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MONTHLY    *    Vol 13-02 No:146    *   FEBRUARY 1999/ RAMADAN 1419H
email: editor@islamicvoice.com

BOOK REVIEW


Levels of Education and Exposure to Media among Muslim Women in India 


Levels of Education and Exposure to Media among Muslim Women in India

Review By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

Published by Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai Education and media are two tools of awareness and modernisation. One’s ability to absorb and imbibe changes is directly proportional to one’s level of education and exposure to media. Muslim women could be the agents of change in the society and can play the most important role in uplifting the socio-economic status of the society, given their level of awareness. However, the decennial Census held by the Government of India has been silent on the religion-wise data. Dr. Malika B. Mistry, Pune-based demographer, has compiled state-wise data on the level of education of Muslim women and exposure to media on the basis of National Family Health Survey carried out by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 1992-93. (The Islamic Voice had carried two articles by Dr. Mistry in its previous issues.) The survey has covered nearly 90,000 women in the reproductive age group of 13-49 years. The sample is representative as all communities have been represented in their demographic proportion in each state. On all-India basis, 66 per cent Muslim women are stated to be illiterate. The illiteracy is almost universal in Haryana while Kerala has least illiteracy among Muslim women, i.e., 21 per cent closely followed by Tamil Nadu. Muslim women are found to be more literate than their Hindu counterparts in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamilnadu. Most of the northern states are potential targets for literacy campaigns. Comparative data with Hindu women reveals that even in the states where Muslim women have higher literacy, levels of education are lower among them. As far as the radio listening and TV watching are concerned, 28 per cent of the Muslim women on all-India level are exposed to the two media. Delhi and Tamilnadu Muslim women top the percentage with almost 66 per cent of viewing while Assam and Bihar occupy the lowest slot. Significantly, 18 per cent of Haryana Muslim women watch TV, a pointer to the fact that the medium could be used for informal education.

The data culled out by Dr. Mistry is expected to serve as a guide for social workers, educational societies and planners. Prof. Tara Kanitkar of the International Institute for Population Sciences, Pune, in his foreword, has pointed towards the urgent need in this direction. (Copies of the Fact Sheet can be had from Dr. Mistry, 125/1 Prabhat Nagar, Opp. Film and TV Institute, Pune.) 

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