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In the Name of God بسم الله

Shia Women Achieving More Than Men?

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  • Advanced Member

Salaam alaikum sisters,

I am new to shiachat and am really enjoying the insights on this forum. I thought I'd post a question to all of you and get your feedback.

I recently spoke to a friend who is pursuing her PhD and we got on the topic of the strides that shia women have made in education and the workforce. More than becoming doctors and lawyers, we are college professors, journalists, and working in government and social policy. While I am extremely thankful and proud to be a part of such a group, I have spoken to many sisters who agree that our brothers unfortunately have not kept up with us. Without meaning any disrespect, there are many brothers out there who do value education and successful careers, but from the communities that I've lived in and observed...our women have much more drive than our men. I am focusing more on the younger/2nd generation who were born and raised in the US/Canada. As our prophet and imams have stressed so highly the importance of education, shouldn't we maintain that level along with our other religious obligations?

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  • Advanced Member

That is another issue - if you are a highly educated women, ideally wouldn't you like to find someone close to if not at the same level of education when it comes time for marriage? These brothers are making our lives really difficult! Haha. Jokes aside though, it's unfortunate that you're almost punished for being educated and successful because some men/families prefer the younger more impressionable type of girl. I guess some of it is also intimidation...

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I am a man, and sometime I think that it just isn't worth it to work the majority of the day getting a good grade in University, then spending 10 hours at work every day for the rest of my life. I hate sitting down studying for so long, and I hate the idea of working for someone else. Maybe most men think the same way. Many of the largest business entrepreneurs dropped out of university, and many did not have degrees.

I am a student at the best university in my country, though, where I had to get a seat after competing with tens of thousands of others, so don't think this is the comment of some random illiterate person who doesn't like studying.

By the way, sisters, maybe it is that you are secretly feeling very happy at the current conditions and thinking along the lines of "Wow we rock! We are outperforming the men! Yahoo!", but you would be wrong, because actually this current system was created by men, the whole of civilization was created by men, there hasn't been one day when men weren't in charge of this world, and the degrees you pursue so diligently and the jobs that you perform so dutifully, and the effort that you give is all an illusion that in the end makes a few men a few million dollars richer and more powerful.

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  • Advanced Member

By the way, sisters, maybe it is that you are secretly feeling very happy at the current conditions and thinking along the lines of "Wow we rock! We are outperforming the men! Yahoo!", but you would be wrong, because actually this current system was created by men, the whole of civilization was created by men, there hasn't been one day when men weren't in charge of this world, and the degrees you pursue so diligently and the jobs that you perform so dutifully, and the effort that you give is all an illusion that in the end makes a few men a few million dollars richer and more powerful.

I see you have missed the tone of my statement. While I (we) do greatly value education and drive I never said we needed to be proud of "outperforming" men. That is an unfortunate consequence of the kind of mentality many brothers have. Watching how hard our parents worked to make it to foreign countries and build lives for their families to be comfortable -- do you think they thought, "oh well, I don't feel like working hard. I'll just drop out of school and hope for the best" Whether or not you value education and have issues with "working for someone" if our community is going to move forward and develop there is no escaping the fact that education, hard work, and motivation is the only way to get there.

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well first thing is you have to define what education is? If education means becoming a dr, engineer, etc then yes women have succeeded in that. But if you want to take the islamic version of education, then ilm is something that brings people closer to Allah (swt) thats the true form of education. And looking at that men have outperform women and its not even close.

Secondly, as a brother said earlier, its not worth it at the end. Work from 8-5 come home, eat with wife and kids and do the wajabats, occasional Dua Kumail and hit the bed. If thats what education gets you then might as well know that we are not the sahabi of Imam (as). We are just fooling ourselves. Even a christian does that work from 8-5, spend time with wife and kids, occasional trip to church.

The point being that is our education worth anything infront of the Imam (as), since the money we earn from working is pretty much being used so our life becomes more "convenient" while people in Somalia are dying of hunger.

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  • Advanced Member

How many communities have you really 'observed'? How many individuals did you know in those communities? How many have you spoken to? How reliable is your method of observation? How many variables have you taken into account (culture/ethnicity, parental background, affluence etc.)?

People love to make these crass generalisations but with very little backing. Perhaps a few studies should be conducted; it is only then that such discussions will be worth entertaining.

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  • Advanced Member

Personally, I don't think education in an institution or gaining ilm are mutually exclusive. Spending your entire life going to school or working and not bettering yourself from a religious standpoint will not make you successful -- but neither will praying 24 hours a day. My career has not stopped me from gaining knowledge about my religion, rather, it has given me the opportunity to educate non muslims about islam, shia beliefs, and misconceptions.

How many communities have you really 'observed'? How many individuals did you know in those communities? How many have you spoken to? How reliable is your method of observation? How many variables have you taken into account (culture/ethnicity, parental background, affluence etc.)?

