By KRISTIAM HERRERA-CARRASCO, THE NEW YORK TIMES
In developed nations, women are seen living and working everywhere that they would not have been even allowed in the past. No longer stuck to being nurses, teachers, or housewives only, women have struck up positions as senators, CEOs, and even now, the President of the United States could very well be the first woman in history with Hillary Clinton. Yet none of this would be at all possible, as we would know, if women could not have access to education. To those of us who have become accustomed to seeing women alongside men everywhere, the thought of barring them from such significant aspects of society like education seem ludicrous – but this is a very real situation in much of the developing world.
The biggest obstacle to women receiving adequate education or even any at all is likely various nations’ interpretations of religious doctrine. Some countries such as India, Afghanistan, Haiti, Egypt, and Guatemala assume other characteristics of women to be much more pertinent to their development than an education. It is unfortunate that many of these societies have instilled in the women who live in them the idea that they do not need education. Ironically, it may just be the very lack of education for women that could also contribute to the restriction itself. Many of these same societies have poor education in general, and the education that is available could be easily manipulated. Without learning of the multitude of women throughout history who have accomplished tremendous feats, whether in medicine, literature, the military, or elsewhere, students in these usually poorer nations cannot gain a comprehensive and properly informed view regarding women.
One solution may be to invite women from these types of areas to relocate in order to obtain their education. Until their homelands can submit to leaving behind their stifled perspectives, the United Nations could work to improve the lives of these women by hiring volunteer teachers who could help provide some form of education. On an even smaller scale, books could be given to young girls and women in their target language. Hopefully these measures will foster a thirst for knowledge.