Women especially those living in underdeveloped or developing countries have to face a plethora of barriers to achieving education all over the world. Research shows that around 130 million school-aged girls are not enrolled in any educational institution (7 Obstacles to Girls’ Education and How to Overcome Them, n.d.). It is known to everyone that women who complete at least secondary education are usually less likely to be victims of domestic violence, have a higher level of psychological well-being, make more money and give birth to healthier children than those who are illiterate. Still, they have to face many obstacles to pursue their education and fulfill their dreams.
The World Bank says that the crucial factor that determines if a girl can start her journey toward education or not is poverty even in areas where parents don’t have to pay school fees. Sending girls to school is not those families’ priority as they believe that their daughters will not look after them once they are married off. For this reason, they spend on their sons’ education and save money for their daughters’ weddings. On the other hand, girls have some necessary expenditures every month for their menstruation which is considered a burden by those families. To shred off their burden, they let their daughter marry off at such early age.
There are about 700 million women around the world who were married as girls, UNICEF reported in 2017 (7 Obstacles to Girls’ Education and How to Overcome Them, n.d.). In sub-Saharan Africa, 4 in 10 girls are married under the age of 18, and South Asia, where about 30% of girls under 18 are married, has the highest levels of child marriage, according to UNICEF(7 Obstacles to Girls’ Education and How to Overcome Them, n.d.).
In many countries or cultures, the role of the woman is just to take care of the family and do all of the household chores by herself no matter how she is feeling physically or mentally. Some research shows that in Burkina Faso, Yemen, and Somalia, girls between 10 and 14 years old bear the most unbalanced burden of household chores compared to boys (7 Obstacles to Girls’ Education and How to Overcome Them, n.d.). These sorts of rules are holding them back to continue their studies.
It is estimated that around 246 million girls and boys are harassed and abused on their way to school every year, but girls are the primary targets (7 Obstacles to Girls’ Education and How to Overcome Them, n.d.). Tanzania found that almost 1 in 4 girls who experienced sexual violence reported the incident while traveling to or from school, and nearly 17% reported at least one incident that occurred at school or on school property (7 Obstacles to Girls’ Education and How to Overcome Them, n.d.). This discourages the parents to send their daughters to school as they are not safe even in their schools.
The journey of women is always challenging since childhood. However, this tends to increase exponentially once they become a mother. In most countries, people throw all the responsibilities of the child on the mother. Generally, no one steps forward to help those poor women out. As a result, the mothers have to sacrifice their studies and careers to look after their children.
The tasks are even more demanding for those who pursue education out of town or abroad, far from their support system (Oktaviani et al., n.d.). This refers to support from the people closest to them such as spouses, parents, friends, or extended family members (Oktaviani et al., n.d.). Needless to say, many women cannot afford the daycares because of the expensive rates even per hour.
This lack of support is enough to exhaust them both physically and mentally as they still have to deal with the masculine hegemony and patriarchy in higher education.
7 Obstacles to Girls’ Education and How to Overcome Them. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/barriers-to-girls-education-around-the-world/
Oktaviani, F. H., Pertiwi, K., & Sari, N. A. (n.d.). Many women want to pursue higher education, but structural barriers remain. Our research offers solutions. The Conversation. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from http://theconversation.com/many-women-want-to-pursue-higher-education-but-structural-barriers-remain-our-research-offers-solutions-175837