Friday, October 13, 2006

Gender Equality in Education

Gender equality particularly in education is still considered as a problem in Indonesia. Adam Kamguian at a seminar held by Save the Children in Stockholm on 5 October 2001 said, “Few would deny that education is one of the most important cornerstones of all human society” (“Islam”). Although education is recognized as a cornerstone of human society, many women are still denied their right to education in patriarchal societies such as Indonesia. This view is related to culture and religious doctrine. In my opinion, Indonesian women should get their right in education, such as to continue their study and decide their education in the future.
In traditional gender rules, women only have responsibility to keep house, for example, cooking, cleaning and serve their spouse, so they did not need to get good education. According to the story of interviewee, shehas two sisters and seven brothers. Indeed, she and her sisters have same condition in study. She got married at 13 years old after she graduated from elementary school. Her young sister must married to 18 years old and another sister was luckier, because she can study in high school after that, her parent sent her to learning in Islamic boarding school and she got married at 21 years old. In fact, she wants to continue her study, but her parent had vision that woman just has responsibility to keep house, so she did not need to join school. Nevertheless, all of her brothers could follow study in university and two of them graduated from Middle East (Yemen and Iraq). In contrast, women ability influences their children. Gustavo Angeles et al writes that higher ability women, for example, might be more likely to continue in school, and even in the absence of additional schooling, they would be better able to provide a safe and sanitary environment for their children, which in turn would reduce the probability of their children dying (“The Effects”). In addition, Engendering Development World Bank got result of research in 2001 of 40 countries that level of women’s education could decrease children dying (“Kesejahteraan”). Therefore, when women have high level of education, they can get more information to preserve their children. For example, if mother only graduated from elementary school, possibility that child mortality is more increase than mother graduated from high school.
Many interpreters, who is somebody has knowledge to interpretation Koran and Muhammad’s tradition, said that women have not opportunity to study. This opportunity include to deciding wherever they will study and what major of study they will join. According to a true story of interviewee, he has only one sister and five brothers; also, he is the eldest children in his family. He said that if his family had problem, his parent always asked about his opinion. For example, he and his parents discussed deciding where his sister will continue her study after graduated from elementary school, so his sister never has chance to deciding wherever she will study and what major she would join. Not only in study but also in daily his sister always is took care from her sibling and her parents. Actually, Islam keeps pluralism always, so Islam never prohibits women to not only access in education but also join with their society and Islam support it fully (“Education”). According to Princess Sarvant, “The religion is unequivocal. Islam fully encourages the education and well-being of girls, and the prophet Muhammad took every opportunity to make a favorable comment regarding the status of women (“Education”). In the other words, in Prophet Muhammad’s tradition, he always gave chance to developing in education, for not only men but also women, too. Muhammad said that searching for knowledge was the duty of every believer (“Education”).
In my opinion, all of genders have same right, especially in education. Indeed, women should have good intelligence, if they want their children becoming smart. Women have more time to accompany their children and teaching them. When women did not have capability to give good knowledge their children, of course, their children’s did not get anything from their mother. In addition, women should be aware what they want to do in the future, so they can decide what and where they will study; also, Islam always supports everybody to achieve her/his goal in the study. If many people still look at that Islam never allows women to study, it affects to traditional interpreter view. In fact, they are very exclusively to looking at Islamic doctrine and almost all of them are men. For me, every interpretation is depend on its interpreter, such as what the purpose of interpreter is, what the education background is; also political situation can influence, too. Thus, we cannot receive all of interpretation generally. Indeed, Islam never differs men and women, so all of bodies are equal. The difference between someone and each other is only in her/his adherence for God. In short, right of women should be given education.