DEMOSO TOWNSHIP, Karenni State — Ethnic Padaung woman Mu Parin, 39, has eight children—three girls and five boys.
In her culture, school is not considered a necessity for women, who are only expected to tend to crops and look after livestock.
Men are encouraged to study, however. Here in Pu Kho village, Mu Parin’s son, La Lon, is 11 and has studied up to fifth grade. He can write and he speaks some Burmese, but his three older sisters can’t read or write, or speak a word of Burmese.
“Our culture only lets women take care of the cows,” Mu Parin told The Irrawaddy. “We give birth to them, but we feel they are not really our children because when they get married, they have to go and stay at their husband’s house. This is why we do not send them to school.”
Since men have to take care of their families, the Padaung believe, they should go to school.
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