There is a well-known quote in Marathi which goes as, ’Mulgi shikli, pragati zali’. Though it loses a bit of its brevity on translation, the essence remains, and it goes as, ‘If a girl is taught/educated, then development is done’. What this basically means is that the education of a girl is equivalent to development, because when taught, a woman does not hoard her knowledge, instead she has an affinity to share it with her peers, her family members, and in the future, with her children. Beyond that, it means that an educated woman will be an asset to society, to the nation, and to her fellow men and women as she brings about change and development for the betterment of everyone. Thus, there should an onus on the education of daughters, especially in an overly patriarchal society like India.
To that end, parents have an important role in furthering the education of their daughters. After all, in India it has oft been said in the past by many that educating girls is futile, since after marriage she will be moving to her husband’s house, that she won’t be there to help her parents, that the money spent on her education could instead be spent elsewhere for the family, that educating boys is important because they will look after the parents in their old age while the daughter will be away with her husband’s family.
However, all of this is harsh on girls, and has been a way by which the patriarchy has often stifled the voice of women. The revolution begun by Jotibaphule continues till this day as women fight for equal rights and education, and it is the role of the parents to love all their children equally, regardless of gender.
In a society where the odds are stacked against the fairer gender, it falls to the parents to make sure that their daughters are best equipped to deal with all that the world has to throw at them, and emerge from the barrage unscathed and victorious. The argument that women won’t care for their parents when they are old while men will is futile, as in the modern age, a lot of women end up caring for their parents well into their old age, while men often move away from home, or to greener pastures, while leaving their parents alone or in old age homes. Such generalizations about women being unhelpful are neither true, nor are they based in fact, instead they have just been another stick with which to beat the female gender and keep them down.
It is the duty of every parent to do the best that they can for their children, to love them with all their heart, and to make sure they are strong and wise enough to deal with the many travails of the world. For parents with female children, it is more so, especially in a society where people think feminism is only a buzzword, and where equal rights are a myth.
To create a better tomorrow, both for their daughters and for the nation, parents have an important role in furthering their education, so that they may learn the skills to take on the myriad of challenges that all spheres of life will be throwing at them.