Special Counsel for Girls
In this day and time, a girl needs an education. She needs the means and skills by which to earn a living should she find herself in a situation where it becomes necessary to do so. [This is code for the case in which she can't fulfill her divine calling as a wife and mother.]
The whole gamut of human endeavor is now open to women. There is not anything that you cannot do if you will set your mind to it.7 I am grateful that women today are afforded the same opportunity to study for science, for the professions, and for every other facet of human knowledge. You are as entitled as are men to the Spirit of Christ, [The fact that he feels the need to point this out should tell you something. Apparently it's not clear otherwise or perhaps it speaks to common attitudes in the church. Still, it's nice that he's trying to counter it.] which enlightens every man and woman who comes into the world (see D&C 84:46).8You can include in the dream of the woman you would like to be a picture of one qualified to serve society and make a significant contribution to the world of which she will be a part.9 Set your priorities in terms of marriage and family [In other words, getting married and having kids is more important.], but also pursue educational programs which will lead to satisfying work and productive employment in case you do not marry [The prophet has already counseled that a wife and mother should stay home, not work.], or to a sense of security and fulfillment in the event you do marry [Again, if you get married you shouldn't pursue a career. In that case your education is a bauble or an insurance policy in case your marriage isn't successful.]. Education will increase your appreciation and refine your talent.
I knew a young couple that had recently graduated from college. The wife was very intelligent and had a masters in accounting while the husband wasn't nearly as smart or accomplished. She surrendered a likely successful career to stay at home and start a family because that is what the church teaches. While that's their choice, it would be refreshing if the church could consider that there might be equally acceptable alternatives such as another Mormon couple where the wife continued to pursue her successful engineering career while her husband sacrificed his job as a public school PE teacher to be a stay at home dad.
Special Counsel for Boys
No boy anxious to please his Heavenly Father would fail to take advantage of educational opportunities.11 But there is a troubling trend taking place. Young men are more likely to drop out of school than young women. Women have earned more bachelor’s degrees than men.
It is plainly evident that young women are exceeding young men in pursuing educational programs. [The implication here is that this is clearly a bad thing. There's no question whether or not you'd find this comment in the previous section if the opposite were true.] And so I say to you young men, rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities. Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own? [This is not the first time he has said this. He's also made the same comment in General Priesthood Meeting where it was met with laughter from the congregated men. Is it too much to ask what would be so bad about that?] We speak of being “equally yoked.” That applies, I think, to the matter of education. [In fact he's saying quite the opposite. He thinks that in education the man should strive to be superior in educational attainment to his wife.]