Female Education in Honduras: The Creation of a Community of Congruence for Women
Cinthia Navin Education Senior Seminar Macalester College Fall 2004
Navin2 Education is the primary method of social progress and reform.
—John Dewey The Educational Situation in Central America It is hardly arguable that in today’s world, the accessibility of a good education is the most important means by which members of society can improve their socioeconomic status and by which democratic principles can flourish. While progress has been made within the last thirty years, in comparison to other Latin American countries, Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama) fairs poorly in its education achievements; and falls even further behind in comparison to high-growth countries elsewhere. The countries of Central America vary in great detail in their complex histories, cultural idiosyncrasies, and widespread poverty. Three of the countries, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua have experienced bloody civil wars, and have undergone a complex peace process. This places the region at a great disadvantage in its ability to progress towards a more modern and democratic existence. There are certain dynamics that exist within a general culture dominated by patriarchy, machismo, personalismo and elitism add to this stalemate of modernization, affecting the educational situation regionally. The Patriarch, which has strong ties to the Catholic Church, has defined for centuries the public and private sphere through traditional gender-roles. The affects that this has had on education, is significant, as the Church is one of the main providers of educational opportunities, especially in rural areas and also for the female population. While there have been situation where the church as been a catalyst in women’s rights, more often than
Navin3 not, it strongly affirms traditional beliefs that woman’s place is in the home—with...