People love to make these crass generalisations but with very little backing. Perhaps a few studies should be conducted; it is only then that such discussions will be worth entertaining.

Psychopath, I posed a question, what I hear from other people, and my opinion. I think calling that a crass generalization is somewhat unfair, as I posted for purposes of discussion. I absolutely agree that external factors play a role, however, I still think its unfortunate that the value of education has gone down (if that is in fact the case).

Oh and for the record, the sister completing her PhD is focusing her case studies and field work on the very issue of education amongst shia communities across the country, with an emphasis on females.

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My assumption/ :

Maybe because guys have more pressure other then look beautiful, ie Finish whatever education, get a good job, save up loads, then maybe find a woman who is willing to marry them for what they have, then take care of that family until they die. Some guys have to look after their old and new families.

Just an example : finish uni, lucky to find a job, NOW SAVE $$$$$$ just so that they can get a house and pay for marriage. See the difference.

Yes women have it hard too but for most women they KNOW they may not have to work for life.

But it is good that both sexes are educating them selves, but also education should not be seen as a percentile of being superior. Paper grades mean nothing if the whole objective is to FEEL that something has been achieved, many conduct self study and self education is ever lasting.

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  • Advanced Member

Psychopath, I posed a question, what I hear from other people, and my opinion. I think calling that a crass generalization is somewhat unfair, as I posted for purposes of discussion. I absolutely agree that external factors play a role, however, I still think its unfortunate that the value of education has gone down (if that is in fact the case).

I took no issue with the question you posed, which was:

As our prophet and imams have stressed so highly the importance of education, shouldn't we maintain that level along with our other religious obligations?

My issue was with this:

I have spoken to many sisters who agree that our brothers unfortunately have not kept up with us. Without meaning any disrespect, there are many brothers out there who do value education and successful careers, but from the communities that I've lived in and observed...our women have much more drive than our men.

Speaking to many sisters really means nothing in this context, and you are talking about your own 'observations'. I was questioning the validity of your assertion (which I suspect is mainly hogwash). Let us avoid being disingenuous.

Oh and for the record, the sister completing her PhD is focusing her case studies and field work on the very issue of education amongst shia communities across the country, with an emphasis on females.

If the emphasis is on females, it says nothing for this particular issue unless there is a reliable collection of data outlining the difference in educational standards between men and women (a variety of different factors and variables should also be assessed), tests of statistical significance would need to be performed. This would all precede a number of questions which would arise from the study itself, from which other studies would have to be conducted.

I have seen such threads - not on this issue only, but many others too - and all of them are based on very dubious assumptions. The lack of any real facts, figures, documents generally renders threads such as these as moot, but they seem to ignite a blaze of debate amongst the members - all grounded on assumptions which lack any real foundation.

Edited by Psychopath
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  • Advanced Member

It's said, the guys in our community don't, on average, get as educated. They come up with all kinds of excuses to be lazy-- money is evil, Islamic knowledge is mutually exclusive with knowledge of the sciences, etc. They don't realize that education can open soo many doors! In fact, it would help Islam-- with money (which, there's nothing wrong with) and education, we can help out those Somalian orphans dying of hunger. Certain types of education allow you to take jobs with fewer hours, giving you more time to be at home with the children, or to be at the masjid reading Dua Kumail.

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My assumption/ :

Maybe because guys have more pressure other then look beautiful, ie Finish whatever education, get a good job, save up loads, then maybe find a woman who is willing to marry them for what they have, then take care of that family until they die. Some guys have to look after their old and new families.

Just an example : finish uni, lucky to find a job, NOW SAVE $$$$$$ just so that they can get a house and pay for marriage. See the difference.

Yes women have it hard too but for most women they KNOW they may not have to work for life.

But it is good that both sexes are educating them selves, but also education should not be seen as a percentile of being superior. Paper grades mean nothing if the whole objective is to FEEL that something has been achieved, many conduct self study and self education is ever lasting.

I could see where it would be more difficult for some men from eastern cultures to complete higher education and support their family at the same time...especially the oldest son. It is a shame really that sometimes the extended family isn't willing to make sacrifices for a few years because it would benefit all of them in the long run. I knew a Chinese family...of course not muslim, the oldest boy wanted to continue schooling but couldn't because he had to work full time and overtime to support his family who was treating him like an ATM.

Edited by ImAli
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  • Veteran Member

Um, you should consider the professions women are enrolling into, men are still dominating when it comes to hard sciences and top level business positions. Stop chasing that secretary job with your 4.0 history/english major. Stay at home, attend to the family and spare your husband the burden of having to pay down your ridiculous school debt that got you nowhere. All offense intended.

