A 2018 report by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights estimated that nearly 40% of adolescent girls in the age group of 15-18 years drop out of school and college in India. Of the girls who drop out, 64.8% do so because they are forced to take on household chores, or are engaged in begging.
Poet Aranya Johar emphasises this lack of access to education for women in her compelling new poem, “The Language of Equality”. The spoken word performance remembers women who started the movement for educating girls in India and addresses the glaring gaps that exist even today.
“I was privileged enough to have access to an education but I could very easily have been like any of the millions of girls across our country who are denied access to an education,” Johar said about her poem.
“The Language of Equality” kicked off a new initiative by the UnErase Poetry collective called the #PatriarchyKaPackUp challenge, which is an effort to use spoken word poetry to create a dialogue about gender norms that have contributed to an unequal distribution of opportunities.
Some of Johar’s past poems include “A Brown Girls Guide to Gender” and “A Brown Girl’s Guide to Beauty”.