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Role of Women in Education

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The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university. Is generally known as education? If we see the past in the history of Islam.

Our beloved Prophet (P.B.U.H) always gave importance to educate the women of our society as women are the ones who run and raise the child and teach them the manners of life, therefore, it is highly obliged for every Parent to allow their girl children’s to get the education for the better future of their own and country.

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Our Prophet (P.B.U.H) also said that: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the door to it”.

The wife of Prophet (P.B.U.H) and mother of ummah Hazrat ‘A’isha (r.anha) was known as an educated woman. The fact that she was born and raised in the home of a scholarly father who was someone who was consulted on matters of genealogy, that she spent years with the Prophet as his wife, as well her personal talents and intellect, were all central in her acquiring of knowledge. she shared the same environment as the companions of the Prophet in Medina, and that she withdrew from politics entirely following the incident of the Battle of the Camel, all played roles in her further development. ‘A’isha (r.anha), who had effective command of the Arabic language, had learned Arabic prose, history, and the science of genealogy from her father who was an expert in these areas. Moreover, she had a good understanding of the social issues, customs, and traditions of Jahiliyya (age of Ignorance) in Arabia. Her intellect, skills, and curiosity, as well as her union with the Prophet, caused her to be among the leading companions who knew the Qur’an and the Sunnah, understanding and maintaining their rulings.

It is showing that in past in the history of Islam the series of giving and gaining knowledge which is called education (these days) was started in the past.

So that it is no secret that women too can contribute to the development of society.

The role of women in development and society has always been undermined by males. Male of our society must see the life and role of our beloved prophet (P.B.U.H), similarly, our women should also see the search of our sahabiyat, And act about accordingly. Gender equality is one of the issues that has always caused struggle between the two sexes also solved by teaching giving by the Islam if we act upon them definitely we get rid of that issues. Gender, class, race, and ethnicity are the issues some woman continues to navigate away. Women are struggling to move away from these issues, and contribute positively to sectors such as education, health, business, and to the development of the whole society in general.

The same as men, women can be useful in teaching and also acquire knowledge to apply it positively in society. In the field of education, women have generally not contributed much. However, during the twentieth century, they have been more assertive in contributing to education and every field in general. Women have made significant strides in entering male-dominated occupations. They have ventured into fields such as engineering, aeronautics, and even medicine, which were formerly male, dominated.

Women have an educational role to play in society .she train children as a mother at home, In the professional field she teaches children as a teacher in the school .which the base of society. if she played as a teacher or as a mother she generally teaches the home that s means she teach society and that s means she teach generally the country as a whole. This act of women helps in the economic growth of a country. They influence their house members. They can use the influence, achieved through spending time with their children to educate them on critical issues in life. They teach their children mannerisms and also how to solve problems which they will face. The knowledge acquired will be beneficial to the children in future undertakings. Any male individual in her life, such as a brother or father. She can advise them on any issue that may arise. Therefore, women have a significant educational role in the home and society as a whole.

The 1950s was a considerable period for women as there was an increase in the number of women joining the labor force. The average working woman earned only 63% of what the average working man was earning. This was the period of awakening for the woman, as she was exposed to the massive inequalities between man and woman. They started to agitate for new roles and responsibilities. They decided to achieve professional and personal identity other than leaving it to be defined by a male inclined society.

The 1960s and 1970s also saw the birth of women’s movements aimed at achieving gender equality. The members were mainly middle-class women who were geared towards change. The movements agitated against the issues that were affecting women at the time. The issues included objectification of women, gender inequality, feminism, and lack of equal opportunities between women and men. The movements were mainly sparked in the revolution of the 1960s and also drew their inspiration from the civil rights movements.

The participation of women in education and society, in general, was also encouraged by the reform legislation in the 1960s. The civil rights bill of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on gender or race. This bill placed women on an equal playing ground with the men. The women now could be able to secure the rights they were agitating for. It meant that women could join any college that the men were joining. They could also work in any profession including those that were considered to for men only. This was the main reason why the number of women joining the labor force increased during these two decades.

