Women's adult education as a 'Site of Struggle' in marriage in Mozambique

Einarsdottir, Marta (2012) Women's adult education as a 'Site of Struggle' in marriage in Mozambique. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

In this thesis I have adopted a feminist ethnographic approach to explore how women's adult education in Mozambique is influenced by perceptions of their gendered identities and roles as wives and mothers. Adapting narrative analysis I examine the case stories of four women who met resistance by their husbands when they went back to school as adults and one woman who was supported by her husband. I explore how they make meaning of their experiences and position themselves and their husbands in relation to dominant discourses on masculinities and femininities.

I found that in the context of rapid economic and social change, the formal job market offered new opportunities for women, where completing 7th grade was a prerequisite. I argue that education can be seen as a ‘site of struggle’ in marriages where husbands tried to hinder their wives from studying. I found that the dominant femininity entailed being ‘submissive’, ‘cultivating’ and taking care of children and the household. I suggest that some men saw their wives’ education as a threat, fearing they would subsequently leave them. They also seemed to fear that if their wives became educated and employed, this would threaten their masculine position as ‘head of household’ and ‘provider’. Some women resisted dominant discourses and drew on their families for support. At the same time, they seemed to see education as a ‘fall-back’ position in cases where they felt abused by their husbands but unable to leave for lack of external support.

I argue that the needs of women who wish to pursue education beyond adult literacy programmes have been somewhat forgotten and suggest the need to promote women’s adult education as a human right and pay more attention to the gendered constraints many women meet at different levels of education.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Jonathan Clark
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 12:08
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2014 12:08
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/51300
DOI:

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