More than half of the city adolescents surveyed by a non-profit organisation said that educating boys was more important than girls.
Around 1,530 adolescents belonging to slums in the N municipal ward (Ghatkopar and Vikroli), who were enrolled in Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action (SNEHA), ‘Adolescent Gaining Ground’, a programme to educate adolescents on health and gender issues, were surveyed before and after attending the programme.
Shockingly, 27 % of those surveyed said it was fine to harass and tease girls prior to being enrolled in the programme.
“National studies also indicate a similar gender bias. With this kind of attitude in adolescents, there is a higher risk of violence against women. During the programme, we observed deep-rooted gender conditionings, resulting in such opinions,” said Garima Deveshwar Bahl, programme director, SNEHA.
The findings also showed low levels of awareness among adolescents about diseases.
Only 6% of the adolescents were aware of the symptoms of tuberculosis.
After educational sessions, the level increased to 40%.
“This age-group is vulnerable to disease such as tuberculosis. Yet, awareness about its symptoms is low because of limited access to such information. This affects future diagnosis and treatment,” said Bahl.
Awareness about anemia was equally low among participants.
The program also included soft skill developments and vocational training for the older group.