As pointed out in the earlier posts, girls and women are discriminated in all spheres, social, economic and political. Education is not left out, it is also led by boys and men in so many countries.
What is discrimination against women in education?
It can be described as denying a female child or a woman the opportunity and right to formal education, while her male counterpart has every right and opportunity to get all the education that he wants.
Although in recent years, the viewpoints have changed notably with increase in feminism, women’s main destiny is yet seen as housewife and mother and education still disciminates against them.
It is of a common knowledge that in so many countries women and men are never treated equally when it comes to education. The general propensity in our society today is to invest in male child’s education instead of females’. Girls are considered inferior to the boys.
Reasons why gender inequality in education is so evident in some countries;
- early marriage and motherhood
- social belief and culture or tradition.
- violence, both physical and emotional against women in schools.
- attitude of class room teachers in primary schools
In some societies, it is an acceptable norm that girls get married very early and start bearing children very early in life that they are deprived of the opportunity to get a formal education. Not every woman has the opportunity of continuing her education after she gets married and with children. There is a need to say “no” to early or girl-child’s’ marriage. Many families in such societies where early marriage is an acceptable norm opt for getting their girls married very early for different reasons which may be economic, fear of their girl being rejected by men at an older age or simply a way of life.
I had my first suitor as soon as I graduated from high school. I was eighteen then so it was not really the case of under-aged girl. I had always wanted to get a university education and I knew that if I yielded to the gentleman’s plea for my hand in marriage, that may be the end of my quest for higher education. I had to boldly say ‘no’ despite the mans promises that he was going to make sure I get all the education I wanted because I know that it is always easier said than done. My mum in support of all my decisions. Thank God for that decision I made, I am where I am today.
Social belief and culture or tradition;
Gender inequality in education because of social belief and culture is so evident in some countries,
In Pakistan for example, many girls are being denied the right to education, the case of Malala Yousafzai comes to mind any time we talk about discrimination against women in education in Pakistan. She became known as a hero after she confronted the anti-intellectual taliban in her country, Pakistan and demanded education for girls. That made her to be seen as a threat to their political agenda.
In Iran, in the year 2012, 36 universities decided to prohibit women from matriculating in 77 university degree courses, the reason given was that very few companies want to hire women.
Article 10 (a) of Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women( CEDAW) provides;
“States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education and in particular to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women: (a) The same conditions for career and vocational guidance, for access to studies and for the achievement of diplomas in educational establishments of all categories in rural as well as in urban areas; this equality shall be ensured in pre-school, general, technical, professional and higher technical education, as well as in all types of vocational training;
Violence, both physical and emotional against women in schools.
There is a tendency that many girls drop out from school because of physical and emotional violence meted against them in schools. I could remember in my primary school days, there was this boy that we, girls dreaded a lot. He was notoriously known to be very strong and as a girl you dare him not, otherwise he lays an ambush against you that you won’t get back home in the same condition you were when you left. This kind of machismo has the tendency to scaring some girls away from schools.
I am of the view that the problem of that boy was poor home training. There is a need to give proper home training to the boys as well as girls instead of concentrating only on giving them formal education.
Attitude of some class room teachers in primary schools.
According to research, girls generally perform much better than boys in primary schools, for this reason boys receive most of the teachers’ attention and time. They invest a lot of time motivating,cheering and helping the boys. By the time they(boys) get to high school, all those powerful but silent lessons they received in primary schools begin to manifest. As boys receive a higher percentage of teachers’ time, general academic achievement of girls begins to trail behind boys and there is a tendency that some girls start dropping out of school.
Equal attention should be given to all students both boys and girls especially in primary schools. Girls who seem to be more successful should be encouraged to continue doing well as would their male counterpart.
According to article 10. ( f) of CEDAW, States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education and in particular to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women:
(f) The reduction of female student drop-out rates and the organization of programmes for girls and women who have left school prematurely;