The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Women should be educated like men, otherwise, there can be no peace and no progress. If you yoke an unbroken horse with a highly trained one, the carriage will be dashed to pieces, and the occupants’ lives will be endangered. They cannot pull on, they will pull in different directions. The family peace cannot be preserved with such ill-matched life-long companions.
Napoleon was once, asked what the greatest need of France was. He unhesitatingly answered, ‘Mothers’, National progress is impossible without trained and educated mothers. It is well said that if you train a woman, you train a whole family.
Women is called the better half of man. It is a pity that this better half should remain in ignorance. Uneducated and ignorant women are a drag on society. The woman has the same mental gifts as man has; why, then, should she be deprived of the blessings of knowledge? Of course, the duties of both differ. Man’s duties are mostly public, those of woman, domestic, although women are in these days coming to the front in public affairs, also. The education of man or woman should be such as may fit him or her for the duties which he or she will be called upon to perform in the afterlife.
There is a keen controversy going on in Pakistan whether women should receive higher education or not. Orthodox people recognize the value of education for women but are opposed to giving them high education. If women he mentally fit to receive higher education, there seems to be no reason why they should not be allowed to develop their mental faculties to the utmost. To give them only the rudiments of knowledge, while they are eager and quite fit for advanced studies, is to condemn them to a plea of perpetual inferiority which is extremely unjust. All men, also, are not endowed with the same powers. There are dullards among them, too.
In Pakistan, at the present time, considering all circumstance, the ignorance of centuries, the conservative ways of the people, and the religious and social traditions and customs, there is great need of proceeding with great caution in the matter of female education. A wholesale transportation of the Western system is neither desirable nor profitable. A system based on the needs and circumstances of the people should be adopted.
It is a significant sign of the times that people are awakening to the need of educating the girls. Girls’ Schools are being opened everywhere, but still the number of educated women, including literates even, is very, very small, hardly one in a hundred.
Domestic duties and religious instruction should form an important part of the curriculum of Girls’ Schools. Their courses of reading should be different from those for boys. The danger of ‘anglicizing’ them, which has proved so great and real in the case of boys, should be minimized as far as possible. The School atmosphere should be entirely Pakistan.
An educated woman is a real blessing in the home. The early education of children is properly looked after, and the whole management of the household is conducted peacefully and most advantageously. Peace and cleanliness prevail, Domestic happiness, it is no exaggeration to say, depends entirely on the woman, and the best way to secure it is to educate her in her duties. A woman is certainly the better man, as Tennyson says.