"Hi, do you go to school?" I asked. "No, I used to go but after I completed my 8th, my parents forced me to drop out," said a 16-year-old girl from a slum in Delhi. "But why?," I retorted. "In our house, girls don't study much because ultimately they have to look after their households, so why waste money." Why are educated women seen as a massive threat to society?
This was just one conversation out of the many which I had while I was doing a research project in the slums of Delhi. Even today, women's education is hidden under the dark abyss of patriarchal norms. The ultimate aim of a woman's life is linked with her biological capabilities and men's desire. The society, which is formed through the building blocks of various institutions like family(the basic institution), school, higher educational institutes, working spaces, etc., has since aeon reproduced regressive thoughts.
Some social reproduction is overt and some covert, hidden in the blankets of modernity. It's just that the pattern of reproduction has become normal to such an extent that it becomes difficult to track it with naked eyes, one needs to go beyond their general perspective to find those loopholes.
While education plays a great role in bringing about a change, many women are devoid of it. The reason for this ostracisation isn't just one. There is an entire gamut of thought processes that are clinging like a monster and adding to the weight of progress. Here I list a few-
Why Educated Women Are Seen As A Threat To Society
Women have always been relegated to be the silent community. Questioning the authority isn't something that is seen as a female's cup of tea. Catechising by women is seen against the gender constructions created and conditioned through lots of efforts. The bombard back attitude comes through learning and education.
If you weren't taught to speak, you would have never been able to converse. In the same way, if you aren't taught to interrogate, you won't be able to do the same. Thus, education gives us a critical lens, especially higher education. It also gives us a platform to know about various thought outlets giving us a plethora of views to ponder upon. This becomes the foremost reason for families to terminate women's education and look at educated women as a threat to society.
The patriarchal society can't see a woman questioning its regressive practices.
Adding to the narrative, not only the old school of thoughts but also general topics of discussions like politics, business, money are tried to be kept out of reach to women's reach. Now women are stepping into all domains, yet if we look around there are many who are still struggling to find their way out. So, let's be the voice for voiceless because there are many whose voices have been dampened in the noise of progress.
Who will take care of their whims and fancies?
'They' refers to those who are leaving no stones unturned to keep up the flag of patriarchy reaching heights. Have you noticed how? Pea-sized things also result in giving enough air to the male-dominated atmosphere. Right from saying that 'you should know how to cook because you are a girl' to 'boys are boys, you can't change them', results in reproducing structured violence in society.
Society fears who would care for the families. Society fears who would satisfy men's needs. Society fears who would remain entwined to the boundaries of the kitchen. Society fears a copious amount of things.
Working Under Women, A Big No For The Male Ego
"Aurton Ke Andar Kam Karne Se Aksar Mardon Ko Lagta Hai Unki Mardangi Kam Ho Jati Hai," said Anuradha Kishore(Dimple Kapadia's character in Amazon original series Tandav).
Many men still do not approve of the idea of working under women. Time and again people in powerful positions have said it outrightly that women's job is to take care of the house, husband, and children. Just Google, you will get plenty of such stuff- from famous actor giving 'stepping outside for work' as a reason for violence against women to bringing forward the argument as to 'why increase marriage age, when women can reproduce at 15'. With such a pathetic set of thoughts, do you think the male-dominated society is prepared enough to take commands from a woman without a tinch of their ego questioning their masculinity?
The fact is that even urban parents start self-doubting their decision to educate a girl once she starts counter-questioning them or begins understanding things surrounding her freedom and individuality. That is when educated women have to hear, "Ladki Ko Padha kar Galat Kia."