Women and Knowledge

​In the past few decades, the world faced a lot of problems. One of the sensitive problems was about gender. Within the old society in Europe, people seemed to bias to the male. Female was thought as a weak gender who didn’t play any important roles in the society and the only duty that they had was to look after the household chores. Ironically from the female, male were thought as essential people who could go somewhere in order to absorb the knowledge and they always had the high position job. The injustice of the gender in Europe was correlated to the old concepts of Greek philosophy on the inferiority of women.

Citing from Plato, he illustrates that ‘’ In Greek society, women’s status was very low. A woman’s main function was the reproduction of children, especially of sons.’’ This pinpoints that in Greek society, women was really insignificant. From their perspective, all women could do is produce sons. Since Greek culture was spread all across Mediterranean region throughout Roman Empire and then carried on to have the influence over Europe, the perspective of women might be spread as well. Therefore, Europeans also thought that women were worthless; they could only produce the children and they did not deserve to be educated. Another philosopher, Aristotle, also had a negative perception on women. He said that ‘’ The reason why the man dominates in society is his superior intelligence. Only the man is a full human being. The relationship between the male and the female is by nature such that the male is higher, the female lower, that the male rules and the female is ruled.” This demonstrates that in the past, women perceivably treated discriminately because all the people only valued men. They thought that only men were brainy and deserved to call a full human being. Then, how about the women? Didn’t they think that we are also a human being? Because of this bias, women lost the opportunity to absorb knowledge. We could not do anything, we were really defenseless and we were even sold to merchants to become a slave. Due to Greek philosophy, women were treated discriminately men. There was even an old ridiculous concept which said that the women could not study because their brain is too small, so it could not absorb anything and if we try to put everything in our brain, then it will be exploded. In brief, the Greek philosophy as well as the old concept was the reason behind the illiterate women. We lost our chance to become well-rounded just because of those unsuitable concepts.

Unlike in Europe, in Southeast Asia, even though the women were also uneducated, we know the causation of it, we know the roots that restrain the women from become well-informed people. Basically, the reasons behind the high illiteracy rate in Southeast Asia are religious and insecurity.

Mostly the citizens in Southeast Asia are Buddhist. The pagoda, the place in which the monk stay there as the monastery, was not the only place to worship, but it was also the place where everyone could go in order to be educated. Monk was the one who taught children how to write, read and calculate. Monks were also the ones that people worship and gave respect. Considering Buddhist policy, monks have to be separated from women. If they stay close together, both of them will have sin. Therefore, old generation reckoned that if the women go the pagoda every day, then the monks and the female will have to spend a lot of time together; hence, they might possibly develop intimacy or a relationship. So, in order to prohibit the relationship between monks and women, the old generation let only the girls study but if they reach puberty then they could not go to study anymore. Because pagoda was the only place to gain the knowledge, women had no place to learn. Thus, religion was the obstacle that ceased women from getting knowledge.

Safety and security were also major issues that ban the women from becoming sophisticated. As everybody knows in the past there was no police or security guards; therefore, there were a lot of insecure activities. Moreover, the distance from one house to the other’s house was quite far so if something bad happened, people would hardly contact each other. Also, if it happened to the women, they would barely escape from that bad situation since they were weak physically. Rapping and stealing were the crimes that mostly happened. Because women in Southeast Asia were compared as a white paper traditionally, thus if something wrong happened to them then there would be a small dot that could not erase. Metaphorically, the women’s pride would be reduced if something bad occurs to her. So deliberating about the insecurity, parents in the past did not let their children to go to school but instead they just let them stay at home and take care of the household chore.

As aforementioned, we apparently can tell that there were diverse reasons that detained women from getting knowledge. The idea that stated by European toward the idea of not letting women to study is really unreasonable because they didn’t provide any evident for clarify it except stating the old Greek philosophy which is indeed not logical at all. In contrast from Europeans, people in Asia know the root that caused the illiterate women in the past. The main roots were religion and safety. We can sum up that in the past there was a large scale of inequality between female and male in the domain of culture, tradition and old perspective that often led women to illiteracy. However, this issue is considered to be a thing of the past since people aware of the knowledge of gender. Nowadays, women and men are treated equally in all norms of society and culture. Also women are becoming more dynamic and knowledgeable and somehow even beat men in many domains which prove to the men that women can be weak physically but mentally women can be superior to the men. The problem about gender nowadays is not a profound one because everybody acknowledges the female’s role in the society now. Emma Watson declared that ‘’ It is time that we are all see gender in spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals’’.


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