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Reaching for the Sky

Empowering Girls Through Education

Urvashi Sahni (author)

ISBN: 9780815730385

Publication Date: Oct 2017

Format: Hardback

Focuses on how gender equality can be achieved in a patriarchal society through education. This book shows how girls learn to be equal and autonomous persons in school and how they use this learning to transform their lives and those of their families. The book's argument is that education can be truly transformative if it addresses the everyday reality of girls' lives and responds to their special needs.
£22.50

Temporarily out of stock: usually despatched in 10-14 days

  • Full Description
  • More Information
  • Table of Contents
  • Author Biography
  • Customer Reviews
Transforming the Lives of Impoverished Girls in Patriarchal Societies

Since 2003 a privately funded high school has provided desperately needed education for girls from impoverished families in Lucknow, the capital and largest city in Uttar Pradesh, in northeast India. Urvashi Sahni, the founder of Prerna Girls School, tells the stories of how the school has changed the lives of more than 5,000 girls and their families. Most important, this book tells those stories from the perspectives of the girls themselves, rather than through a remote academic perspective.

The book focuses on how gender equality can be achieved in a patriarchal society through education. It shows how girls learn to be equal and autonomous persons in school as part of their official curriculum and how they use this learning to transform their lives and those of their families. The book's central argument is that education can be truly transformative if it addresses the everyday reality of girls' lives and responds to their special needs and challenges with respect and care.

Although Reaching for the Sky describes just one relatively small school in one corner of India, the book's message and the stories it tells will interest anyone concerned about the necessity of girls' education, especially in developing countries. The lives of the girls at Prerna Girls School are largely representative of those of millions of girls living in poor contexts in countries where patriarchal structures and norms prevail.

Reviews

"Reaching for the Sky presents a model of gender transformative education and demonstrates what is possible when the rights of girls and women are the heart and soul of a school. Grounded in extensive research and critical analysis, this volume is also a key resource for educators, gender activists, and scholars, bringing a gender lens to the global discourse on the politics of education."–Nora Fyles, Head of the Secretariat, United Nations Girls' Education Initiative

"This volume provides a timely reminder that while statistics matter, ultimately education speaks to the spirit and the soul. Here is an encounter with real people: with girls from the lowest caste and the poorest families, with teachers who care deeply about every student, and with Urvashi herself, who has worked hard to overcome gender prisons, including the one in her own mind. This book will captivate everyone who wants to see a better future for the hundreds of millions of girls who are at risk of being denied equality, opportunity, and a pathway out of poverty."–Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia; Distinguished Fellow, Center for Universal Education at Brookings; and Chair, Global Partnership for Education

"In a world rife with gender inequalities, Urvashi Sahni offers a riveting, evocative example from India of how the most vulnerable young women in that society develop their voices, their sense of agency and self, and their abilities to influence their futures. This happens through the support of a remarkable school, steeped in feminist principles and grounded in reflection and action. Sahni's book is a tour de force that shows us how injustice can indeed be challenged and life worlds can be transformed. It presents the best writing about education in a generation."–Glynda A. Hull, Professor, Elizabeth H. and Eugene A. Shurtleff Chair in Undergraduate Education, University of California, Berkeley

"Urvashi Sahni captures the spirit of the girls who face challenges in India today and efforts to surmount them in a real meaningful way. Empowerment of girls and women has been Urvashi's enduring goal for many decades, and the success stories that have emerged would encourage everyone who shares this spirit, not only on the topic of "development," but all those who want a gender-just society."–Vrinda Sarup, Secretary School Education and Literacy, Government of India, and retired Senior Officer in the Indian Administrative Service
Pages 304
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Oct 2017
Publisher Brookings Institution Press
Subject/s Education   Social theory   Gender studies, gender groups   Human rights  
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1 Letting Girls Learn
  • 2 The Girls' Own Stories
  • 3 Educating Myself: Valuable Lessons for Self and Others
  • 4 The Story of Prerna
  • 5 Building a Universe of Care
  • 6 Enabling Learning: Building a Web of Support
  • 7 Developing a Feminist Consciousness: Dialogical Circles of Empowerment
  • 8 Finding Self, Finding Home: Using Drama for Self-Work
  • 9 Empowerment as a Social Act: From Self-Work to Social Work
  • 10 Learning Outcomes and Beyond
  • 11 Scaling Prerna
  • 12 Reframing Girls' Education
  • Epilogue: Educating Boys for Gender Justice
  • Appendixes
  • A Caste in India: A Brief Note
  • B Methodology
  • C Historical Backdrop of Girls' Education
  • Notes
  • Index
Urvashi Sahni is an educator, social entrepreneur, and feminist activist. Apart from being an Ashoka Fellow, she is a Nonresident Fellow at the Center for Universal Education at Brookings and an adviser to the government of Rajasthan.

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