By Sajjad Amin Bangash
The dual importance of Women’s Education in the Development and Economic Prosperity of a nation.
Men and women are integral part of every society and nation. Women’s education plays a vital role in the development and progress of a country. In the course of steering the economic development and prosperity of every country, every individual and his/talent, skills and knowledge must be realized, utilized effectively and equally while women shouldn’t be considered as ‘inferior’ instead be given equal opportunities, rights, freedom to equally contribute their part of skills, talent and acumen along with men.
When we look at the Arab history before the advent of Islam. Arab societies were highly ignorant, hostiled and women were considered to be ‘inferior’. Their rights were stabbed, women were considered to be just a piece of ‘staying inside their homes and feminism purposes.’ Women’s lives were even worse than suffocation and suffering. Arab tribes would bury their daughters alive as the ‘birth of a daughter in a family’ was considered to be ‘sinister omen’ for the time to come. This society was a hell place for women.
But with the advent of Islam and the rapid growth of the holy teachings of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH), the Arab societies saw a dramatic change in their mindsets. Islam had totally revamped the ‘doctrine of women’s rights, self respect, and equal integrity to her self-esteem. ‘ Islam given the titles to woman as ‘mother, daughter, sister, wife, niece, sister and daughter in law’. This recognition to woman is indeed a meritorious award to woman duly authorized by Allah(God). Women were given equal rights and education to woman, was declared mandatory.
Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) stressed the need and importance of education to woman and said ‘To get education, is obligatory for man and woman.’
Men and women do compose an equal contour of human society. Together, men and women are like wheels of a vehicle and all of our social and economic life-cycle revolve around equally and when there’s a fault in one of the wheels, the vehicle can’t move forward and stay stagnant, hampered to reach to its destination.
No, nation, no society, can every get on the track of economic development and prosperity till the women along with the men take part, contribute equally in the development process of a country and decorating the women with the ornaments of education, becomes the valuable treasure which has no substitution at par.
Wise dictate that ‘A mother’s cradle is the premier school of a child which lays the foundation for a child’s mental, psychological and ethical teachings which stay alive with the course of entire life span of a child. An educated mother will always nurture the mental,ethical behaviors, psychological contours of her children’s entire personality growth is duly attached and influenced heavily by his/her mother’s prime teachings. Therefore, education of woman carries extreme importance.
An educated women with her sheer vision, wisdom and sound knowledge administers her household matters effectively such budgetary dispensation as well financial affairs while an illiterate woman will always have troubles in the management of such matters due to lack of visionary farsightedness and miscalculation in household expenditure handling and management whilst half of her household budget is wasted unscrupulously. So there is an obvious difference between an educated and illiterate woman as there is a famous quote that “Educating a man means educating a single individual while educating a woman means educating and enlightening the whole family.”
A well learned woman will render and transfer high level of mental nurturing of her children in a constructive upbringing which will base her children’s future lifespan. She can effectively teach her children religious teachings, social and ethical norms thus enlightening the future generation since mother has a closed acquaintance with her children and ultimate impact on their personalities. She plays a role model role and enlightens and prepares her children for their future decisions such as principles for passing lives, dealing with variant circumstances that they will be confronted with any phase of life-children of well educated mother will always be successful and shine to be able successful in every walks of life. They will always be well-prepared for every circumstance, life throws at them and will confidently embrace challenges, tackle them and pass through them successfully and tactically. Why, because the very early enlightened teachings and corrective guidelines the educated mother had imparted in them.
Now, we really want our country to be economically prosperous and developed, peacefully recognized then we must ‘expand the horizon of education to our women.’ Since, women are highly committed, socially and economically responsible, caring, passionate and equally intelligent with visionary aptitudes. Today’s women are well versed with modern trends and tended more towards the rectifications of social, economical and political imbalances which ubiquitously exist in our societies in the shape of intolerance, social and economical injustice, bigotry and adverse. Such as the grave concerns of modern times, and alone the men can’t rectify these single-handedly. There, the need and dual participation of women is austerely felt.
