Barriers to education among Dalit girls: accessibility of educational opportunities in Nepal
Sammanfattning: Unequal access to education still remains a major problem especially in developing countries such as Nepal. The caste system in Nepal creates a hierarchy of social groups which has resulted in unequal power distribution and unequal access to resources. The Dalit group is one of the lowest caste groups in the hierarchy because of which people belonging to Dalit community struggle to gain equal access to basic services. Within the Dalit community, girls and women remain the most vulnerable group because of their caste and gender. Dalit girls face inequalities in various forms which have resulted in many of them still struggling to attain educational opportunities. The intersection of their caste and gender has limited their educational possibilities which increases their struggles in various other fields as well. Bourdieu’s theory of practice, Chambers and Conway’s Livelihood approach and Berreman’s concept of caste as a social process were applied to understand the barriers faced by Dalit girls in accessing education and the role of socio-cultural norms, household, and the educational system in creating or reducing such barriers. The findings showed that Dalit girls face barriers and inequality in various forms in different fields. The situation of educational attainment is worse in rural areas compared to the urban areas, because of the persistence of socio-cultural norms around caste system and economic condition of the households. Harmful socio-cultural practices such as early marriage and dowry were also seen as an existent problem limiting the capabilities of Dalit girls. The internalization of socio-cultural practices and norms around caste system and patriarchal norms were also a major problem contributing to hindrances in Dalit girls’ educational experiences.
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