Madarasa graduates have less favorable attitude towards women : UNESCO report

26th June 2022 : According to a Worldwide Education Monitoring report published by UNESCO, it was found that madarasa graduates had less positive opinions of women with higher education and working mothers, believed that the primary role of wives was to raise children, believed that God determined the ideal number of children, and expressed the desire for larger families. “Several decades ago gender inequality in education was high in many Muslim-majority countries in Asia. Significant progress has been achieved in increasing access and bridging the gender gap in partnership with non-State faith-based providers. Girls in madarasas and the increase in their enrollment of women helped reduce social constraints on their mobility in conservative rural areas, where madarasas have been a low-cost platform for achieving universal education”, the report said.

“Madarasas may also nullify some of the positive impacts on gender equality by increasing education access. First, their curriculum and textbooks may not be gender-inclusive, instead reinforcing traditional narratives on gender roles, as studies have shown in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Second, their teaching and learning practices such as gender segregation and gender-specific restrictions on social interactions may leave the impression that such gender-unequal practices and social norms are more widely accepted”, it said.

Teachers lack the training to address gender issues and may act as negative models; example – influencing students’ attitudes towards fertility.

“Fourth, more traditional institutions may have progressive role models and restricted environments with limited exposure to the media. Reproduction of traditional gender norms discourages participation in further education and employment. What happens inside faith-based institutions, This has implications for the persistence of patriarchal norms and attitudes in the society”, it said.

“Further analysis suggested that madarasa students, especially from unaccredited institutions, had a less favourable attitude about women and their abilities than their peers in secular schools. Families of teachers in traditional madarasas were found to be significantly larger”, it said.

Editorial Viewpoint

It takes a UNESCO study to state the obvious ! India and Indians have been experiencing the ill-effects of such education on the social, cultural and moral fabric for centuries !