Demographically, women ratio in Pakistan is just above 54% which means women in Pakistan are high in numbers compare to men but even having such high percentage, women still confined to and caged under the ‘corners’ of house premises on the assumption to the ‘best manager’ of household chores and matters. They think that women are expected to take care of everyone except themselves. That they have to take care of the children, stay home, clean up the house, and be the self-denying wife and mother. They think only that the life of a woman is all about getting married, having children, and being bombarded by unimportant details of domesticity. But they do not understand that the education is very important for women not only for them but for a whole family. Because women are the mothers of the future generation. If women are uneducated, the future generations will be uneducated. However, this ration is adequately wrong.
Only with the help of education women can know their rights .Woman belongs to a weaker section of the society because she suffers from many handicaps due to rigid, outdated social customs and religious practices. But an educated woman cannot be exploited easily. She is aware of her rights and will go any length to defend them.
Also, one of a mother’s highest duties is the education of her children at the time when their mind is not amenable to instruction. A child’s whole future life, to a large extent, depends on the teaching it receives in early childhood and it is needless to say that this first foundation of education cannot be well laid by an ignorant mother. Thus education will enable women to make their children, husbands and parents truly happy.
Consequently it is very important that women should be educated. On all these grounds female education is a vital necessity. Man and woman are like the two sides of a coin. Without one, the other cannot exist. Education women can not only give an educated family but education of women can also be helpful in eradicating many social evils such as dowry problem, unemployment problem, etc. Social peace can easily be established.
A woman has to play three distinct parts in the course of her life in each of which certain duties are expected of her. The first duty of a woman is to be a good daughter. The second is to be a good wife. And the third is to be a good mother. Education teaches a mother what she should be. It also teaches her how she would do it to be a good daughter, a good wife and a good mother.
That women might have the chance of a healthier and happier life should be reason enough for promoting girls’ education. However, there are also important benefits for society as a whole. An educated woman has the skills, information and self-confidence that she needs to be a better parent, worker and citizen.
An educated woman is, for example, likely to marry at a later age and have fewer children. Cross-country studies show that an extra year of schooling for girls reduces fertility rates by 5 to 10 per cent. And the children of an educated mother are more likely to survive. In India, for example, the infant mortality rate of babies whose mothers have received primary education is half that of children whose mothers are illiterate.
An educated woman will also be more productive at work — and better paid. Indeed, the dividend for educational investment is often higher for women than men. Studies from a number of countries suggest that an extra year of schooling will increase a woman’s future earnings by about 15 per cent, compared with 11 per cent for a man.
Over recent decades there has certainly been significant progress in girls’ education . Between 1970 and 1992, combined primary and secondary enrollment for girls in developing countries rose from 38 per cent to 68 per cent — with particularly high rates in East Asia (83 per cent) and Latin America (87 per cent). But there is still some way to go. In the least developed countries enrollment rates are only 47 per cent at the primary level and 12 per cent at the secondary level.
Malala Yousafzi, the Pakistani schoolgirl brought to England after being shot in the head by the Taliban, she delivered a speech at the UN headquarters in New York to call on governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child.
It was the teenager’s first public speech since she was attacked on a bus in Pakistan’s north-western Swat valley after standing up for her right to go to school in her home country.
She told a delegation of more than 500 young people: “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”
So let’s get the educate and empower the women so as to make our countries beautiful, developed and peaceful places to live in. Mairead Tagg, My elder and mentor, a clinical psychologist from University of Strathclyde, Scotland said to me
“Your words are always appreciated Sajjad and given the breadth of your audience, will reach across the world to make it a safe place for women.”
she further says “This is an important article Sajjad. It is now known that the developing brain of a child is heavily dependent on the kind of relationship he or she has with the primary carer – usually mum. If a mother is stressed, distressed or living with abuse, this changes the way the infant’s brain develops. As Alan Schore the great developmental neuro-biologist explained, the pathways for major mental disorders (including personality disorder and bipolar disorder) in vulnerable individuals are laid down by the age of two, and arise from failures and misattunements in the attachment relationship. Educating women about these issues is a vital strand of supporting them to care effectively for their children. Women increasingly live as single parents and have to provide financially for their children, and need education in order to get reasonably well paid employment. It is also vital that women’s voices are heard in political debate to ensure that their human rights are upheld and that their needs and those of their children are properly represented in political and social changes. Their voices are so much more powerful if they are educated and articulate.”