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Three stories about (not) choosing a profession

Suzanna. “They often say diplomas are dowries”.

“We Armenians are a nation learning, we love and appreciate education, it is education that has kept us up to date,” my grandfather always said, and I grew up with the conviction that I will surely get an education, says Suzanne in an interview with WomenNet.am.


She is 31 years old, graduated from Yerevan State Pedagogical University, is a surdo educator by profession, has never worked in her profession, and as she notes she will never work.


– When I was in the 8th grade, the whole family got mixed up, I was looking for a tutor to teach and get into university. I was worried too, because everyone in my class was already practicing. I remember even crying because my classmate had said that all the good lecturers were already busy by September 15th and if I was late I couldn’t find a good lecturer, we still managed to find a good lecturer and I remember that time I was happy and proud only of the thought that now I am practicing like everyone else. I am no less than anybody.


I have never had a great love for learning, just what I had to do after school, no profession to work in, not to sit at home, and eventually all my classmates were practicing. For two years I studied and entered the Pedagogical University. I remember my grandfather’s pride, he boasted: “My granddaughter has a profession that not everyone can do, it is a translator’s job, not an easy job, not everyone can do it.” I never thought about working, then I was studying, because everyone was studying, then I got married. Of course I have a diploma, and they often say, “It’s a dowry,” she laughs. I didn’t study because I loved that profession, or wanted to work in the future, it seems like it’s accepted in Armenian families after graduation, not studying is a shame. I don’t think about working now, I have three kids, a big house, a lot of guests. All this is enough for me.


“The lack of professional skills for girls is due to girls’ early marriages, which prevent them from getting vocational education after school. Thus, 33% of 18-22 year old girls are already married and almost all of them are burdened with family and household chores. For comparison, only 3.5% of boys in the same age group are married. ”


Naira. “I Could Be a Lieutenant Colonel”


Naira is 38 years old, lives in the village and is engaged in farming and cattle breeding. A great lover of reading, books are the main ornament of her living room, in their honorable place in the locker. Naira has always dreamed of getting a higher education, but the situation has settled so that studying has remained a dream for her.


I was excellent at school, I had to have all the lessons, there shouldn’t be one lesson that I was asked and I couldn’t answer. I was so confident that I would continue my education, and often said that I would go to college without a lecturer, and I would learn by myself. Everyone believed that I would be accepted, because I was the best in the class.


In those years, the Police Academy was just opened when I learned that girls can be accepted too, I was very excited, I wanted to become a caterpillar, I said I wanted to serve my homeland. I was interested and found out that to get into the Academy, I had to take Armenian language, Armenian history and physical fitness exams. In the 90’s there were no opportunities today, then you had to find yourself to know something. I had obtained a textbook of Armenian history (that book was difficult to obtain in those years, especially in the village), I had already taken the notebooks of my Armenian peasant girl studying at the university, found the necessary standards of physical fitness, and was diligently practicing. But it turned out that I fell in love with a young fellow villager. We had been in relationship for a year, and then it was different, he was just waiting in the street in the morning, we were going to school together, and he was accompanying me home after school.


This kind of news, especially in the village, is not kept secret, neighbors told my grandmother that some guy in our village is going to school with kids on our street, and since I am the eldest daughter, so it turned out that he used to come for me. My grandmother told all this to my grandfather.


It was August, we got engaged. When my classmates came to congratulate me with my teacher, she said that the headmaster said that the engaged girl could not come to school, that was unacceptable. It was a big blow for me, we got married in two months studying at university remained a dream.


My little boy is 12 years old, he recently asked me to take him to the yard of the National Assembly. There I saw a policewoman , she seemed to me to be the embodiment of my dream. I approached and talked to her, it turned out she was my age, had been working in the system for 15 years and was a lieutenant colonel. My throat squeezed with excitement. “My God, I could also be a lieutenant colonel”.


“There is an apparent pattern of male and female stratification in educational settings chosen by women. From primary and secondary education, women focus on traditionally ‘female faculties’, such as pedagogy, health, the arts and service, whereas young men tend to enter the more diverse technical, especially construction, transportation, machine-building and computer engineering fields. ”


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