EDUCATE GIRLS: The biggest patriarchal excuse against educating girls and women is that ‘they don’t need it, they aren’t going to go out and work’. While this is a senile statement to make and a kind of professional and human rights violation, this is also logically incorrect. No matter what you are doing or who you are, everyone can agree that some of the best teachers they have met are female. They don’t just have to be school teachers or academic teachers, they could be anyone. And of course, mother is the first teacher of every child.
A mother is a lifelong guide, and an unflinching critic – she will tell you what is good for you and what isn’t in a moment. No male teacher, not even a father, can replace her teachings. Why, you ask? This is because mothers have an innate instinct when it comes to children. This instinct is a compound of both the transmission of genetic material, the shared environment. But it also has deeper, more spiritual and more mysterious roots. A mother’s instinct is never wrong. She will tell you which friend is false, what action is incorrect and what path is right.
But apart from life lessons, she is also an academic teacher. In fact, she is the first person to introduce you to the world of knowledge. It is a mother who teaches her child the alphabet, it is the mother who teaches a child to add, subtract, divide and count. A mother reads out picture books that increase comprehension, and a mother shows the child the moon and stars. In fact, this is the reason all children are so proficient in their mother tongue, no matter what their individual language skills may be. Emulating a mother comes naturally to children – they follow their mothers, in steps and in actions.
Thus, a mother’s responsibility doubles up. She is not merely a caregiver or protector anymore, she is an educator. She is tasked with equipping the child with the knowledge that the child will use when the protective bubble of home bursts and he or she ventures forth into new social situations. For example, how a child interacts in his school, or daycare, or even in parties depends largely on the attitude of the mother, and her teachings.
Even as a child grows up, the mother continues to engage with the child’s education for as long as it is possible. She is the one who is up to date with what the child is learning, whose company he or she is in, and how he or she is spending time at school. Sadly, this is the state of patriarchal societies. If you expect a woman to be an ideal homemaker and take full responsibility of the child, how can you expect her to be uneducated?
How can a woman teach a child what she herself doesn’t know? And how can she provide an enriching environment that stimulates the child’s intellectual growth? It is audacious to expect a woman to simultaneously be shy, reserved and illiterate as well as a patron of learning for her child? This is mere hypocrisy.
Instead, we can change our attitudes towards women. Educate girls, treat them with dignity, love and respect. We can encourage them to pursue their dreams and expand their horizons, imagination. By doing this we will provide an infinitely better environment to our children, which is more conducive to their growth. Show them by example that it’s okay to dream big, and it’s within their limits to achieve these big dreams. This will in turn push the ceiling higher, for all of humanity.