Women’s Right for Education
Throughout history, girls have frequently been the subject of subordination and subjugation.
Whether it be not having the right to vote, coerced into staying home because of separate spheres between men and women, or being denied quality education, women have been fighting for their equality. Feminism became an impactful movement starting in the nineteenth century as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Although some matters have been fixed within certain cultures, many cultures have held on to their old ways of seeing women as less than men; therefore, not allowing girls to go to school. Many of these issues still persist into modern society. One such issue pertains to girls having the right to good education. It’s unjust for women to be denied education because education is a human right and because it will limit their opportunities.
A pragmatic solution for this would be through peaceful protest to result in giving more women education. What makes education a human right is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 26 that “[e]veryone has the right to education” (Universal Declaration). It does not state a specific group of people who can receive education, including the idea that only men can go to school. Education is a natural right regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. For example, a recent Nobel Peace Prize winner who was recognized for her efforts in equal rights for women, Malala Yousafzai, believed strongly that girls could and should go to school. She ran an anonymous blog to “express her views on education” (Malala).
She was nominated for the National Youth Peace prize. Her widespread popularity and polemical criticism of the Taliban did not please them. They voted to kill her. On that fateful day, Malala was shot in the head by a masked gunman. This outrage led to the “ratification of Pakistan’s first right to education bill” (Malala). A solution for giving women education would be through peaceful protest.
Malala’s peaceful criticism of the Taliban’s wrongdoing in denying girls’ educations actually influenced the whole country of Pakistan to pass a right to education bill. Although this example is definitely an extreme one, one’s peaceful protest through words could have profound effects upon the audience one is trying to reach out to. Why can men in this world today be more advantageous in the corporate and business world than women can be? It is because throughout history, males have always been the ones to more likely receive education. This gives them better options of jobs and opportunities. Women, on the other hand, haven’t been on the beneficial receiving end.
In today’s society, there is a clear gender pay gap in America. As of 2013, “women were paid 78% of what men were paid” (The Simple Truth). This unjust situation stemmed from the initial rejection of education for women. For example, 13 year old Mariama of Niger was almost forced “to be married to a market trader” (Plan Overseas). She would have had to quit going to school due to this unfair position.
Her natural right to education would have been obstructed by the forced marriage. Because she would have no education, she would have no future. It would not be bright; she wouldn’t have any knowledge to educate upon her children. Luckily, her education was saved after Plan’s company’s representatives’ “discussion and negotiation with [Mariama’s mother]” (Plan Overseas). Through these, Mariama’s true feelings of wanting to continue school were divulged. People can recognize a girl’s right to education through peaceful protest.
Plan and Mariama’s mother worked out a solution peacefully, without resorting to any violence. It does seem logical to keep women at home to fulfill their traditional roles as child producers and child rearers instead of sending them to school. Therefore, it would be fair and just to let women not go to school. This may have been socially accepted back before the feminist movements came into play. Yet, if a woman stays at home to truly satisfy her part as a successful child rearer, she cannot educate her kids to the best of her ability because of her lack of education.
This paradoxical case further proves that in order for a girl to adequately raise her kids, she must have had an education. An education could remarkably change a girl’s future. Her opportunities would be broadened tremendously in which she could finally break away from the stereotypical careers of teachers, nurses, librarians, etc. They now hold the chance to go into even greater career fields that were originally mainly open to men. For a woman, education could indeed change the course of her future.
It may well determine whether she will be a dependent stay-at-home mom or an independent woman spreading her wings to reach her full potential. The right to education is a natural, unalienable right. Therefore, regardless of gender, no one should ever be denied the shot of going to school. It is unjust for a girl to be refused education because education is a human right and because without education, females can be severely inhibited from possible opportunities. This could be fixed through peaceful negotiations and protests to give women the chance for schooling. Words are powerful.
They could lead to advancement in communities where women still don’t get education.