The Intersection of Education and Gender Equality
Abdul Rehman Nawaz | Faisalabad, Pakistan
Education is the asset that makes societies pick up pens, and reach the heights in both their economy and development. If we glance on the history of nations, it becomes clear that those who paid heed to the importance of education rose to sky high success and marked their names with golden words in history.
In the Peshawar Army Public School, where a terrorist group massacred innocent students and teachers on December 16th, 2014, the remaining students were bravely told to fight with pens, and not with guns. Their education and literacy, had the power to create a positive change - ensuring that the cowardly actions of the terrorists are never repeated by future generations.
There is still a long way to go, to ensure that children and people all around Pakistan get access to an education and help the country grow in a positive direction in the future. One important step in this process, is ensuring that we give educational access to all genders, and develop the mindset of gender equality. It is the bitter reality of our society that in some places, there are such inaccurate perceptions of gender equality that both religious and patriotic groups have. The ideologies and visions that women somehow should not be educated, are poured into the minds of innocent children. However, they are not in line with the ideologies upon which Pakistan was built at all. In fact, Pakistan's founding father Sir Muhammad Ali Jinnah once said,
“No nation can ever be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with the men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.”
These words show the importance of gender equality, and giving equal opportunities to all women. Women and men are like two wheels making society move forward. If one wheel does not work, or is not given the proper care, it will slow down the progress of that society. Preventing women from getting their education is equivalent to not giving proper care to the second wheel in society. If women are not allowed to get an education, this will negatively impact the whole society as women will not be able to voice their concerns in politics (through voting), nor will they be able to pass down important knowledge to future generations. The benefits of giving women educational opportunities are enormous, and failing to do so results in negative impacts for the whole society.
Educational opportunities need to be given to everyone in a society, because a society without education is like a rainbow dull and drab in colours or a flower without fragrance.
Making uneven, rigid and rough approached,
Even, civilized and refined in approaches,
Education exploring unseen recesses,
Equality aiding in innumerable inventions!
Today, if you see any nation progressing, it is because of the freedom and equality that it gave to all genders. My hope is for all nations to give equal educational opportunities to everyone, and I know that this change has the power to improve the whole world.