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  • Advanced Member

Um, you should consider the professions women are enrolling into, men are still dominating when it comes to hard sciences and top level business positions. Stop chasing that secretary job with your 4.0 history/english major. Stay at home, attend to the family and spare your husband the burden of having to pay down your ridiculous school debt that got you nowhere. All offense intended.

lol wow.

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Listen ladies, anyone can get a phd in english or history, or biology. Its not like the community is busting out nfemale neurosurgeons everyday. Dont get ur panties in a bunch and just be quiet. If the husband is providing for his family then alhamdulilah, if he isnt that that should be an issue, not whther he has a phD or not.

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Um, you should consider the professions women are enrolling into, men are still dominating when it comes to hard sciences and top level business positions. Stop chasing that secretary job with your 4.0 history/english major. Stay at home, attend to the family and spare your husband the burden of having to pay down your ridiculous school debt that got you nowhere. All offense intended.

That was really in poor taste as usual. Do you enjoy people speaking to you in such a way? I assume you don't, so why do you insist in belittling others. Rudeness and belittling of others gives the appearance of being unintelligent. FYI not all women leave their husband with debt, there is such a thing as college funds, scholarships, and grants.....as for me all of my student loans were paid off before I married because I worked while I was in school and after.

Edited by ImAli
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Listen ladies, anyone can get a phd in english or history, or biology. Its not like the community is busting out nfemale neurosurgeons everyday. If the husband is providing for his family then alhamdulilah, if he isnt that that should be an issue, not whther he has a phD or not.

that was rude brother the way you said it especially your language. Neurosurgeon now thats my future profession InshAllah. lol not that anyone would want a woman to be messing with their brain literally speaking (they do figuratively anyways). But you did bring a good point, does degree in english, history, literature, arts etc anything to brag about?

An advice to brothers that was given to me by a moulana, be the Best at your profession because all the top spots only belong to momins as they will be able to be just and help the world. Work hard as there are responsibilities on our shoulders from the Imam (as), dont be lazy and definitely dont get soft when you get married or your wife and kids get you all occupied in the world.

Edited by Awaiting_for_the12th
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lol why are the internet male noobs so angry?, it clearly shows frustration that you guys cannot have your way. Must be due to loads of rejection. Its life deal with it like we all do.

Actually doing degrees in history,arts,literature etc can also land to very high end jobs and are important in many fields.

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lol why are the internet male noobs so angry?, it clearly shows frustration that you guys cannot have your way. Must be due to loads of rejection. Its life deal with it like we all do.

Actually doing degrees in history,arts,literature etc can also land to very high end jobs and are important in many fields.

that must be it, so glad you explained our frustration and for some reason i thought most guys here are frustrated due to their weak connection with Imam. Now i know why i am angry thanks Dr. Monad. Can i see your M.D.?

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lol why are the internet male noobs so angry?, it clearly shows frustration that you guys cannot have your way. Must be due to loads of rejection. Its life deal with it like we all do.

Actually doing degrees in history,arts,literature etc can also land to very high end jobs and are important in many fields.

I agree with the OP insofar as I value education - and the humanities are very important, not that they are either male or female oriented anyway. I do take issue with the bolded part of your comment. That is nonsense. It is simply that claims that women are more educated than men in the Shia community or that men seem to lack the 'drive' for education which women possess are not made from anything more than limited, confined, non-genuine 'observations' and until such can be demonstrated, these are nothing more than baseless and gross generalisations. With that said, I'm never on the side which argues that education is unimportant or that women are in any way inferior to men in academic ability or the circles of higher education.

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well first thing is you have to define what education is? If education means becoming a dr, engineer, etc then yes women have succeeded in that. But if you want to take the islamic version of education, then ilm is something that brings people closer to Allah (swt) thats the true form of education. And looking at that men have outperform women and its not even close.

Secondly, as a brother said earlier, its not worth it at the end. Work from 8-5 come home, eat with wife and kids and do the wajabats, occasional Dua Kumail and hit the bed. If thats what education gets you then might as well know that we are not the sahabi of Imam (as). We are just fooling ourselves. Even a christian does that work from 8-5, spend time with wife and kids, occasional trip to church.

The point being that is our education worth anything infront of the Imam (as), since the money we earn from working is pretty much being used so our life becomes more "convenient" while people in Somalia are dying of hunger.

Couldn't have said it much better then you.

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  • 8 months later...
  • Advanced Member

Ok sisters. you have this great education, what are you doing with it for the Shia? If you answer plenty, Alhumdullah, but otherwise, what is the purpose of your education? The education system in the west systemically turns out more women graduates than men across all societies. This is true in EU countries, Far East Asia, USA and Canada. The result is the same, educated women complain about a situation that if they did their research, they would have known produces a highly educated and dissatisfied woman.

