Higher education for girls

Montessori school, 1917
Is higher education important for girls? 


No education is ever wasted.

However I have read many blogs that do not support this. One of biggest reasons is the debt that young women accumulate once they finish university (college) and the other reason is “why do young women need a university degree if they become a SAHMs”. 

Firstly, the system of higher education in Australia is very different to the USA. It is cheaper and many parents can afford to pay the cost of their children’s university up front or the student can take out a student loan which they defer paying until they start work.  However they do not start paying the debt until their income reaches a certain level. If they are not in the workforce they are not expected to pay the debt at that time. This makes gaining a higher education degree considerably easier in Australia and for women who choose to remain at home they aren’t faced with paying the debts whilst they aren’t working. 

I come from a family that values higher education and has done for many years. Therefore it isn’t surprising that I fully support higher education for girls. My grandfather (born  1891) understood the importances of higher education long before it became popular for young women to attend university.  As a result, he encouraged his daughters to go off and study at university along with his two sons. My grandfather was no modern feminist, quite the opposite, rather he was a very serious man (an industrial chemist) who dearly loved the Lord and that could be seen in all aspects of his life. His wife (Jane), the young lady in the photo above (born 1891) was a qualified Montessori teacher and even though she gave up teaching when she married my grandfather, she passed on her love of learning to her sons and daughters and they in turn have passed that love of knowledge to my generation.

There are many options for both men and women when it comes to higher education. Your daughter may be interested in nursing, teaching, accountancy, music, law, languages, history. All of these are useful in everyday life and if necessary can be used to run a small business from home.

Education does not need to be seen as a way of obtaining a high powered career, but rather a way to extending our knowledge (in a particular field e.g. nursing or teaching) and growing our love of learning. Why should a woman who is planning to stay at home be deny that learning. She will one day have children and teach those children. We need educated mothers so we have educated children. 

For those women who marry late in life or never marry, such as my aunt, a university degree can be very useful. My aunt worked for many years as a physiotherapist and university lecturer thanks to her higher education. My great-aunt (born 1888) had a Masters of Arts and lectured at the university and tutored students (she never married). I know many disagree with this, but a woman widowed does need to be able to support herself and her family if her husband doesn’t have a large enough superannuation fund or doesn’t wish to rely on welfare. God gives us the gifts and skills we need and we shouldn’t waste them and the answer to prayer maybe a job. 

Some argue that going to university means daughters aren’t learning about domestic homemaking. I would argue that this is a skill that should be taught continuously from a early age and not as an exclusive lesson on its own. These are life skills and by the time a young woman or man reaches their late teens they should have a solid understand of domestic duties. My mother never taught me domestic training as a lesson - I learnt working beside her as I grew up, so did my brothers. When we all left home, running a household was second nature. 

The other argument is the issue of allowing young women to “mix” with worldly people at university. Yes, quite right, your son or daughter will have to be able to talk to and deal with the pressures of university life and all its temptations (and there is far more today than in the past). We cannot lock up our daughters as prisoners forever, at some stage they will have to mingle with those unlike themselves and fall back on all that you have taught them. Studying via correspondences (Open University in Australia) is one way around this.  

I went to university as did my brothers. Not being a academic student I didn’t start university until I was 20. In fact I studied via correspondences (completing a Degree in Sociology) whilst raising my eldest son. As a baby, he use to lie across my lap as I wrote assignments sitting on the floor at the coffee table (this was before home computers!). I read many assignments out loud to him, perhaps that is why he slept so well.

Whilst higher education is important, it doesn’t need to be a degree, maybe a certificate course or two at a local community college (home economics, community care, older aged nursing, nutrition, community nursing, IT, graphic design, sewing to name a few). These are often far more practical courses and perfect for any young woman who wishes to remain at home once married. They could complete a number of these courses and all would be useful later in life. 

But never look at higher education as a waste of time or money when it comes to your daughters.  They aren’t second-class citizens and remember they are the ones teaching the next generation. 



  1. HECS loans can be very dangerous - they have a similar system in the States and Dan knows a man in the States who used their form of the HECS and he and his wife ended up in such horrible debt that they ended up having to declare bankruptcy in order to be able to continue to live without being on the street.
    Unless a person is very good with their money, and they DO get a good job, the student loan system is very dangerous and I would not encourage anyone I know to use it.

    As for education - I will definitely be encouraging my daughter to study after 'school', but as with her current education, she will only study things from home that can be used in a home situation by working from home - at this point we have no interest in sending her out into the world for either education or work. There are plenty of things you can study from home and plenty of jobs you can do from home, more so now than ever before in many ways - it is a growing industry, especially with the internet and all the opportunities there are of selling online or doing editorial work from home or working remotely from home in many different capacities (as Dan does).
    But yes, learning skills and having further education is very valuable in so many different ways, whether studying the Bible, or home economics, or business skills, or teaching or... anything God-glorifying!
    This is just our opinion, and by writing it, I am not suggesting it's what everyone else should do... It's just where we stand in what we believe the Lord would have us do in raising our children. :)

    1. By the way - I'm still studying myself! :) I love learning new things and studying and broadening my knowledge!

    2. I had a HECS debt and paid it off quite quickly. When our eldest went to college we decided to pay upfront to make sure he didn't have any burden when he completed his two year course, but not everyone can do this. Our scheme only cuts in once working and earning a particular income, this is where it differs from the USA and is a much better scheme. A person who never earns an income never has to pay it back. Anyone on a low income can avoid paying until they earn over the threshold.

      But I can see why some in the US get into so much difficulties, however for some, a university degree is the only option if they want to work in particular fields.

  2. Jo, for me it is really, really simple. Women are a child's first teacher. Do we really want ignorant women teaching our children? I have several friends whose preschool children have Mensa intelligences. Good thing they are smart educated women!

    1. We should encourage our girls to stretch themselves, not just domestically but academically. Have a lovely week.

  3. Dear Jo, Not sure if this is a Band Wagon or not, I do not enjoy siding as every situation is different. But, all the blogs I love and follow are all for being wise and educated. They may not all have degrees, but they are all still learning.I believe God knows all things, and He alone will take care of each of us. I believe the Library alone will give us more knowledge then we will ever use. What I believe we have lost in this world is Godly wisdom. And, we want all women to be wise and able to speak and write well. Our brains are a gift and we should all use them. We are all entitled to our opinions and I respect yours!
    Blessings, Roxy

    1. Thanks Roxy for your kind words.

      I think sadly that so many men and women have lost the skill of "thinking", not sure why but its very sad (along with the ability to read and learn). No, I don't think all women need to go off to university, but if they wish to, I think it is a good idea. But as someone said to me privately on Facebook - perhaps not a doctor or vet as these are long and expensive courses that do need to be used long term to get the value.

      I love my library and use it all the time and I wish more people did. It is a wonderful and free service that offers so much knowledge.

      Have a lovely day:)) Off to have lunch and a quiet read.


  4. I just love your perspective on this. I am a working wife who is continuing my education. I sometimes get the feeling that I am looked at as 'less Christian' than other women (especially in blogging land) so reading your posts (this one and the one about your aunt) are very encouraging. Thank you!

    1. Thankyou Emily - I know the feeling completely in fact I have given up trying to explain the whole working wife thing as its too exhausting after repeating myself over and over again!!

      Education is never wasted and as long as it isn't creating huge debt then go ahead and learn as much as you want and have fun:))

      Blessings to you and yours



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