An Asmat woman who could read was extremely rare, probably 1 per 1000. We can trace the source of this problem to the maturity indicators of female across cultures.
The ratio girl to boy in grade 1 in Bayun school 1:4; grade 2, 1:5; grade 3, 1:7; and grade 4, no girl. The Principal Simon—unlike most of teachers in the interior of Papua, he rarely left Bayun for a long time—tried hard to keep girls at school. At the beginning of the academic years, Simon and the teacher Sisters always chased the missing girls to the village.
“She has had breasts already” was the argument of the girl’s father when Simon asked him why he had not allowed the girl went to school. Of course, that was not the real reason he pulled out his daughter of school. He needed more ‘servant or baby sitter’ at home because his wife might have been too busy with their new baby and younger children.