'Poor girls': a comparative analysis of their educational experiences in England and India
Gender discrimination is prevalent in many societies, but poverty adds greatly to the experience of disadvantage, not least in terms of equality of educational opportunity and outcomes. The term ‘poor girls’ refers to a situation of double disadvantage with regard to gender and socio-economic status, namely, being female and being poor. This chapter presents a comparative analysis of the educational experiences and outcomes for poor girls in two diverse cultures that share a colonial history and important cultural links. We adopt a social-constructivist perspective (Moore 2000, 32) in order to identify the nature and extent of barriers to educational equality, of discrimination and disadvantage for poor girls in these two countries. We will show how their educational experiences are mediated and shaped in relation to, and in interaction with, the social structures and cultural features of the societies in which they are located. In so doing we recognize the ways in which power relations within each society impact on and shape those experiences.