' Education: Privilege of a Few?

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Education: Privilege of a Few?
By Melissa Nazareth

September 29, 2011

I am a Generation Y girl and have been born and brought up in an environment where women are respected, loved and viewed as equals. As a girl child in the family I was given the same privileges and opportunities as my male counterparts; opportunities in the realm of education and extra curricular activities, opportunities to speak my mind and voice my opinion, opportunities to make my mistakes and learn from them… 

I recently came across a statistic in one of Mumbai’s popular newspapers which claimed, based on a survey, that a whopping 42% of Asian men were willing to spend more on a male child's education than they were on that of a female child. The prevailing thought structure of our society, that the statistic showcased, perturbed me.

It is appalling that men today still consider sidelining female education when numerous efforts have been made in the past and continue to be made in terms of promoting families supported by educated women as holistic ones. Has the education that they have received as male children made them advocates of such inequality? Isn’t education, apart from being a source of livelihood, dynamism of thought as well? 

While on one side of the situation exist such poorly constructed belief systems, there are on the other side those men of honour whose liberal and modern thinking in the past have created ripples that have today become more than revolutions. Fr. Leo D’souza’s (of St Aloysius College fame) initiative in the area of co education is a classic example of such out-of-the-box thinking. It advocates and promotes education as an equal right for both genders and not just the privilege of one. 

Another instance is the project undertaking in the Kingdom of Bahrain, worth BD 130000, that aspires to lead women to a life of independence if not self sufficiency. Formal courses and training initiatives are underway to hone women’s skills in photography, translation, media and communication- professions that are apparently currently male dominated, on the island.

Over the years, we have come to honour women like Rani Laxmi Bai who sparked the struggle for independence, Indira Gandhi who rode the metaphorical tiger and Chanda Kochhar who revolutionised retail banking. May be, it is high time that we underwent a metamorphosis of thought and accepted the hand that rocks the cradle as the one that rules the world!


Melissa Nazareth Archives:

Comments on this article
A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.Sunday, October 02, 2011
The age old rotten traditions of
keeping the women behind men must
be changed. It is too terrible to watch, how the women were discriminated in the families while
spending money for education, sharing the wealth, eating time etc. When the parents are too
selfish, they try to discard the
daughters at the earliest and putting all the investment with the boys, so that the parents feel some blind comfort and stability in
their future planning. This evil
discrimination is totally based on
selfish reasons, and it was started
in the olden days of extreme
ignorance and poverty, but embracing the same old rotten system even today is too disgusting to watch.
Comment on this message     

geoffrey, hathillThursday, September 29, 2011
Don't know what's Indian men's share in the ‘42% of Asian men that are willing to spend more on a male child's education than they were on that of a female child.’ But in Dakshina Kannada or may be in Karnataka for that matter, girls usually have a upper hand in percentage passes in SSLC and PU results. A sizable percentage of females go for professional courses too these days. All said and done, at the end of the day majority choose to utilize their hands to rock the cradle which is inevitable too. Some do succeed in scaling professional heights and very few manage to strike balance between the two.
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Bulsam, MangaloreThursday, September 29, 2011
The Government of India had ushered in the new millennium by declaring the year 2001 as ‘Women’s Empowerment Year’ to focus on a vision ‘where women are equal partners like men’. The most common explanation of ‘women’s empowerment’ is the ability to exercise full control over one’s actions. The last decades have witnessed some basic changes in the status and role of women in our society. There has been shift in policy approaches from the concept of ‘welfare’ in the seventies to ‘development’ in the eighties and now to ‘empowerment’ in the nineties. This process has been further accelerated with some sections of women becoming increasingly self-conscious of their discrimination in several areas of family and public life. They are also in a position to mobilize themselves on issues that can affect their overall position.
Yet a large number of women are either ill equipped or not in a position to propel themselves out of their traditionally unsatisfactory socio-economic conditions. They are poor, uneducated and insufficiently trained. They are often absorbed in the struggle to sustain the family physically and emotionally and as a rule are discouraged from taking interest in affairs outside home.
Accordingly a clear vision is needed to remove the obstacles to the path of women’s emancipation both from the government and women themselves.
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