Support This Website! Shop Here!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Should Women Be Educated?

Among rad-trads, there is a certain level of opposition to female education. Their idea is that women shouldn't go to college, young women should instead get married between the ages of, say, 16 and 21, and start popping out babies. FYI, canon law (Can.  1083 §1.) sets the minimum age for marriage for women at 14, minimum age of marriage for men at 16.

Now, I love babies more than pretty much anyone I know, but preventing women from getting an education will only get you a lot of dead babies (see here or here, for instance).

It is very well-known that the more educated the woman, the less likely her infants are to die (see here, for instance). High education among women greatly decreases infant mortality. Infants get sick, and when they do, you want an educated person there to take care of that baby. An uneducated mother won't have the skills necessary to prevent a baby from falling ill, properly assess a sick baby's needs, nor correctly handle the infant's illness. So, if you want those babies to live, you better educate their mothers: the more, the better.

But, as is also very well-known, educating women has a downside in reference to fertility. Not only does education take time - a woman in the classroom is, by definition, not at home taking care of children - the increased infant survival rate actually decreases family size and female fertility.

You see, when infant mortality is high (as it has been for nearly all of human history), parents have a lot of kids, because they don't know which ones will survive to adulthood. Family size is large, fertility rates are high because there are a lot of dead babies between the ages of one and five. But when infant mortality is low, parents stop having many children because they can be sure the few they have WILL survive to adulthood. They don't need the insurance policy of a large family. So, female education correlates to high infant survival. High infant survival correlates to low female fertility rates.

But therein lies the NEXT problem. All other things being equal, large family size is very well correlated with high numbers of priests and nuns. Small family size correlates to lower vocations to Holy Orders and religious vows. When fertility rates drop, the Catholic Church ends up with fewer priests and nuns. A LOT fewer priests and nuns.

So, the Catholic is caught betwixt and between. We certainly want low infant death rates, but we ALSO certainly want large family size so priestly vocations don't fall off.  From a cultural perspective, nobody knows how to get both.

Many rad-trads don't understand how the correlations work, they just know that female education is somehow interfering with Catholic family life, thus the absurd and useless proposal that women shouldn't pursue an education. Ripping education out of women's hands is NOT a Catholic solution. When a solution is found, it will undoubtedly involve training up people who come from small families up to live as sacrificially as do those from large families.

That's a problem in how to educate parents, not a problem in how to prevent them from being educated. Anyone who advocates uneducated adults is advocating an essentially non-Catholic "solution", a "solution" that actually makes everything much, much worse.


c said...

There is no conflict here if you embrace the principle of subsidiarity. The concept of "educating parents" smacks of state intervention - is that what you want? The problem is cultural, due to a loss of connection with parents and older relatives once we reach adulthood. You blamed this on the education system in Designed to Fail. In the past, grandparents and extended family did not live far away from each other, aka, in sunny Florida, feeling entitled to cruises and "senior living." How do you think large families managed to get by? A great deal of loving and nurturing makes for a good priest. Extended families absorbed some of the burden, so this could happen.

Now, let's look at your average college graduate. The only advantage she has is maturity, since I have never heard of a credit course called The Feeding, Care and Discipline of Children, have you? If anything, today's college grad mom is slavishly over-reliant on her doctor, which seems immature to me, whereas before she would just ask her ma, who had plenty of experience, having raised a large family herself.

College education today is correlated with delayed childbirth, which so frequently depends on contraception, don't you know? College is geared toward extending adolescence, and does absolutely nothing to enhance future responsible parenting. Upon graduation, mothers are expected to pay their loans and "use their degree" by taking jobs after graduation. This obviously necessitates daycare, which is nothing short of avoiding parental responsibility. Do you think for hire daycare providers are really going to give us priests??

c said...

PS: Traditionally, rearing children has been considered an important calling, so even the youngest woman knew she must take motherhood seriously. Enter abortion and today's throw-away children... kids are an embellishment, a lifestyle choice, especially for the well off and educated. They can be farmed out or forgotten in a hot car on a warm day. The so-called rad trads are absolutely headed in the right direction.