There appears to be a globally unifying discourse that suggests Muslim communities are not supportive of girls’ education. This paper aims to destabilize such a discourse by inserting the narratives of Muslim parents pursuing girls’ education in Assam’s Nagaon district. By paying attention to the concepts of bhal suwali (good girlhood) and bhal ghor (good family) articulated by parents in my study, this paper connects the performances of certain types of gender practices with the pursuit of class aspirations. It shows that good girlhood works as symbolic capital that helps Muslim parents to culturally authorize their daughters as legitimate actors in the field of education, while legitimizing themselves as good family. This paper draws attention to three practices of respectable femininity through which good girlhoods are enacted in the field of education, namely: negotiating poverty respectably, prioritizing gendered discipline, and merging career aspirations with marital prospects.
- South Asia
- social class