It may come as a surprise to many that in India half of the girls get married before they are 18.
The burden of poverty and the low status that girls have in society pushes them out of school and into labour.
If a family cannot educate the children, the girls would be pulled out of the school first. Then they are encouraged to take up menial jobs to supplement the household income.
To add to these woes we have the female infanticide incidents. If you look a little deeper the problem lies in the thinking cycle of an average Indian.
The minute a girl child is born, the parents think of it as a “paraya dhan” (somebody else’s property) who is going to grow up into a tree and bear fruit for somebody else’s family. And then the feeling sets in that all money invested in that girl child is going to be a waste. And this includes the money spend on education.
Dowry and marriage expenses are some of the things that haunt a family (especially in the lower echelons of society)
I think there is some truth when they say "educate a girl and a full family gets educated"
Shakira the “waka waka” girl, came down to India (as the UNICEF goodwill ambassador) with the intention of promoting girl child education. She cites some good examples on why it is a good deal for the state to invest in the girl child education.
I think she is doing a good job in highlighting such issues and taking it to a higher level of exposure.