As you pack lunches, chauffeur children, assist with homework, meet teachers, and balance all you must do each day, I join in your excitement for the start of another school year and I thank you for your ongoing encouragement of your daughters and sons. As women in BCWAC, we are working to change laws and even institutions empowering women to educate their families.
But consider the following comments from my friend who shared her memories of the culture surrounding education for girls in India and of her mother’s unfailing support.
“When I started writing about my summer volunteer mentoring experience encouraging girls to study sciences, many of my inner feelings/ hard experience/ problems/comments/obstacles I faced to get education as a girl child in the male dominated Indian society/ family and surroundings started pouring out.
Girl child doesn’t need education. No need to send girl to city school/ English speaking, send boy to English speaking school.
Educating a girl won’t be useful to you. she get married and will give salary in hubby’s house. then why should her family give her education? Girls who are sent to high school will elope with somebody and family honor will be damaged. Don’t allow girl to study more and then finding groom will be difficult. Marry her off and so burden will be over.
Get girl to know ABCD. that is enough. If a girl study she will no longer follow your words.
Going to Vet school? No!! Girl who study Veterinary won’t be getting married.
She is getting more marks because she is a girl and the male professor gives her higher marks.
Being a girl, it’s not good to travel to other place and present your research so let the guy go and present your research.
What! you are going to start your PhD now? whole life will be spoiled as already you are 27 yrs old.
These are the some comments I have received either from own male family members or relatives, my surrounding community, and even from Vet school Professors. I am astonished I could go beyond and how I am now doing PhD in a foreign university. All this could happen only because of my mother who struggled to stand for my education against all odds.”
I have shared these memories from my email friend, Dr. Loges Ponnusami, a young Veterinarian and Toxicologist from rural India who is now a Graduate (PhD) Student and Research Assistant at Texas Tech University. Her current research is on breast cancer. I met her through Women Graduates-USA, an online organization focusing on empowering women around the globe.
Thank you, moms everywhere!
Bucks County Womens Advocacy Coalition