does widespread sexual harassment make female only schools an underserved market niche in Africa?

I have read mentions of problems of harassment of female students by male teachers/administrators in various African countries. So, why don’t people just send their daughters to female only high schools? Is establishing such schools complicated by absence of government subsidies that go only to the established male-run schools? Or do people just not like the idea of female teachers over there?

Where is “over there?” With a billion people, 61 countries/territories, and hundreds of languages and ethnicities, Africa is huge and diverse. The challenges of educating Muslim pastoralists in the Sahara are completely different than those found in a South African suburb.

In Cameroon, there were single gender schools, but they were not the norm. I think a lot of it was a matter of resources. School buildings were in short supply. My school had 150 kids in a classroom, and we still often couldn’t find classroom space. Trying to staff a female-only school would have been difficult- not because “they don’t approve of female teachers” but because there just aren’t a lot of women in the community with the education to be a teacher. This is changing, but it’ll take time. Anyway, in a place without a strong tradition of single-sex education, I don’t think the idea would occur to many people. It’s just not really a part of the educational vocabulary.

Anyway, while harassment of young women did in fact occur, this was not the main barriers to education. The biggest problem was economic- there simply weren’t jobs for educated people, male or female. Why waste time and money on school when you are still going to end up a sustenance farmer? The other problem for young women was that small villages didn’t have the resources to support a school, so students- some as young as 10- would have to rent rooms and live on their own in town. Parents were more reluctant to let their young girls live on their own.

It could depend on what you mean by a “market niche”. There could be a great many young women who would much appreciate schooling delivered this way, but a dearth of money either in their hands or the hands of anyone else who wants to pay their way.

well, my question is predicated on stories about people who actually did end up going to some sort of school, regardless of problems that may prevent many others from doing so at all. Not sure about the pastoralists, but maybe it would make good sense in South African suburbs?

Again, the major problem isn’t getting the girls to go to an all-female school, it’s getting the schools built and staffed in the first place.

Well, it would take away one of my female student’s primary goals for attending high school- the chance to meet and marry a teacher. :eek: Teachers got a somewhat reliable salary- one of the few occupations that did- and so the girls would pull out all (and unfortunately, I do mean all) the stops to try to land one.

Anyway, I think in areas where it’s feasible and makes sense, they do have single-sex schools. I think most of the single-sex schools I knew of were in Catholic areas, probably because the Catholic church has a history of single-sex schooling and so culturally it makes sense.

But as for ending harassment…it seems like a big outlay of resources to not really solve the problem. In high-harassment societies, girls and women get harassed everywhere- on the street, in the market, at work…it never stops. Taking rather large steps (like founding a second school when founding the first school was probably hard enough) to end a tiny bit of that doesn’t make a ton of sense. Either then men are going to have to behave themselves and function in society, or women are going to have to learn to grow thick skins, fight back, or find some other coping mechanism…

I think there’s not enough money in these places to fund much of anything.

Which of “these places” are you talking about, here?

Third world countries.

As it happens, there are lots of single-sex schools in the South African suburbs. The teachers in girls’ schools are not exclusively women, though - I suspect that would be unconstitutional employment discrimination.

As in, countries aligned with neither capitalism nor communism?

Do you mean developing countries?