The social problem of major concern to me and my family as a whole is the lack of the ability to encourage the female education in the society that I live in. This problem has made my life take a different direction especially in my career. Due to the societal and the family pressures, I have been able to delay the accomplishment of my career objectives. I will have to finish up my bachelors at my mid-40s because the female education in the society is not valued. To me this is a social problem because it has affected many people in our society. First, the family as the basic unit of the social orientation of the society does not embrace the idea of the female acquiring education early in life. There are many victims of this notion within our society and I can count myself a lucky female because I have made it to college. This is an opportunity that most of the females have not had.
As a further justification of the fact that this problem is a social one, it has had a lot of impact in my career. It has limited my career choices. I have not opened up my mind to make use of the new opportunities that come my way. Pursuing my studies at a much younger age was tricky due to other responsibilities that were bestowed in my docket as a female in the family. Now in my 40s, I run a business and I have to attend to family matters and finish up my schooling successfully. Balancing between these responsibilities is quite challenging for me because I do not want to neglect any of them. The bias towards women continues to exist. The parental responsibility towards the female children is feeble. My parents did not take the time to ask me what I wanted to become. I, therefore, grew up without focus and a goal in life. This minimised my chances of capitalizing on the opportunities that came by. The little things that I wanted to achieve cannot be realised fully and easily. I have to use my time now to finish up school while working in the business and attending to the family too. I feel that my effort and attention are quite stretched towards many directions. I believe that the pressure on me is not the same as the pressure felt by a person who has attended college before getting married. I think that the workload pressure is much reduced because the unmarried student at a youthful age is still strong and has the stamina to focus solely on her studies at school.
This problem does not only affect our family, but it cuts across the societies in the globe. This is what makes my problem more social. Education attainment for the females has been widely disregarded for a long period in spite of it being a fundamental step towards empowering the women in the current society. Globally the risk of having the next generation of the children especially females who are ill prepared for acquiring education increases. The importance of empowering women in the society through educating them at a tender age needs attention. Currently, statistics shows that 66.67% of the world’s illiterate population are female with the literate minority acquiring education at a much later time in life (Klasen 2002). Though the statistics by United Nation Economics and Social Council (ECOSOC) indicates that the female students outnumber the boys in the tertiary institutions, in a few countries around the world, there is an increasing gender gap in education in the Middle East countries and the soviet bloc countries. To add on this fact, the number of women in the higher-level institutions is lower that the number of women in the lower level institutions. An analysis of the age patterns depicts further that the tertiary institutions usually has a larger percentage of the women students being the adults (Leach 1998). To narrow down in my societal niche, I am the first female who is going to graduate from college and in the neighbourhood; the number of female graduates is so negligible. From the facts and statistics, most women in the world are perusing their education careers at an advanced age probably because of the gender parity that exists in the family set ups and lack of encouragement to pursue their career objectives.
This problem probably emanated from the attitude and perception of our family towards matters of education. Education is not viewed as vital and the children’s opinions about what they wanted to do with their lives were not valued. This trend of thinking can be traced back from my grandparents from both sides. Being female was more of a detriment. For men like my father, they were encouraged to be casual labourers and workers. He was a mechanist though he would have become a good engineer were it not for the negative perception that my society had on education. He later became a truck driver and his ambitions in life were shuttered. For the women in our family, we could be taught how to get married and make the male take good care of you. The college fee was considered to be too expensive. Nobody in the society was aware of how to look for any source of funding. After all, it was not that important to them. My mother and my sister sold real estate at some point unwillingly. My sister is quite discouraged and is not quite sure whether she will accomplish her education dreams. The perception of my family and of the society in which I live in, clearly does not offer a firm foundation to encourage the female education. They, therefore, cannot take the initiative of looking for means of financing such a course to enable a female to acquire her education early in life.
The consequences of the acts of my family have greater impacts to my sister and me. It has made us not to fulfil our dreams within the convenient ages in our lives. Our greater potential has been painfully wasted. As at now, I ought to have cleared my schooling and gotten a well-paying job that is in line with my career goal. This problem will have to cause me more strain and sacrifice while advancing my education. I am planning to finish soon and pursue a higher course probably masters and Ph.D. It accomplishing this course will not be that easy. It will require a stretch of my attention towards my family and my business too. The problem has also caused financial problems to us. The fact that my family and our society do not value education, they have done little to ensure that both my sister and I get well financed in college. This has led to economic strains and uncertainty in our learning. My choice of career too seems to have been affected by this problem. If I had been encouraged earlier, things would be very different and at my age would be settled on a career that hopefully I would love.
Several practical methods that can be put in place to curb this social problem. The approaches will be based on three categories that will assume a broader societal perspective. The first approach will be an initiative that will aim at changing the attitude of the society. For the menace to be curbed the societal view of the education process especially of the female must be positive. The second approach will focus on the creation of a source of funding that can be used to finance the female education. The attitude can be positive but without appropriate financial support, the initiative to educate the female is bound to fail. The last initiative will be directed towards creating a pool of leaders who can promote and sustain the programs for educating the girls through the development of favourable legislation. This is important as we may know the direction where we are headed to but without proper leadership, a great failure is eminent.
In an attempt to changing the attitudes of the members of the society, various initiatives can be implemented. The awareness of the need to embrace the education of the children especially females at a tender age should be increased. This can be achieved by convening meetings with the local leaders at the village level to help them realize the existence of the educational gap in the society. The village elders and the chief should be rallied towards accepting the fact that giving their children the opportunity to learn is a necessity and personal responsibility of the parent and the society at large. When this is achieved, the society will then take the personal initiative to guide the children in realizing their goals and in supporting them financially in their education. Hence, children like me will be able to start pursuing their goals at an early stage in life.
The second approach will focus on the creation of a source of funding that can be used to finance the female education. After creating a positive drive towards supporting education, a sustainable financial base should be created to ensure success of the initiative. Sponsorship and donor funding should be sought. The donors should be requested to increase their funding to the individuals in a society that do not value the education. If this is achieved, the people who will be willing to acquire education at their youthful ages will be able to succeed with or without the financial support of a reluctant society. The education of the female will not have to be dependent on the decision of the family or the society. The donor support should also be long term. In implementing this, they will ensure that their beneficiaries starts their education process at a lower level and advances to higher levels of learning without having to drop out of school.
The last initiative will be focused on creating a pool of leaders who can promote and sustain the programs for educating the girls through the development of favourable legislation. While electing leaders, the members of the society should only consider the leaders who have their education affairs at heart. The elected leaders will, therefore, push for the making of laws that compel the parents to educate their children at a tender age so as to avoid the problem of multitasking when they advance in age. With proper implementation of these laws, the education of the female child will be given the attention that it deserves.
Undermining of education of the female by my family had several impacts to me and to my family members too. I believe that a proper implementation of the solutions above can help curb this social problem and help to restore the dreams of the hopeless children in my society. It can also help to avoid causing strains in the future by enabling them to pursue their ambitions at a tender age.
Leach, F. (1998). “Gender, education and training: an international perspective.” Sweetman, C. (ed). (Gender and Development). Oxford. Oxfam.
Klasen, S. (2002). “Low Schooling for Girls, Slower Growth for All? Cross-Country Evidence on the Effect of Gender Inequality in Education on Economic Development.” The World Bank Economic Review, Vol.16, No.3, pp. 345–373. Washington: World Bank.