In Forging the Ideal Educated Girl, Shenila Khoja-Moolji traces the evolving politics of educational reform and development campaigns in colonial India and Pakistan. She challenges the prevailing common sense associated with calls for women's/girls’ education by arguing that such advocacy is not simply about access to education but, more crucially, is concerned with molding girls into the kinds of subjects needed to advance societal projects such as nation building, modernization, or solidifying a religious identity. Such concerns are often driven by material and cultural struggles for power. Thus, discourses around education for girls and women are sites for the construction not only of gender identity, but also of class, religion, and the nation.
Shenila Khoja-Moolji is a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program. Her work examines the interplay of gender, race, religion, and power in transnational contexts, particularly in relation to Muslim populations.