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ACCESS TO EDUCATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE GIRL-CHILD

My late mother told me that early in life she was denied education because she was a girl-child. it was her brother, the only male child that was given the privilege of education.
Mum told me the society then believed that a woman's edUcation will end in her husband's home so it was a waste of resources investing in a girl's education .
According to her she was only lucky to get education when her brother did not show enough willingness to go to school . So her father sent her to school because she was willing to get education .
And she did tell me that on her father's death bed he told hee he was glad he trained her in school . Because eventually education empowered her to cater for him in his old age .
Since my mum was educated she married a literate man who was my father . Together they trained us- four females . Our gender not withstanding .
Probably because of my pedigree it was much later in life that I realized that some girls were denied education because of their gender .
Initially I thought gender disparity only existed within the confines of our social and cultural beleifs . Oh how wrong I was !
In my community now both boys and girls have equal access to education unlike many years back when education was the exclusive preserve of the boy-child .
In primary education both sexes have 100 percent equal completion. However in secondary education the level of completion drops at least by seven percent .
Due to some factors some girls do not complete secondary education amd so more often than not they do no go beyond this level of education .
Such factors include but are not limited to the following-
1. Poverty- parents are not financially empowered to send them to school beyond the secondary because education is very expensive .
2. Teenage pregnancy - so they mothers too early and probably marry early or end up as single parents .
3. They are victims of rape, sexual abuse or harrassment .
4. Peer influence
5. Lack of respect for women generally .
6. Education is expensive
For girls who lucky to go beyond the secondary school one odd fact that I have noticed is that we have less girls going for the science oriented courses compared to the boys . E.g in an Engineering class of 25 students you can only find one or two girls . The gender gap in science education is worrisome . There is the societal belief again that the science courses are "hard" and so they are meant for boys ! Can you beat that !
This is obviously a great hindrance to girls having equal access to education .
From this point my association (women journalists) is been trying to work on some programmmes that could ginger the love if the girls for the sciences . It is our vision to close the gender gap in science education .

Though our major constraint has been sourcing funds to finance the project .
It is my hope that when boys and girls have equal access to science education women's voice will not be left out in any field of human endeavour .
Another major solution is for government at all levels to put in place free and compulsory education . Presently financing education beyond secondary level in my community is out of the reach of the common man .
When education is free the citizenry are better empowered to contribute meaningfully to the society .

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.
Learn more »

Comments

pelamutunzi's picture

cool solutions

you have brought in good solutions. we hope one day your efforts will bring fruition

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

oluwayomi osuntokun's picture

hello

Amen ! Thanks.
Best Regards .

LisaXi's picture

Greetings, Interestingly, the

Greetings,

Interestingly, the issue of women or girls in scientific (and mathematic) fields is much the same in the US. Recent reports reveal that there females entering training programs degrees in science and math have decreased. However, you're point of making education free of charge, and therefore accessible to all regardless of financial position, does seem imperative to the success of all children/youth gaining access to education.

I also couldn't agree more with your philosophy that providing education will lead to an empowered community.

Thanks for sharing!

oluwayomi osuntokun's picture

Thank You

LisaXi thanks for your comments .

Lylinaguas's picture

Notions on Science

You're certainly right about societal belief that the science courses are "hard" and may I add the notion that men are better in numbers and formulas than women. Society tends to view women as less qualified when it comes to science or anything to do with a lot of numbers and formulas. It's also comparable to women not being allowed in the army in the past. All that has slowly changed. There are now women astronauts and soldiers because they have been given the chance to achieve their goals in life. Unfortunately, this is not true for so many other women. The barriers you've pointed out continue to be strong factors that prevent women from getting an education. But with you and your associates working together to help close these barriers and drum up more interest in science and education, women will have a better chance at being empowered and contributing to their communities. Best regards and continue being an inspiration to other women.

Lylin

oluwayomi osuntokun's picture

hi

Thanks for your objective observations . I appreciate .

Chinemu's picture

We need You

We truly need a voice like yours to make girls believe that they too can do what a man can do.
Great piece.

Keep your fire burning

oluwayomi osuntokun's picture

Hello

Thank you . I appreciate your kind words .

akaneko's picture

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your family's story with us! Even though your grandfather hesitated to allow your mother to receive education, it's wonderful to hear how his views changed and how that choice provide your mother with the opportunity to learn, grow and make sure that you received the same opportunities. I completely agree with you that we need to continue to encourage girls to become involved in any field of their choice - journalism, science, math, etc. I hope you keep up the great work!

Alison

oluwayomi osuntokun's picture

Dear Alison

Thanks for your comments .

oluwayomi osuntokun's picture

helloo

Thanks for your comments . I appreciate .

Potter's picture

Access for the Girl Child

You have done a very efficient job of identifying constraints that girls face in gaining access to education. I was also impressed with your comments on why girls are oftten not encouraged to enter into the study of the sciences. I applaud your vision to close the gender gap in science education. Keep working! Keep writing! Your voice is crucial!

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