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Educated Women Are Worth More Cows

Southern Sudan

Just how many cows is an educated woman worth?

In today’s New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof explains “A Novel Argument for Girls’ Education” that he encountered in Southern Sudan.

When a young man gets married in that country, his parents pay a “bride price” to the family of the woman he marries. The most common price is 100 cows for a woman. But educated women are worth more:

What people here really notice is the market effect of educating a girl. If a girl has a high school education, she may bring her parents 200 cows. Thatโ€™s a huge financial return.

I don’t know whether I should be outraged that women are sold in exchange for cattle, or happy that at least it gets them an education.

Well, if having a high school education makes you worth 200 cows, then my Shadley education should get my parents at least 500 cows. Cows now sell for about $1,000 each, so 500 cows would be worth $500,000. That would give them about a 150 percent profit on their investment in my four years of college. Not bad at all.

Of course, that’s only if I don’t spoil everything by going to medical school instead of becoming a slave in some patriarchal country. I can be silly that way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

  1. April 20, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    That is of course if you are over there.
    Hi Rinth, hope all is going well with your studying and all.
    The truth is there is no limit on the worth of a woman, or for that matter a girl, boy or man. Enjoy your posts but don’t get here that much. I guess as a man maybe I would be worth a minus 500 cows. OW, only high school -200, gonna go cry.

    Stay well and the best to you.

    Bob A.

    • Rinth de Shadley
      April 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm

      Hi, Bob —

      Thanks for your kind words. Don’t put yourself down: a good man is hard to find. And you’re right that the worth of every person is infinite.

      I hope that your life is going well!

  2. April 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Rinth,
    My son and I are hanging in there. My wife is very ill and at this point I am more surprised when I wake her up in the morning that she wakes up than if she didn’t, or that she will just take her last nap on the sofa. My son is Down Syndrome and I don’t think he really understands what is going on. We have been going with this 5+ years now. My daughter helps and comes down when she can. We have a lot of friends, mostly from the local stores we go to and they all like my son Jim and I know when the time comes he will have a lot of moral support. I have come to realize that there are so many good people out there and we never hear of them. No matter how bad we think our problems are others are in the same boat or in a similar boat passing us by. You can send me an e-mail if you wish and I will forward what I had sent my other on-line friends. I know in a previous post you had mentioned your Dad was a physician so he must deal with a lot of this. That being said we are never dealt more than we can deal with.
    Bob A.

    • Rinth de Shadley
      April 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Hi Bob,

      I’m sorry that you are having such a rough time. I didn’t realize that.

      You and your family will be in my prayers.

      • April 21, 2010 at 11:39 am

        Thanks Rinth.
        I find blogging is an outlet as I’m stuck at home caring for her. I have met a lot of good on line friends.
        Bob A.

    • David
      April 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      Bob, I am sorry for your troubles and will add you to my prayers. God does everything for a reason. We may not like it or agree with it, but some day, you will know why. God bless.

  3. David
    April 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    From all sides…imagine the family that is wealthy enough to even pay 100 (or 200 or 500) cows for their son’s bride…If Sudanese wealth is measured in cows, they’re not doing so bad, are they?

    Rinth, they’re just still in the late middle ages. Brides used to have a dowery, this just seems to be a continuation. But it kinda makes you think about how good you have it here, hmmm?

    • Rinth de Shadley
      April 21, 2010 at 6:46 pm

      Hi David —

      I absolutely know how good I have it here! ๐Ÿ™‚

      It’s funny you should mention the middle ages, because my uncle (who is a professor but not at my school) emailed me about the same point: In history, paying for a wife wasn’t that unusual. Even the idea of a “bride price” was common in some places. I’m glad we’re past that.

  4. April 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    David, Rinth,
    Thanks for your kindness.
    You had said you have an interest in Boudica. I have put up 4 clips and when I post the last will let you know.
    Subject line as you scroll down is Queen Boudica with the clip number.
    Bob A.

  5. April 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Loving your blog…I’m a new stalker!

    Thanks for visiting me on my SITS feature day this week.

    • Rinth de Shadley
      April 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      Hi —

      Thank you for the nice comment and for coming by! I’ll see you on SITS. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. April 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Key Lime Blog Design! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Rinth de Shadley
      April 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm

      Hi, Kendra —

      Thanks for coming by, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

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