Equal Education for All
By Madison Beiting
The definition of feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Most people think of feminist as lonely and bitter women protesting issues. This is what I first thought to, but researching has opened my mind to what a true feminist is. To me a feminist is a person who believes in the equality and empowerment of women. Through researching I was opened up to many feministic issues around the world. Equal schooling is an issue all over the world for women.
For years women in our country have been denied opportunities to further their education. This all changed with Title XI of the education amendments of 1972; this prohibited sex discrimination in educational programs and activities. Doors that had been closed for years to women were finally open; women suddenly had more opportunities in schooling and athletics. This did not fix everything; there is still work to do until we reach total equality. Most high schools across the nation are violating title XI in some way. Males in grades K-12 have more opportunities to participate in sports than female students. Another concerning area is sexual harassment, almost half of the female students from grades 7 to 12 experience some form of sexual harassment in the last school year by staff or students. Bernice Sandler, who set Title IX in motion once said, “’That’s because Title IX is not just a law — it’s a social revolution. It changes the fundamental relationship between men and women, and that is not easy to do’” (Pearsill). Title IX is not the solution to inequality in education, it is just one step and there are still more steps that need to be taken. Many countries around the world have many more improvements to make before they ever reach equality in school.
Inequality in education is not just a problem in the United States. In fact I believe it is even more of a problem in other countries around the world. Thirteen percent of adult women in Bolivia cannot read or write; which is almost double of the 5% of adult males who cannot read. One reason that girls are not getting as good of an education is that schools are not seen as a safe place for girls. A study in Bolivia found that nearly one hundred girls are sexually attacked every day at school. This will continue to make a huge impact on women and girls schooling until the safety is improved. In Armenia 99% of women are illiterate. Many things are causes to the low number of girls receiving the proper education. In some regions there are no schools, in which case girls would have to make a long, dangerous walk to get school with the threat of wild animals attacking which causes many to stay at home. A bigger problem is child marriage. In Armenia once you are married or become engaged, you are not allowed to go to school anymore. Most girls marry and start families between the ages of 13 and 16. If you are not married by 18 you are shunned and thought of as an old maid. This causes the girls to feel pressure to leave school and get married. Despite the many problems the governments of these countries are starting to make improvements. The author states, “There has been undeniable progress in some aspects of gender equality in education, and the contribution of international treaties and agreements, often used by civil society to increase pressure for state action, is clear” (Gender). Although the people are starting to take action against these injustices towards the girls of these countries they are a long way from gender equality in these countries. These are just two of the many countries around the world where gender equality is almost nonexistent.
Total gender equality in education has not been reached however, there have been improvements. We are fortunate enough to be able to go to a school where we are offered countless opportunities to further our education. We need to use theses opportunities to become as educated as we can so someday maybe we can help the women around the world who are not as fortunate as us.