How Yemenis View Educated Women [Archives:1998/31/Culture]

August 3 1998

Education is one of the basic rights of a person, whether male or female. Here in Yemen, female education faces a view that is problematic, to say the least. Views differ from one male to another, though in general they are negative.
Even among women, getting is beginning to have a major cost. Educated women are shunned as partners in marriage. In other words, a woman now faces a choice between getting educated, or getting married.
To find out more about how the Yemeni male views educated Yemeni women, I talked to several people and asked them the following questions:
– Have you had female colleagues in school? What is your opinion of female students?
– How good a housewife would an educated woman make?
– What are your thoughts on the equality of men and women?
– Educated women marry late , if at all. Why?
– Would you marry an educated woman? If not, why?
1) Dr. Ahmed M. Shuga’a Al-Deen, Professor, Department of Geography, Sanaa University. He is married with 3 children. He says:
“The female student is more disciplined than the male. And women’s or men’s behavior are not determined just by education but more by the way they are brought up. An educated wife actually makes a better partner in her hygiene, composure, and abilities.”
2) Afaf Al-Haimi, MA degree, Department of Sociology, teacher of Medical Sociology. Married with 4 children. She said:
“Our society views women as inferior whether they are educated or not. An educated woman is a better housewife. Education bestows on women composure and strong personality.
“However, men like very young and uneducated women. From my experience as a wife, mother, student, and teacher, I can feel the stress, but never heard a harsh word from anyone in my family or from my colleagues.”
3) Dr. Hussein Al-Midama, Science Faculty. Unmarried. He said:
“Women have a right to get education, provided they stick to their society’s traditions and customs. An educated wife is perfect, because she has a better understanding of religion and high morals. She is better able to communicate with others. I prefer an educated wife, provided she doesn’t break our traditions.”
4) Raja’a Al-Masa’abi, MA Degree in Women’s Information, Information Department. Unmarried. She said:
“Men’s backward view of educated women is a common one. I consider education for women like a weapon in war. An educated women is generally more considerate towards the need of her husband and children. The main drawback is that she is always nervous because she has more responsibilities – at home and in her career.
“From my experience, men are selfish. They prefer young and uneducated women because they are easier to control and boss around. Personally I’m proud of my education.”
5) Saeed Asa’ad Muteir, BA Degree, English Literature. Unmarried. He said:
“Educated women make perfect housewives and mothers, because they have acquired new abilities. They will raise a good family, and are also helpful to their husbands.
“The main drawback is that an educated wife may think that she is better than others, including her husband. I believe that a woman’s place is at home to raise children. Women cannot be equal to men,. There are differences. I prefer educated wife (within those parameters).”
6) Abdulaziz Al-Awadi, BA Degree, Information; Unmarried. He said:
“Yemeni female students are a good example of politeness, quietness and a high degree of morals. I found it easy to communicate with them.
“The main drawback is that they try be equal to men, but it’s not possible. That is why educated women cannot find suitors. But I do prefer an educated wife.”
7) N.K , female student, Science Faculty. Unmarried. She said:
“Yemeni society is contemptuous towards educated women. An educated man will not marry an educated woman. If he ever marries an educated woman, the reason would be her salary.”
8) Abdullah Nasser, Shopkeeper. Married, has 6 children. He said: “There is no need for a woman to be educated, her real job is at home with her children. No way would I marry an educated woman, because she would argue with me all the time. There are no gains in educating women. By educating women we make them too proud and overly talkative. An educated woman refuses to do household chores.”
By: Fatima Uqba, Sanaa.