Gowri Ishwaran on inequality and girls’ education

Gowri Ishwaran, CEO of the Global Education and Leadership Foundation, describes her experience of gender discrimination as a young girl in India, and points to education as a solution.


GOWRI ISHWARAN: Mahatma Gandhi said that if you educate a man, you educate a person. You educate a woman, you educate a family.

[Inequality is logo. A graphic black equal sign with an orange slash through it. #InequalityIs. Gowri Ishwaran, CEO, The Global Education and Leadership Foundation. An Indian woman with grayish-dark hair, wearing a black overcoat and white lace shirt.]

I’m a daughter and a woman from India, and when it came to education my brother was given opportunities which I wasn’t given and I came from an educated family. Men and women in India are treated differently. Very often we are treated as second class citizens. Food is first served to the brothers and then you are the leftover. The second inequality in India is when it’s caste based. People who are lower down in the caste scale get much fewer chances. These kind of inequalities will only go away with education and with awareness. So if you want to have an inclusive society, schools need to be inclusive. Because it all begins from when they are small children, and they learn to grow up with people of different castes, different social strata and accept them all as equals. And I hope that out of this network of kids, we have some Gandhis and Mandelas and Abraham Lincoln’s emerging. We need leaders like that. Inequality is something that kills your soul. And it’s one of the biggest challenges that the world faces if you don’t want to disintegrate into conflicts.

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