It’s time we view a girl’s higher education as a priority rather than a privilege. Investing in her education will not only make her financially independent and confident but also, in the future, she will be blessed with a partner and not a master. She will be free to take up her own decisions and use her savings as per her will without anyone’s consent or approval. A girl’s education is the most precious gift her parents can give her. An educated woman will not just teach her children but will yield an entire generation of intellectual people who will carry the legacy of her hard work and determination. Truly, one cannot deny the significance of an educated girl in a family.
Societal pressure and norms
A common practice in Indian households is that as soon as a girl completes her graduation, a storm of discussion surges among the neighbors and relatives to find a suitable match and get the girl married off quickly, because a girl is often seen as a burden to the family and the prospect of getting her educated doesn’t even strike the farthest corner of the mind. After all, they believe that educating a girl would be a waste of hard-earned savings. Ironically, parents who don’t have money for their daughter’s education seem to have all the money to organise a lavish wedding for their daughter (by taking loans and stretching their means.) The root problem here is not about having enough savings or financial funds…It’s in the mind set.
Investing in marriage
A common fear that erupts amongst most Indian parents at the time of their daughter’s marriage is whether they will be able to conduct it lavishly or not and how the society will perceive them if they aren’t able to fulfill societal expectations and norms. This is one reason why the birth of a daughter in an Indian household is not celebrated with joy as it falls heavily on the parents to save all their earnings for her marriage. As she grows up day by day, they fret the impending social and familial duty that will eventually break their backs financially.
If you study, then what about your marriage?
A very pertinent question that Indian parents ask blatantly when their daughters express their readiness to continue their studies further is – If we invest all the hard-earned money for your education, then who will pay for your marriage? Really? Is that what is bothering them most? How can one weigh education and marriage on the same balance?
In the overall scheme of events and circumstances, a girl’s education ceases to be a priority or even a considerate thing to talk about. So, when a girl works hard, finishes her schooling, clears the entrance exam, and is all set for her higher education….Viola! Comes the sharp turn…Her parents don’t have enough money to educate her further.
Women often don’t promise flourishing careers
According to the latest All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), in 2018-19, only 28 per cent of those enrolled in the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) course were women. It’s a similar ratio in the Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) course, which had 28.86 per cent, women, as against 71.14 per cent men. The situation is not the same for all courses. In the same year for the Masters of Business Administration (MBA), 41.67 per cent of those enrolled were women as opposed to 58.33 percent men. An increase in the number of women enrolled in professional courses does not guarantee their participation in the country’s workforce.
Many women are subjected to making a difficult career choice as soon as they complete their education. Factors like settling with a family, taking care of in-laws and gelling with the cultures of the new-found family often weigh heavier than work on the balance of choices leading to reduction of women in the workplace.
Some broad-minded parents proudly comfort their daughters by creating an illusion that they are granting permission for further studies or will allow them to take up a job in the future, but let all promises fall by the wayside when it is time to get them married. This hampers the happiness and self-will of women and leaves them vulnerable to trust in their own decisions.
With turbulent times, it is not sufficient for parents to educate their daughters only for the heavy price tag of marriage but instead encourage them to be positive thinkers and independent decision-makers who will leave behind a legacy that will inspire many more to come.
So, dear parents, It’s time we stand up for our daughter’s education and encourage them to pursue their higher studies. When each parent invests in education and ceases to prioritize only marriage, society will be compelled to mend its ways. And even if they are adamant about changing, why would you care? After all, your daughter’s passion and contentment are of the utmost importance to you…Isn’t it? Marriage should take place, but it can be done at the right time with the right person, while being supportive of the woman’s education, instead of rushing into it without thought or care.