|Year : 2006 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 44-45
Gender inequality among adolescents in participation of activities for self-development in rural West Bengal
DK Das1, R Biswas2
1 Department of Community Medicine, R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata-700004, India
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata - 700073, India
|Date of Web Publication||8-Aug-2009|
D K Das
Department of Community Medicine, R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata-700004
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Das D K, Biswas R. Gender inequality among adolescents in participation of activities for self-development in rural West Bengal. Indian J Community Med 2006;31:44-5
|How to cite this URL:|
Das D K, Biswas R. Gender inequality among adolescents in participation of activities for self-development in rural West Bengal. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2006 [cited 2021 May 18];31:44-5. Available from: https://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2006/31/1/44/54941
| Introduction|| |
The word 'Adolescence' is derived from the Latin term 'Adolescere' meaning to grow up  . World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined 'Adolescence' as the period between 10 and 19 years  , a critical period of life characterised by rapid growth and development, both physiologically, psychologically and socially. This period is also a time of preparation for undertaking greater responsibilities and a time to ensure healthy all-round development  .
Adolescents constitute 21.8% of the population in India  and they are all experiencing life in different ways. Even in response to social pressures, they are often expected to take on responsibilities of adulthood. It is this dichotomy of roles and societal expectations, which makes the adolescents particularly vulnerable.
Adolescents belong to the stage of life with great energy, creativity and enthusiasm. If given the right degree of support and opportunity, they are great resource for the present and future of all societies  . But gender considerations are also fundamental in this regard. The marked differences between the sexes that accompany adolescence have profound implications for health and development. Adolescent boys and girls develop at different rates and are generally treated differently and thus they are unequally vulnerable to health problems.
Recently the importance of adolescent health promotion has gained increasing recognition and priority throughout the world and the reasons for this focus of attention are multiple.
In India also, emphasis has been given on promotion of Adolescent Health  .
With this perspective, the present study was conducted to ascertain inequality in participation and the time spent for educational, sports, recreational, household activities and wage-earning activities by adolescent boys and girls.
| Material and Methods|| |
A community based, cross-sectional, observational study was conducted during June- December 1999 in the catchment area of Beraberia Primary Health Centre (PHC) under Amdanga Block, North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, India.
The study population comprised of adolescent boys and girls (10-19 years), both married and unmarried, of the same families, residing in the study area. The sample population was selected by multistage sampling procedure. From the updated list of households of the 3 (three) selected villages, a sampling frame of eligible households i.e. households with one or more adolescent girl of 10-19 years, was prepared and 25% of them were included in the study by systematic random sampling technique. Out of 93 such selected eligible households in this stage, 32 were found with both adolescent boy(s) and girl(s) and all the adolescent boy(s) and girl(s) of these selected households were included in the study. Thus a sample of 38 adolescent boys and 45 adolescent girls were obtained for comparison.
A pre-designed, pre-tested, semi-structured schedule was used for data collection. Data was collected by interviewing the adolescent boys and girls. Age was recorded in completed years based on birth certificate or school records. The activity schedule of both adolescent boys and girls of the same families were reviewed through interviews by recall method to record participation and average time spent in different activities.
| Results|| |
Adolescent boys and girls of same families were found universally participating in any kind of recreational activities and almost equal proportion of boys (65.8%) and girls (62.2%) in educational activities (Z=0.34, p>0.05). There was also no significant difference (Z=0.82, p>0.05) between proportion of boys (42.1%) and girls (33.3%) participating in wage-earning activities [Table 1].
Further studies also revealed that, there was no significant difference in average time spent per day by adolescent boys and girls of the same families in recreational and educational activities, though boys were spending significantly more time (Z=2.19, p<0.05) compared to their counterparts in wageearning activities [Table 2].
However, proportion of adolescent boys (84.2%) participating in any kind of sports was higher (Z=4.97, p<0.01) compared to adolescent girls (37.8%); while in household activities, 100% of adolescent girls were participating compared to 57.9% of adolescent boys (Z=5.26, p<0.01). But it was also found that average time spent per day in sports was significantly more (Z=5.61, p<0.01) in case of boys (0.92 hours). For household activities average time spent per day by girls (1.82 hours) was significantly higher (Z=6.35, p<0.01) compared to adolescent boys (0.34 hours) of the same families.
| Discussion|| |
The 'social environment' offer great opportunities for improving the health and well-being of adolescents. But gender considerations are fundamental in this regard. Much has been said about gender discrimination. The marked differences between the sexes, which accompany adolescence, have profound implications for health and development. Usually adolescent boys and girls develop at different rates and are also treated differently  .
The present short study also revealed inequality among adolescent boys and girls in participation of certain social activities favourable for health and development. Proportionate participation of adolescent boys and girls of the same families in educational, recreational and wage-earning activities did not differ; but it was significantly different for sports and household activities. Inequality in average time spent per day in relation to different socially favourable activities by the adolescents was also revealed by the study. Though almost equal time was spent by boys and girls in educational and recreational activities, boys were spending more time in sports and wage-earning activities, but girls were involved in household works for longer period of time.
These differences might be a reflection of the socio-culturallydetermined traditional roles of the boys and girls in the families. Participation in the household activities by the girls is almost a universal phenomenon, particularly in rural India. Probably an attitudinal change towards education of the girls might have resulted almost equal proportion of boys and girls participating in educational activities. Relevant studies involving the entire range of adolescent age group as defined by WHO to compare the findings of the present study are not readily available.
Further studies are needed with large sample size to generalize the observations of the present study. However, the necessity of equal opportunities in access of both boys and girls to socially desirable activities like education, recreation, sports etc. can never be overstated.
| References|| |
|1.||Bansal RD, Mehra M: Adolescent Girls: An Emerging Priority: Ind J Pub Hlth 1998, 22 : 1-2. |
|2.||WHO: The Reproductive Health of Adolescents: A Strategy for Action; A joint WHO/UNFPA/UNICEF Statement, Geneva, 1989:7. |
|3.||WHO: Adolescence: The Critical Phase: The Challenges and the Potential; WHO: Regional Office of the South East Asia, New Delhi, 1997:1. |
|4.||Friedman HL: Adolescent Health Care: International Initiatives; Indian Pediatr 1994, 31:503-510. |
|5.||WHO: Strategies for adolescent health and development: South East Asia Region, Report of an inter-country consultation, WHO: Regional Office of South East Asia, New Delhi, December 1998: 1-4. |
|6.||Govt. of India: Integrated Child Development Services; Department of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, 1995; 9. |
|7.||WHO: Programming for Adolescent Health and Development: Report of a WHO/UNFPA/UNICEF Study group on Programming for Adolescent Health; Technical Report Series, No. 886, 1999. |
[Table 1], [Table 2]