Stop complaining and dumb yourself down and get a man. That's what the smart sisters do.

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  • Advanced Member

(salam)

I think it is always a shame when a person does not live up to their potential, and alhamdullilah, always wonderful when they do. Living up to their potential means being the best person they can be in their treatment of others and attaining whatever knowledge they need to be the best they can be at their religion and the type of work or career they use to support themselves and their family. I have known very intelligent people without high level degrees and some with advanced degrees that do not show by their actions that they are intelligent. The two things may or may not correlate. Two people can still have similar outlooks on life and have different levels or types of education.

Doctors and engineers are very honorable professions. At the same time I have seen many people in our community that don't understand the financial or legal system in this country, so that people who can advise on halal financial matters and defend our rights are also important, but we don't see quite as many people going into those lines of work at this time (especially not in accounting and financial planning). Working in the trades, such as electricians, plumbers, and so forth are also honorable lines of work and really helpful to know when working on your own home as well as for earning money. There are so many honorable types of work and alhamdulliah Allah (swt) has given each of us different talents, that I think that the important thing is to do whatever we choose to the benefit of our family and community.

(wasalam)

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Ok sisters. you have this great education, what are you doing with it for the Shia? If you answer plenty, Alhumdullah, but otherwise, what is the purpose of your education? The education system in the west systemically turns out more women graduates than men across all societies. This is true in EU countries, Far East Asia, USA and Canada. The result is the same, educated women complain about a situation that if they did their research, they would have known produces a highly educated and dissatisfied woman.

Stop complaining and dumb yourself down and get a man. That's what the smart sisters do.

What's wrong with you? Women don't need to dumb down in order to get a man.

If a woman need to change any of her good part in order to liked by a man, then she's with stupid.

Sisters, please remember to mark your topics as [sisters only] so you are not constantly barrage by immature responses and anti-woman postings.

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What's wrong with you? Women don't need to dumb down in order to get a man.

If a woman need to change any of her good part in order to liked by a man, then she's with stupid.

Sisters, please remember to mark your topics as [sisters only] so you are not constantly barrage by immature responses and anti-woman postings.

There is nothing immature or anti-woman about my post. First of all, have a sense of humor and secondly read the post carefully. It is foolish to complain about a situation that is obvious from the start. My point is that women are first in education throughout the entire world. To complain about a predictable situation is foolish and unproductive. Also, without examining the reasons why the situation is the way it is is frankly anti-male. The complaint implies some natural superiority and or nobleness in Shia women lacking in Shia males.

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Ok sisters. you have this great education, what are you doing with it for the Shia? If you answer plenty, Alhumdullah, but otherwise, what is the purpose of your education? The education system in the west systemically turns out more women graduates than men across all societies. This is true in EU countries, Far East Asia, USA and Canada. The result is the same, educated women complain about a situation that if they did their research, they would have known produces a highly educated and dissatisfied woman.

Stop complaining and dumb yourself down and get a man. That's what the smart sisters do.

I can tell you the purpose of my education! If anything ever happens to my marriage due to divorce or me becoming a widow I can easily get a job in the health care industry. Then I won't have to just take any man who comes along......I will be able to support myself and my children.....and I wont' have to rely on welfare or hand outs.

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I can tell you the purpose of my education! If anything ever happens to my marriage due to divorce or me becoming a widow I can easily get a job in the health care industry. Then I won't have to just take any man who comes along......I will be able to support myself and my children.....and I wont' have to rely on welfare or hand outs.

The absolute necessity of modern education for females in our times is even more justified in societies/countries where state welfare or hand outs are nonexistent. (In fact, looking at the bigger picture, only a few people in the world have access to state benefits of such kind).

Imagine having to spread your bowl in front of the extended family or friends. Even if those unfortunate one get some support, they loose their self-respect and independence. Not a life worth living.

Whether men go for higher education or not, girls must get complete formal education with employable skills, even if they don't immediately start a 'career'. They can always use their education to stand on their feet if need arises. A Masters or equivalent should be bare minimum.

One of your scenarios (death of the husband) became true in the case of my mother. She had no degrees to rely on and no employable skills to count on, but thanks to my father who left us with enough assets so that we remained independent and self-sufficient throughout our collective family life. But this is an exception. Very few have properties and bank balance to spend without havng an earning hand over a long period of time.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 8 months later...
  • Advanced Member

i have seen women that will post on their profile that they want a highly educated man or sayed only... there are so many undereducated women snatching up the educated brothers that the ones that ARE educated are being over looked. i say so long as you dont rub it in the mans face he shouldnt be passing you up just because you have the education and money. your children would benifit5 grately by having a mom that is educated and your husband will have the benifit of being able to get an education while he praises his wife for being a strong woman. but sadly so many men are looking for young impressionable women that will be turned into baby factories that are stuck at home....

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