Apart from the women’s movements, women were too realizing the need for improvement and change. They started grouping themselves to encourage, sensitize and educate other women on the rights and obligations to society in general. Professional women, who had already made it in male-dominated professions, grouped themselves to advise and sensitize other women. They launched organizations such as the National Organization for Women (NOW). The organization’s mandate was to increase women’s input into American society. They sensitized women on the opportunities available to them, how they could best use them, and finally taught them how to increase the opportunities available to women. The organization saw a rapid increase in the number of members over two decades. Within the first year, the organization had a membership of around 1000, and within the next four years, the membership had increased to 15,000. This indicates the awakening of women to agitate for their rights and also take on new responsibilities and roles in society.

There was also sensitization of women through the media. Magazine, newspapers, and shows through either the radio or television stations helped to educate women on their rights and opportunities available to them. A magazine called Ms. by Gloria Steinem; a reputable journalist in conjunction with other women published its first copies in 1972. The information they published was able to reach a wide audience as they sold around 850,000 copies from 1971 and 1976. The articles the magazines were aimed at sensitizing women on issues such as health, educational opportunities, career opportunities, and also on their rights and roles in the development of society as a whole.

Gender equality in the two decades was also promoted by activists. They agitated for equal rights and obligations between women and men. They were for the effective implementation of the 1972 bill Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The bill was such that it outlawed discrimination or denial of equity of any individual in the United States based on his or her sex. The activists wanted the bill to apply in every state in the US. They advocated for equal treatment and also equal resources and opportunities for both sexes. 35 of the required 38 states accepted the bill. This marked a crucial step towards achieving gender equality in the United States.

The 1970s also saw reforms in the judicial system. The courts in the United States enforced the bills passed by congress. A landmark ruling in Roe vs. Wade at the Supreme Court in 1973, ruled against abortion within the early pregnancy stages. This was crucial as it marked a significant achievement by the women’s movement towards achieving its course. It also showed the powerfulness of the movement. It also showed the goodwill of the government and the judiciary in particular towards promoting gender equality in the United States.

However, the women’s movement was not able to appeal to other groups beyond the middle class. This led to its failure as it failed to gain the acceptance of the 38 states needed to continue operating. The other reasons for the failure were massive divisions in the organization, and it also faced opposition from the conservationists. The steps taken by the women’s movement cannot be retracted. They made gainful benefits towards promoting gender equality, equal resources and opportunities of both genders, and promoting the general dignity of women.

During the 1950s through to the 1970s, women made a significant contribution to education. Firstly, the women became aware of their role in society to disseminate information and knowledge. They realized that they too had a role in promoting education just like the men. The 1960s saw a general increase in the women joining the labor force due to the women taking their educational opportunities. The women also contributed to disseminating information by publishing literature in every field ranging from health, business, engineering, and even the sensitization of women on their rights, roles, and responsibilities.

The 1960s witnessed an increase in the number of women authors such as Betty Friedan who published books like “The Feminine Mystique”. The women were taking an active role in the writing of literature. Many more women authors published their literature on many forums. This literature was able to reach a wide range of women all over the world. The women authors also served as role models that women could do anything if they decided to, generating a new sense of belief in the women.

Women have also witnessed a massive transformation from female-dominated occupations such as social work and teaching in the 1950s to male-dominated occupations such as medicine and engineering. The women started aiming at having careers and not mere jobs. The college entrants were also able to limit pregnancy cases, therefore, increasing the completion rate from college. This was unlike the college entrants of the 1950s who constantly dropped out due to teenage pregnancy. This drop-in of teenage pregnancy cases helped to increase the completion rate of women from college to fulfill their targets of achieving a career.

Another reason for the increase in learning opportunities for female children is due to delayed marriages. Women of the 1950s used to rush into early marriages derailing their educational needs. In the 1970s, the age for marriage was increased by around two and half years. This allowed the females to go through the educational system fully without issues like marriage getting in the way. The number of women graduating increased during the 1970s mainly due to this and other reasons.

The other reason for the increase in women taking their education seriously was the government’s commitment to achieving gender equality. The government was committed to removing the wage differences between women and men workers. They devised strategies to remove the wage differentials and promote fair compensation for work done. The government was against discrimination at the workplace by using sex. There were legislations to promote equality. The proposed equal chances for every worker at the workplace with equal opportunities for promotion and an increase in wages. This commitment by the government was able to increase the motivation of women to pursue careers. The hope of a level playing field encouraged the women to go through with their education and pursue their career paths.

