The Educated Housewife

A recent article on the wonderful feminist blog Jezebel asked the question: Why aren’t educated Middle-Eastern women joining the workforce?  Apparently in two thirds of Middle Eastern countries there are more women that go to university than men.  There are parallels in South Asian culture even amongst British Asians.

One University professor in the US who was questioned about this disparity commented that Middle Eastern women simply went to university to fill time and find a better husband.  This seems incredibly harsh but I feel there is a lot of truth in the observation.

Being an educated woman from a middle class family does propell you to a different range of men to marry and I believe having a education in our culture is simply an addition to the other ‘values’ an ideal wife should have.  Further education can very often be regarded a holding pattern for women waiting for the right time to land into marriage: the most famous fashion college in India, NIFT, was considered as such for decades.  Perhaps the influence comes from our mothers and our upbringing?

My female cousins and my sister and I all had a private school education and all of us went to university.  However, there is a direct correlation between those of us that had working mothers and now in turn have successful careers and those that had stay-at-home mums and who in turn became educated housewives.

Bubbly

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3 Comments to “The Educated Housewife”

  1. A friend of mine who has a daughter in private school asked why all the Asian mum’s at the school didn’t work. They are all well educated but stay at home rather than work.

    You may be right in our parenting role models but also, there is a culture among our peers for women to stay at home if they can. The men go out and bread win and the women raise the children.

    We have a distant relative whose husband is a banker. She is an educated housewife who never sees her husband, just the bank balance and even goes on holiday on her own with the kids.

  2. I’d be interested to know what proportion of upper middle class white women go to university and then fnd a suitable husband and never work. My university was full of such women – at least half of the women I know from said university do not work now, and if they do, it is seen as a hobby which they will give up once they have children.

    It is easy to pick on Asians and Middle Eastern women because people fill in ethnicity forms, but if you are white, that’s a pretty big pool of countries to choose from.

    Saying that, the other half of these women do have successful careers and are pursuing their (career) dreams, but I can’t help feeling (and knowing in some cases!) that some of them are only doing so because it’s pretty much impossible to live in London on a single salary… given the choice, they would also choose to stay at home.

  3. “I’d be interested to know what proportion of upper middle class white women go to university and then fnd a suitable husband and never work. My university was full of such women – at least half of the women I know from said university do not work now, and if they do, it is seen as a hobby which they will give up once they have children.”
    White women who pursue advanced education, generally pursue careers in their chosen fields, UNTIL they decide to have children (relatively late, thirties, if not forties!) and then have the luxury to stay at home to look after their own children, because their husbands are typicaly even more qualified and succesful than they are. You must remember that women in the West have been told for decades that ‘having it all’ (a succesful career AND family life) is something worth pursuing, but it is proving, not only economically unsustainable (middle class women in the US hardly earn enough for something left over after paying for childcare), but not good for children, or family life (delinquency, divorce). This trend seems to be reversing, with privileged women the first being able to ‘chose’ to stay at home. The culture of women staying at home to look after their children is a GOOD thing – The West is realizing now that it was a mistake to encourage woment to do otherwise.
    Anyway, I was thinking today, I am also an educated housewife and get to teach my children things that they would not be getting from a pre-school or daycare teacher, who is LESS educated than I am. A lot of women pursue education in order to earn money, not realizing that their education is better invested in their own offspring.

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