, women accounted for 23.7% of India’s workforce. This states that India has amongst the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world. The reasons for low participation rates include social norms, household work, skill gap etc.
Some other findings by the survey
The report says 39.8% of teenage girls still have to defecate in the open and only 54.4% have access to hygienic methods of menstrual protection. Around 45.5% of girls are still using cloth pads owing to reasons such as unaffordability, cultural beliefs and lack of knowledge about hygiene products.
According to the report, one in every two teenage girls has a low Body Mass Index (BMI). The reason for low nutrition among girls is large because of the cultural practices and differs between communities depending on the food choices and attitude towards the girl child.
TAG index compares the performance of each State based on the status of their teenage girls. Kerala and Mizoram are the top two States while the top three cities are Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru. In Mumbai, 95.5% of girls use hygienic methods of menstrual protection and 87.6% do not go for open defecation. About 92% want to marry only after they are 21.