Education & Changing Roles of WomenThis is a featured page

Dadi came from a generation of the past. She was raised to obey and follow instructions – especially the mother-in-laws’ words. She was from a time of traditions whereby the women were suppressed. They must keep their faces covered and hide behind men and serve them. The women must work despite how wealthy their family might be. And the women must manage the household and keep it together. More importantly they should bear the family a son. In fact, they would rather not have daughters at all and sing criticisms when a girl is born. Despite the lack of education, Dadi was a liberated woman. While others in the village might claimed that education ruined a girl; she welcome her educated daughter-in-law from the city with open arms. She treated everyone in the family equally and took care of her all her daughter-in-laws whether educated or not. However other people in North India feel differently. They believed that women should be working in the field and in the house too; instead going to the city to study and make a living. The daughter-in-laws of Dadi’s family were part of the new generation who will not follow blindly their mother-in-law’s word. They would think of their own nuclear family and the husband’s interest- whether a not staying in a big family is profitable.

Its more than just in Haryana, the ever changing roles of women all over the world occur because of education. But what defines the roles of women? Genders are the roles culturally defined for one to follow in their society. Tradition decided that women should be the home maker- not the bread winner. Tradition decided that men should be one in power- the one who gets the inheritance. Educated women however wished to step out of that role and create their own definition of what a female can or cannot do. In fact, India has a female president in the office currently and world’s longest serving Prime Minister is a woman from India. I believed that education opened up new ideas and provide opportunities for women to step up of their traditional roles. Who is to say what is a woman’s role? As the different generations of women get exposed to different upbringing, they feel more confident to find their own identity instead of being confined to the structure of their culture. I don’t believe the education ruined a girl or encourage them to rebel against their tradition. Education merely opened up the idea that there many possibility of what women can do. This causes women all over the world to be inspired to find their own identity and definition of themselves. Instead of merely believing a woman must stay home and raise kids, they are able to bring in income as well. However because of this the traditional family system and roles will alter as mothers are no longer expected to stay home to manage the household. Whether it is in the rural North India or just modern Singapore city, the roles of women in families are ever changing and it is an undeniable fact.

"The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come."
—Sandra Day O'Connor

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mukugodo Kinship systems as markers of change. 1 Sep 14 2011, 6:59 AM EDT by mukugodo
Thread started: Sep 14 2011, 6:58 AM EDT  Watch
As mentioned in the previous threads, it is no doubt that behind the changes of kinship systems, lies different reasons that has laid the evolution of kinship roles that we witness to date between various societies. The different reasons, notably, economic or educational, are both necessary in explaining the kinship systems. However, i would like to argue that kinship systems should be seem as markers of change, and from there assert how economies have developed and how educational systems have brought about the changes in modernity. What we can take away from Anthropology, is that this discipline has provided us with a different outlook pertaining issues ranging from personal to societal level, and serves as a reminder that we should not take such issues for granted. That said, in relation to Dadi's family, we can ask ourselves a few questions that explores our preconceptions of kinship systems.

How has kinship roles changed within our own family, as compared to times of our parents and their grandparents?
In the film, the female role within the family was explored and was ascertained to be largely conventional where the role of women was confined to homemakers while the male was regarded as the patriarch and breadwinner. In a sense, there is a certain power imbalance, where there is discrimination of females in the egalitarian viewpoint. Why so? Was it due to the cultural traditions that have defined such kinship systems, or was it due to the lack of formal education? Or was it a combination of both? To simply answer the questions wouldn't be a difficult feat, but the important point to take away is that we need to analyze the changes of kinship systems as markers of change across time and space, in order to seek a explanation that may be universal and fair.
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delphinus_melody Education: catalyst for changing women's roles? tutorial participation 11 Nov 11 2010, 11:03 PM EST by yessah
Thread started: Oct 6 2010, 9:01 PM EDT  Watch
It does appear as though education is THE way to empower women and to show them that there is a life other than raising kids and domestic work. In fact, many NGOs advocate women's education as they believe that when the education level of a woman increases, she is in the position to help other family members, especially her children get out of the poverty circle. However, I do not think that education is the sole factor for the change in how society shapes the roles a women must play.

Instead, it is most likely economic reasons that force women out into the workforce. During the WW2, the men were drafted to fight, leaving the women behind. Due to the need of the government to produce ammunition and fighter planes, and the need of women to support their families, women were employed in steel factories (which were a men's domain). The women learnt that they could be as capable, if not more, than their male counterparts and it sparked off a change in the general mindset: females can do a men's job equally well. In the same way, Singaporean women continue working after marriage and kids. Why? There is this huge financial pressure of paying for the house mortgage, car installments, children's school fees and the cost of sustaining a comfortable lifestyle, all of which requires a dual paycheck (unless you are a highly paid senior executive)

Hence, it is in my view that the catalyst for the changes in the role of womes in the workforce is the need for financial stability. Education merely plays a role in increasing the prospects that the women have, allowing them to compete with men for jobs that were previously "exclusively male". Of course, there is no denying that with education, women are seeing more of the world and expecting more out of their lives, but what sparked the change in the mindset of what a women can do? Money not enough:)
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AhTeck91 Trends in the gender earnings gap (male = female) 0 Nov 10 2010, 4:10 PM EST by AhTeck91
Thread started: Nov 10 2010, 4:10 PM EST  Watch
Male–female income disparity, also referred to as the "gender gap in earnings" in the United States, and as the "gender wage gap", the "gender earnings gap" and the "gender pay gap", refers usually to the ratio of female to male median yearly earnings among full-time, year-round (FTYR) workers.

Women's yearly wages relative to men's rose rapidly from 1980 to 1990 (from 60.2% to 71.6%), and less rapidly from 1990 to 2000 (from 71.6% to 73.7%) and from 2000 to 2008 (from 73.7% to 77.1%).[4]

Most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported in an article dated September 1, 2010 entitled Young Single Women's Pay Surpasses Male Peers that the earning power of young single women has surpassed that of their male peers in metropolitan areas around the US, a shift driven by the growing ranks of women who attend colleges and move on to high-earning jobs. According to an analysis of Census Bureau data released by Reach Advisors in 2008, single childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most United States cities, with incomes that were 8% greater than males on average.[5]

According to Andrew Beveridge, a Professor of Sociology at Queens College, between 2000 and 2005, women in their twenties earned more than their male counterparts in some large urban centers, including Dallas (120%), New York (117%), Chicago, Boston, and Minneapolis. A major reason for this is that women have been graduating from college in larger numbers than men, and that many of those women seem to be gravitating toward major urban areas. In 2005, 53% of women in their 20s working in New York were college graduates, compared with only 38% of men of that age. Nationwide, the wages of that group of women averaged 89% of the average full-time pay for men between 2000 and 2005.[6]
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