Gender Discrimination in Education

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Written By: Khwahish Khurana

Introduction

A woman becomes the foundation of a new family. She becomes a mother and the first teacher for a child. She has to be empowered with knowledge and wisdom for a better present and future development of the country. Hence, education is an important part of an individual’s life. But how can a community or country succeed if half of its citizens (being females) are uneducated due to lack of opportunities.

Education as a basic right and not a gender role

Education is a basic right and not a gender role. People in rural areas can often be found with the mindset that girls need not go to schools because in the future they have to stay home and indulge in household chores. Hence, education is of no use to them. Men on the other hand need it, so in the future, they can get a job and earn a livelihood for their families. This is a typical defense barrier for the majority of villagers.

People carrying such narrow mindsets are usually unable to satisfy their male egos and can’t imagine a girl being ahead of them in any field. Baha I faith correctly stated, “it has been objected by some, that woman is not equally capable with man and that she is deficient by creation. This is pure imagination. The difference in capability between men and women is due entirely to opportunities and education”.

This behavior does reflect in their homes as they don’t give an equal amount of respect to the girls in their home and discriminate against them. People associate a particular job with a particular gender which is not right. The job should be acquired by the one who deserves it and not by their gender. In urban areas, situations are a lot better wherein society is much more developed and understands that men and women both should be provided with proper education. But even in urban areas, people often associate education with getting jobs and neglect that it is not limited to it.

Education being equivalent to getting a job?

We often hear parents telling their children that they won’t be with them throughout their lives, so they have to keep educating them to get a job, hence members of society would respect them. The importance of education is something that our society has not really grasped its significance yet. People often argue about what will happen even if people in the country are educated when there aren’t enough jobs in the country. Education extends far beyond just being intelligent and doing good things and is not limited to a classroom setting. The culture, the environment, the people – all these factors have a massive impact upon the way a person perceives a thing. It is a never-ending process. Education helps in grooming and evolving a person.

The solution: Equality vs. Equity

We hear a lot of people talking about equality in education, workspace, and so forth. But giving equal opportunities won’t help to solve discrimination in all cases. Everyone does not come or start from the same place or need the same help. The situations, circumstances, environment, and needs of everyone may be different and so should be treated accordingly. That is why the focus should be more on equity than equality. Equality is a concept of treating everyone equally but on the other hand, equity is a concept of treating people according to their circumstances or situations and needs. Equity will bring justice to society and could help reduce discrimination.

People see female discrimination in a way where they need to degrade men to prove their points. But gender equality is not a concept of bashing other genders or degrading them. It is the concept of giving or providing opportunities that a person deserves irrespective of their gender.

Conclusion

Education is a basic right, not a gender role. The people who believe “a girl is a mistake” should realize that without one, they wouldn’t be on this earth. Society’s definition of education is limited to getting a job with a good salary but it is much more than that. Think about the massive possibilities if all the genders were treated equally, provided education regardless of their gender, the country, society, or community would be much more advanced and prosperous. Equity should be at all levels and not only where it benefits females.

Education is crucial for all individuals to share their voices and talents with the world. To bring about a change in the education systems may take years and years but it needs to start at some point. Every individual should be empowered with knowledge for a better present and future development of the country. Improvements can be made and change will happen but overall the human condition is what it is and until we deal with our own hearts, things will relatively stay the same.


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