The modern society has come a long way regarding equality between men and women in different aspects like human rights, cultural and societal roles, workforce and education, and the like. Women of today’s society more or less enjoy the rights and privileges that women of yesteryears could only think of, such as the right to have a job, the right to suffrage, and the right to receive equal access to education, among others.
However, it cannot be said that gender equality is truly achieved today because women still experience major gender barriers in society. They still are subjected to violence and discrimination that forbid them from participating in society on an equal footing with men. In order to progress as a society, aspects wherein women are discriminated against can be analyzed and discussed in depth. Once these aspects are identified, solutions can be identified and implemented in order to minimize or totally eradicate the discrimination against women in that field.
One of the fields in which women are experiencing inequality even nowadays is in the field of education. There are many types of discrimination against women in the field of education, and identifying these types of discrimination is a crucial step in addressing the issue of women and gender inequality in education.
Types of Women Inequality in Education
There are many ways in which gender inequality in education can take. One such form as the restriction of access to females from being educated in the first place, which denies them of the opportunity of being literate in the first place.
One of the causes of women not getting an education in the first place is because of societal norms. Until the 19th century, women were mostly not allowed to get an education because they were only expected to become mothers and homemakers. Since these skills do not require any form of formal education, girls and women are kept out of school, and education was mostly focused on boys. Even though both girls and boys have equal access to education nowadays, this cause is still in full effect as many countries, particularly underdeveloped ones still forbid females to enter the field of education. Even if they are allowed to study, they still face various challenges that prohibit them attending classes such as expectations to help with household labor, child marriage, and female genital mutilation. These obstacles to proper education are aggravated by factors such as poverty, disability and location (“Girls’ education and gender inequality”, 2015).
In addition to the limiting of the opportunity of education in general, certain subjects are also not taught to females in certain circles or at least being less focused on. For example, males are more encouraged towards male-dominated studies such as science, math, and engineering while females are mostly relegated for feminine ones such as home economics, arts and humanities, and education. This can be seen as problematic because science and math are necessary for students to pursue higher-end subjects. Aside from gender differences in education, people are further classified according to social class and then by race, thereby rendering the inequalities in education, especially among black poor women, being severely overlooked (Dill & Zambrand, 2009).
Moreover, there is the implicit discrimination of being a woman first and foremost in the educational system. As a woman, I have faced many experiences of sexism and discrimination by sole virtue of being a female. For example, I have experienced being sneered at by my male colleagues when I am taking activities or subjects that are expected to be ‘masculine’, such as sports activities and hard sciences.
Consequences of Women Inequality in Education
Women inequality in education has its own share of consequences which can adversely impact the female population in general. For one, limiting the access of education for women can result in less women getting literate and thus not eligible to pursue job opportunities, and therefore less salary. In other words, the lack of equality in the field of education is pertinent other women issues, particularly women and work force and women and the wage pay gap.
However, it is noticeable that there are more females than males that are entering university. For example, Drolet in 2007 reports that females comprise two-thirds of the enrolment in medical school in Canadian schools. In addition, he showed that females score higher on math and science exams, but boys are still doing better when it comes to standardized exams. These results can show that boys are doing poorly, and females are aware of the fact that they need a university degree in order to land on higher-paying jobs because they are unlike males who can secure such jobs even without tertiary education.
Even though females have reached significant milestones in the field of gender equality, there is still much to be desired in some aspects, especially in the field of education. One of the primary problems females face in education is many females are denied of their right to proper education, even until the present times. Even if they receive education, they are still limited by societal norms and expectations of the culture they belong in. In addition, some females are restricted on the subjects that they are taking, with the system preferring them to take on more feminine fields. The effects of these discriminatory acts are manifested in the lower job opportunity and wage rate for women. To make up for it, women enter university at a higher rate than men to have access to jobs that require post-secondary education.
Dill, B. T., & Zambrana, R. E. (2009). Emerging intersections: Race, class, and gender in theory, policy, and practice. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.
Drolet, D. (10 September 2007). Minding the gender gap. University Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.universityaffairs.ca/features/feature-article/minding-the-gender-gap/
Girl’s education and gender equality (23 July, 2015). UNICEF. Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/education/bege_70640.html