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Breaking down education barriers

This assignment has been one that has led me to a deep level of introspect. While I see so many barriers to receiving an education in other countries, here in America we should have more opportunities, less barriers.....but do we really?

The challenges I faced in my community growing up were based around my religion. The religion I belong to encourages girls to focus on married life from an early age. Once the men get back from their missions we are encouraged to marry. This leads to most girls being married by 20 or 21. I was married at 22. Many, once married, become housewives and mothers right away. Working outside the home, or continuing their education is not looked upon with favor. We are to dedicate ourselves to our husbands. Many girls that were in school, quit and never go back. While I love my God, and I love the religion in my heart, and I see that there are some women that enjoy staying home and never going further in education, this mindset hinders some girls and women from becoming perhaps the Doctors who would find cures so diseases, who knows....perhaps one of them were destined to become the first Female President but will never see this become a reality.Some may say that this is not a true barrier. Many may say that this is just a belief set that women do to themselves. "they could choose to go on if they wanted to" I've heard. But many cannot.Cultural barriers run deep.

In this culture women get married, have children, stay at home, dedicate themselves to their husbands and once this happens....they lose their own identity. When a beautiful identity is lost, feelings of inadequacy creep in. Feeling that we are not as good of a wife or as good of a mother as other women are. A lack of confidence in oneself is a huge barrier. We have no money of our own, it is all tied in to our husbands and we cannot ask for money for our own use since this would not be a "need". We have no mentors encouraging us to go further, success is considered to be gained if you stay at home and raise children, cook, and clean.

When I was married, I was still in my last year of college and decided to stay in. I got pregnant with my first child and had her in the last semester, I wanted to go on to Graduate School but could not. As I had more children, my dreams of going back to school faded away and they left bitterness in my soul that found its way out a few years ago. I lost myself, and felt so guilty for having regrets. Depression set in. I love my family and am so grateful I have beautiful gifts from God. But I regret not going further and pursuing the dreams I had. Suddenly I realized that I had to break out and find myself again no matter what anyone thought. I faced a great deal of scorn at first. Church women asking me why I would even want to go back to school, what was I thinking? Wasn't I afraid that my children would not be raised correctly without me staying at home? I hurt deeply by their comments but went forward. I realized later on that many of those comments came from a sense of curiosity and intrigue as to how they could do what I was doing.

I have 5 wonderful gifts from God. They are the reason I live. They are also what drove me to break down the religious, cultural barriers that surrounded me. I got my Student Loans since I had no stored money and I found an online school where I could get my Masters Degree. I wanted my children to see that they could be upstanding Church members while still furthering their education as far as they want to go. I want the girls to know that they do not have to be stay at home moms if they choose not to be. I want the boys to know that it is okay if their wives want to go to school and get great jobs. I want them to grow and blossom. I went to school, got my Masters in HR and my MBA, I was chosen to go to Europe for a Study Abroad session in International Business, I graduated with honors. I never dreamed it was possible. Now many of the women that once criticized me have asked me how they can do the same thing. I have signed up 3 women in online education programs including one in a high school program to get her Diploma.

Education is powerful. By getting our education, women are becoming a force for change. We have powerful, beautiful voices that are being heard in classrooms, in college magazines and other editorials. The possibilities are endless. By me helping other women to go back to school, barriers are being broken down and stripped away....Thank God!

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

TJ's picture

finding ur niche :)

Kudos on finding a way to combine both! You are a good example for you daughters and sons.

TJ

Aminah's picture

wonderful and courageous

You have addressed the topic very nicely chargerrose7.
I had similar kinds of thoughts when I started writing but I guess you have done a better job of saying it all.

I ran out of words but am not too happy how it is. You second para says it all about the barriers and challenges and I totally agree with you.

I understand how daunting it is to leave children behinds. But kudos to you for having that courage.

Regards
Aminah

Salaam
Aminah

Maya Norton's picture

ChargerRose, your first

ChargerRose, your first journal entry hurt my heart. Have you found people, especially women, to connect to since your first writing? Depression is never ever the individual's fault. You are brave to write about it and ask for support and help.

It sounds like you are Mormon since you mentioned missions, right?

The bind you have described between children and education as important parts of life are one that so many women face. You are not alone.

Thought you might be interested in Bitani's piece, the first submission of the week, that touches upon some of the issues you wrote about. I'll send her your link as well. http://worldpulse.com/node/69153

Wishing you strength,

~ Maya

bitani's picture

Thanks Maya for sharing the

Thanks Maya for sharing the link of MissyRose and vice versa. yes, the essence of both pieces is the same. I love your piece Missyrose; keep it up (Y).

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
—Judy Garland

mjose3's picture

Well done!

I really appreciate how much you have done.. I know it must have been hard to stand up and bear the criticism. I strongly believe that if we want world peace we should target mothers. They are the ones who bring up the world of tomorrow. It is so nice that you are encouraging your children to think differently.

Lisa

chargerrose7's picture

Well done

Thank you! I feel the same. If we can get mothers to rise up World peace will be so much easier to attain.

MissyRose

EmmaKWin's picture

ChargerRose, Thank you for

ChargerRose,

Thank you for sharing your story and experience. It is always inspiring to hear success stories, and I think yours is definitely one! You do a very good job of explaining your situation and solution in a way that can be expanded to other people (from the one to the many) which is critical to good journalism.

Keep up the great work,
Emma

chargerrose7's picture

Thank you

Thank you so much. It means a lot to me to know I'm reaching people. Perhaps my words will provide other women to reach for education success. It is possible truly possible if we strive through challenges. And it is worth it!

MissyRose

Dana W's picture

Hi, I was very curious to

Hi,
I was very curious to read when noticed the American flag.
Thank you very much for a fascinating text, which is also very touching.
It’s so beautiful you didn’t keep your bright insights to yourself and decided to reach out and help others get their education, good for you and for them!
Keep up your amazing work and let us ear your voice, cause it’s a great one!
Dana

chargerrose7's picture

Thank you

I am so glad to hear that my writings were good to read. It's such an honor to read others and be read by so many fascinating women.

MissyRose

Diane Ezeji's picture

Yes, its happening in the US too

I also grew up in a conservative religious environment. Women were told that their goal was to be a wife and mother. I felt strong discouragement in expressing an opinion or having an interest outside of those two goals. Women were taught to be silent and that if you wanted to be heard it was because you wanted attention (a negative need in their minds). I feel that growing up in that environment still handicaps me today. When I go to a job interview, for example, I feel awkward telling them about my abilities; that was seen as bragging. Men were supposed to make the decisions for the family, but what if that man made poor decisions? The whole family suffered in silence. I got away and got my education, but still struggle to find my voice. I think the majority of the US population aren't aware of what is still taking place in rural and closed communities like the ones we know. Thanks for your bravery.

Diane Ezeji

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