“When you educate a man, you educate one man. When you educate a woman, you educate a whole family.” – my grandmother
If only my mother or grandmother had told me this when I was young, I would have known why I needed to go to college. I was raised by others and television, it wasn’t until my daughter was starting school I heard my mother say this quote. To adapt it to the times I say:
“When you educate a wage-earner you educate one person, but when you educate a homemaker you educate a whole family.” – Carolyne Osiris
Women around the world are more often the, homemakers and caregivers, and as such, educating them is invaluable.
First there is the teaching of the children. In my college education class, I learned that part of why I’d had such an advantage in school over my classmates was because I came from college educated parents. My mother has a doctorate in educational psychology, which helped me when I was learned about my sons’ autism. I got so much bad advice in the beginning and I credit the scientific method and psychology basics she taught me with helping me to weed out the fallacies from the facts.
My mother credited her parents with giving her a good foundation. My grandparents were college educated and all of their children, my aunts and uncles benefited from that. They all attended universities and were free to study what they loved. It wasn’t about getting a high paying job. It was about being a well-rounded, learned individual. Despite her degree, my grandmother stayed home and raised those children herself.
As a child, when my mother changed schools and might have fallen behind, my grandmother worked with my mother to get her caught up and my grandfather used the activity of building a beach house to give my mother a lesson in geometry she never forgot.
My oldest uncle showed eccentric tendencies. He insisted that the longest word should go on the longest line on a work sheet. Fortunately his mother was there to help him. She made sure he understood the directions. He became a professor and scientist of nuclear fusion.
My grandmother’s mother had studied nursing, (the only way a woman could get an advanced degree in her day.) It was hugely useful though since she her oldest child was an invalid. My grandfather’s mother went to college and the art classes she took led her to get work making illustrations, which likely helped her family since she was a widow. My grandfather’s father had died when he was a baby.
Which brings us to the second reason why women/ homemakers need to be educated.
They need to get an education because you never know what will happen. Though relying on the charity of other’s is unavoidable at times, the more educated a person is the better their chances of being able to make good decisions, keep their family together and find alternate ways of supporting themselves.
Next, in uncertain times when schools may have to shut down, for natural disasters or terrorist threats, a parent who can keep the kids occupied and entertained by sharing their own knowledge negates the worst of the damage and provides an opportunity to strengthen family ties. Even when schools are open, many are struggling. Good teachers are being overworked and stretched to the limit. The “no child left behind act” decimated special education resources in the United States. An educated, non-working parent is a priceless resource not only to their family, but also to the schools at which they may volunteer.
Most important though is the resource of an educated homemaker who is able to help their community. My grandfather’s grandmother was so beloved and admired for her charitable work in the Washington D.C. community, a booklet biography was made at her death. In it, I and my family are able to read not only of how she was among the first women to attend Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, but more importantly of the many ways she contributed to her community. A volunteer nurse during the Civil war she worked tirelessly to improve the situations of those around her. From orphans and women inmates, suffrage and the sanitary commission, to the establishment of churches, schools and kindergartens, she contributed to all with dedicated devotion. Being well educated helped enable her to do it.