Abstract

Literature on girls' education in developing countries mostly focuses on identifying and describing constraints girls encounter in terms of accessing and succeeding in education, and it is thus problem oriented. What is lacking is the other half of the picture, that is, stories and coping strategies of successful female students. With this in mind, the current study attempted to describe some problems of girls' education, but gave emphasis to the personal and social resources girls access and utilize in order to succeed. Qualitative data analysis based on Reinharz's feminist ethnography was used. Some of the constraints identified include; poverty, school distance and cultural practices, such as early marriage and marriage by abduction. Regarding coping, though there are several facilitating factors such as support from parents and teachers, and models/mentors, many of the girls in the study indicated that in the final analysis, the student herself would take responsibility for her success or failure. Her aspiration and faith determines how much work she puts into her education. The more a girl aspires the harder she works, and the more chance she will have to succeed. Hard work when combined with success earns the girls recognition and support both from families and school. These factors, i.e., hard work, success, recognition and support the girls get from others feed into each other increasing the likelihood of girls succeeding in their education. As the findings show there are a lot of constraints that discourage the girls from attending their classes properly and succeeding in their education. However, many of the respondents resisted the pressures from different directions in various ways including; fighting back, ignoring or manipulating. As Reyes put it, "Their lives, however, were empowered through the will not to give up just because things do get a little hard," (1996, 24).

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Additional Information

ISSN
1684-4173
Print ISSN
1027-1775
Pages
pp. 71-97
Launched on MUSE
2004-07-22
Open Access
No
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