Women's education, why is it essential for Haiti's development?
Haiti is a country of traditions with a rich culture.
Like the many Caribbean and Latin American countries, These traditions are passed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter, dad to son. Thanks to this, they have maintained many fantastic traditions like the Rara festival, with its folkloric music and dance for Easter week.
It also has passed down cultural knowledge and biases, good and bad, which starts with their outstanding food, the resilience of their people, and the kind and empathetic heart that Haitians have. But, sexism and patriarchism have prevailed among this knowledge.
Part of the tradition is mothers telling their daughters all about how they need to get married or prepare themselves mentally and physically to find a good husband or be a good housewife and fulfill their "role" in society.
This is not a specific issue of Haiti, but it has prevented the country's progress as they tend to reprimand and put aside women's thoughts and ideas because of it.
Michaella, Martine, and Marclise gave me a good perspective of this by telling some impactful stories from when they were growing up and their thoughts on how education and traditions have changed in these last generations.
Catholic schools, like Lycée Philippe Guerrier des Cayes, their bad environments, and only girls' primary schools were just a few mentions of the worst memories Michaella and her friends had growing up. Oh, you can't forget the frustrating and bossy teachers who treated them like dumb kids.
But, since the last generation, it has been changing for the better, it is a work in progress though, areas like school education are still following ancient school traditions, but nowadays, more and more mothers are telling their daughters about the power within them and encouraging them to pursue higher things in life than just confirming themselves to the marriage and kids lifestyle.
The traditional way is not that appealing anymore, and girls are curious to know how they can make a change in their country by simply being who they are and not depending on any man for support.
Women now have the support of the laws and society's approval (like they ever needed it), so the question pops up often, what else do they need? It still needs a change of mindset, especially in very traditional rooted countries like Haiti. And a shift in mindset comes only through education.
Education is vital for Haiti!
According to SOS education, "80% of schools are private in Haiti. There is a massive gap in the quality of education, as only a minority has access to the more sophisticated and well-equipped private system. School fees are required at both private and public institutions. This means education can be out of reach, especially for the 5.5 million Haitians who live on less than a dollar per day. Consequently, illiteracy plays a vital role in deepening the social and economic divide; illiterate citizens face even steeper challenges in accessing opportunities to help them achieve better conditions for themselves and their children.
And yes, legally, nowadays girls can do the same things as a man can study every career, take equal pay jobs, and follow the professional path, like Martine, being a top of her class in school, graduating from college with honors, and sticking to a job she enjoys to get experience and rotate, after several years, to be a co-founder of her own business.
But the discrimination and the treatment that women receive in many of these "male" positions, according to traditions and culture, is still deep-rooted in society. Being the founder of a business, a doctor, or a mechanical engineer is still a MEN's job for many people there. This mindset has to change.
Slowly and with the help of other countries and fresh mindsets willing to help like modern schools, education programs, and nonprofits, like Womenful Voice, that have entered the country and helped with this change of mindset and harmful traditions in the population.
And hopefully, we will soon be able to see more and more engineers, CEOs, doctors, scientists, or anything a woman decides to do with their own life without being judged or rejected by society.
Help make this mindset change by joining and supporting Womenful Voice for a better environment for women.