Should women be educated? (Part 2) [Archives:2008/1165/Community]

June 19 2008

By: Maged Thabet Al-kholidy
[email protected]

In Part one, I shed light on several cases in which some families reject the idea of women's education and how to meet such cases with logical and reasonable justifications. In this part, I also shed light on more critical cases that stand against women's education and how others can counter them with reasonable justifications.

It's surprising to hear some families claim that individuals are only educated in order to get jobs and subsequently, to make money. Thus, in their opinion, there's no need for women to work and make money because their fathers, brothers or other family members provide for them.

Such parents must not think about the future and what it holds. They don't take into account those families where the father becomes too old to work and they suddenly have no source of income.

In such cases, daughters have a duty to work and save their family's dignity rather than beg or die of hunger. Such daughters have joined the work field and proven to be able to provide for the responsibilities of both work and home.

In this case, fathers realize the importance of educating women, keeping in mind that nobody knows what the future holds. For example, some fathers think they can provide everything for the home and family and there's no need for women to be educated or work, not understanding that they won't be healthy and young forever.

A father educates his daughters, although he also has educated sons. After completing their university studies and obtaining jobs in different fields, the sons marry, after which they no longer take care of their parents and their family's needs. In this case, we see the importance of educating women, since it was the daughters who looked for work and provided the family with all of its needs, while the sons paid no attention at all.

Some families are against educating women because education will open their eyes to everything around them, especially their rights. Such fathers believe that women should be as ignorant as possible or they'll rebel.

As one father explains, “If my daughters were educated, I wouldn't be able to control them as I want.” For instance, an educated daughter will realize that it's her right to choose her husband and it will be difficult to force her to marry whomever the father wants.

In responding to such parents, it's necessary to remind them how uneducated daughters deal with them, i.e., simply following instructions not out of respect, but out of fear.

In contrast, educated daughters deal with their fathers with respect and mutual understanding. They also take everything as a matter of discussion with their parents, trying to convince them if they like to do or not do anything, especially in matters requiring the daughter's opinion and approval, such as marriage.

In such cases, if a daughter doesn't want to marry the man proposing to her through her father, it doesn't mean she's rejecting her fathers' instructions or advice, but she may look at the matter from a different viewpoint which must be convincing to her father as a matter of respect.

There are many other cases in which the idea of women's education is rejected; however, one can't handle such cases with force, as every father or family must be convinced in the way suiting the ideas of each.

For example, it's completely wrong to open fire upon those who are against women's education. Both men and women should work together to treat such a social problem affecting both genders and, in fact, society as a whole.

Overall, women's education has value, particularly in a society like Yemen, where illiteracy remains deeply rooted, especially in the villages. We all must work together to solve this problem via peaceful means.

Majed Thabet Al-kholidy is a writer from Taiz, currently doing his M.A. at English Dep, Taiz Uni. He is an ex-editor of English Journal of the University.