Updated: Nov 23, 2021
In the world today, we see gendered divisions almost everywhere in society. From clothes to work and even in education.
Education is the means for a child to learn societal norms. There are countless ways in which a school grooms a child and their way of thinking according to the time, place, and environment they are in. One aspect of engraining gendered divisions in students is through the different subjects that they are offered and encouraged to take.
When I went to give my interview in IBA for the social sciences department, I only saw three males over there. The rest were females. The Pakistani mindset is that ‘social sciences’ is a subject females can take only to get a degree so they can be set off to be married to someone who has a ‘real’ degree. The reason behind this mindset is the gender roles that come along with marriage. The male is supposed to be the bread earner of the household while the female sits home and takes care of her kids and family. Thus, why should parents of a female invest in a ‘real’ degree when she only has to sit home and look after her family. However, a degree is important to get good ‘Rishtas’. Let’s start by the correction of this mindset.
First, social science is a broad field that consists of many smaller and equally important groups of subjects that can be used to build a professional career. Second, the males do not necessarily have to work alone and the females do not necessarily have to take care of households alone. They both can work as a team in both arenas. Third, social science is not a ‘lighter’ or easier field just because it has the word ‘social’ attached to it. Both males and females are perfectly capable of completing a degree in either science or social science. Hard work is required in both fields, although in different ways.
Education systems need to create an encouraging atmosphere for both males and females in both fields of science and social science and work towards erasing the mindset of many Pakistanis that social sciences is a ‘lighter’ field and should be reserved for females.
-Aimen Imran Jafri