The number of women pursuing education increased in the 1970s due to the attitude change. Parents who had earlier believed that education was only for the male child changed their opinions and granted the female child the opportunity to pursue education. The number of females enrolling in school increased relatively during the period. The change in attitude was due to sensitization and the girl child showing high capability levels. Studies have shown that generally, the girl child is more committed at school than the boy child. Girls have shown high cognitive skills than boys of the same age. The girls also take more time to complete their homework than the boys. The boy is also vulnerable to suspensions and another mischief at school compared to the girls. These and many more types of research have promoted belief in the capability of the girl child performing just as well as the boy.

The number of women and men in colleges is relatively the same today in developed nations. Women have filled the massive gap that existed between men and women over the years. The positive environment which nurtures the goals and ambitions of women has contributed to equality in the number of women and men joining college to pursue careers in different fields. Women have also been able to succeed in male-dominated professions. The level playing fields availed by relevant stakeholders have encouraged the women workers to venture into careers believed to be for men. The number of women seeking jobs in teaching and social work has relatively decreased over the year.

The woman has created a gender identity. They have been so far as to establish a psychological system with the society’s social system. Society is more aware of the needs of women and has generally shown goodwill to achieve this equality. Vices like the objectification of women to a certain degree have reduced. Objectification of women is where women are taken as objects with no consideration for their feelings. The women’s movements and other factors have positively contributed to the achievement of gender equality. It has contributed to the women recognizing their rights and using the opportunities availed to them. The women have been to achieve educational and professional success. The number of women going through the American system of education has increased over the years to level to that of the men. However, more steps need to be taken to ensure continued success in achieving gender equality. Continuous sensitization should be employed to ensure that the women continue to contribute positively to society just as the men.

Education has been of central significance to the development of human society. It can be the beginning, not only of individual knowledge, information, and awareness but also a holistic strategy for development and change. Education is very much connected to women’s ability to form social relationships based on equality with others and to achieve the important social good of self-respect. It is important, as well, to mobility (through access to jobs and the political process) and health and life (through the connection to bodily integrity). Education can allow women to participate in politics so they can ensure that their voices and concerns are heard and addressed in public policy. It is also crucial for women’s access to the legal system.[5] Although it must be considered that the religion and traditions of Pakistani affect women’s education. Some women may choose to keep the traditional roles because that is what they have always known and are used to. It would be a great opportunity if women were able to make their choice on their own, though. They should at least have the knowledge of both sides to be educated or to stay with the traditional ways.

Education is a critical input in human resource development and essential for the country’s economic growth. It increases the productivity and efficiency of individuals, and it produces a skilled labor force that is capable of leading the economy towards sustainable growth and prosperity. The progress and wellbeing of a country largely depend on the education choices made available to its people. It can be one of the most powerful instruments of change. It can help a country to achieve its national goals by producing minds imbued with knowledge, skills, and competencies to shape its future destiny. The widespread recognition of this fact has created awareness of the need to focus upon literacy and elementary education, not simply as a matter of social justice but more to foster economic growth, social well-being, and social stability. Women’s education is so inextricably linked with the other facets of human development that to make it a priority is to also make a change on a range of other fronts; from the health and status of women to early childhood care; from nutrition, water, and sanitation to community empowerment; from the reduction of child labor and other forms of exploitation to the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

According to UNDP 2010 report, Pakistan ranked 120 in 146 countries in terms of Gender-related Development Index (GDI), and in terms of Gender Empowerment Measurement (GEM) ranking, it ranked 92 in 94 countries.[13] Gender inequality in education can be measured in different ways. Gross and net enrollment rates and completion and drop-out rates are the ways to identify the gender inequality in education. Pakistan aims to achieve Millennium Development Goals and also aims to eliminate gender disparity at all levels of education by the year 2015. Elimination of gender disparity at all levels of education requires a higher allocation of resources on women’s education. Strong gender disparities exist in literacy and educational attainment between rural and urban areas of Pakistan.        

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