Girls of Rajasthan
Girls of RajasthanAt only 11 years old, Naseeba runs the entire house and takes care of her five younger sisters. Her mother is pregnant with her seventh child, and is devastated by the thought that it might be another girl.
In traditional Rajasthani culture, girls are married as teenagers and move into their husband's home to take care of his parents into old age. The bride's family is also expected to throw a large wedding party and pay a substantial dowry to the husband's family, despite laws prohibiting the practice of dowries passed in 1961.
Because of this tradition, girls are considered a major financial liability and sex-selective abortions and infanticide are common. A common expression in India is that "raising a daughter is like watering your neighbor's garden."
Although spared this tradition, Naseeba and her sisters still face significant barriers to education and opportunities to make an independent livelihood, and can likely expect an arranged marriage and the life of a homemaker by early adolescence.
Girls of RajasthanAminah, 9, lives on a plot of arid farm land with her large extended family in the Thar Desert near the Pakistani border. In her remote community, quality education is difficult to access, especially for girls.
Her local school is an overcrowded one-room schoolhouse, with a single teacher serving 150 students. The next option is a charter school in the town about 90km away, which is expensive and without suitable transport options for unaccompanied minors. So on most days she stays home to play with her sisters in the field and help her mother with housework instead.
Girls of RajasthanRisa, 10, loves learning and in her free time when she's not helping out in the house, she digs out her school workbooks and practices writing and reading.
Given her duties caring for her sisters and young cousins, she rarely has the time to dedicate to studying or going to school. Her intermittent attendance is not enough to build a sound foundation in most subjects, therefore school is not really seen as a good investment for girls, who are expected to help care for the household.
In families that cannot afford to send all their children to school, boys are given priority over girls.
Girls of RajasthanBarely into her teenage years, Rabi'ah is already married. She lives with her husband's family and takes care of the household as custom dictates.
She will be expected to have to children soon and likely won't have the ability to earn a livelihood outside of a home cottage industry like weaving or making handicrafts.