The importance of a university education for women
The university education as compared to the general education in the secondary school stands as a class apart. Whereas the aim of the secondary school education is to give a general knowledge to all, the university education, helps specialization in various faculties. Besides this, of course, there is the life which is lived by the alumni which goes to improve the character and outlook of the life of the student. It was the tradition of great universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard that their dons received not only a degree but also a hallmark of quality.
Till recently university education was the preserve of men folk and to see a woman in the university was strange. But now the universities have opened their doors to women students. There is no department of study where women do not compete with men. Even in faculties like engineering and law which were entirely men’s preserve, have yielded to women. Women have understood the need for higher education and there has been an awakening among them.
It will be worthwhile to study the importance of a university education for women. There are many influences working in favor of women seeking higher education. First and foremost is the political awakening. In all countries women have been enfranchised and so women are entering politics in large numbers. There are women Prime Ministers today. So politics gave incentive to the impetus for women seeking higher education. Politics helped them, in fact, shake off the feminine reserved nature and they came out of the cloistered life.
Further, old customs and traditions that kept women bound to their kitchen and thought that sewing and stitching were their occupations were broken. Mingling with young men in the colleges was no more a hindrance or an anathema in women seeking higher education. Women have begun to seek career and marriage was no more the be-all and end-all of their lives. To be successful in a career, naturally higher education was sought after. Further the value of higher education for women began to get recognition, though slowly.
A university education for women has its own values as it renders them useful citizens, helpful wives and mothers and very often useful neighbors and sometimes good social workers. Since women are equal to men according to any modem constitution, they form the major bulk of the electorate. They, more than their menfolk exercise their franchise wisely and independently and can also occupy seats of importance.
Any day an educated wife and mother is an asset to the family. They may lighten the burden of the husband by taking off his shoulders some of the financial commitments. They may give him good company by discussing intellectual topics and share the finer things of life. Children are the ones that gain really; for, an educated mother looks after the education of her children. Her influence will be really greater than that of an uneducated mother. Even in the matter of running the household she will be found more rational than the uneducated mother.
Yet there is another value which is derived from their university education apart from entering a career in times of need, such as the desertion of the husband, when the woman can stand on her own feet and look after her children.