Invest in Education for Women and Girls
What investing in education for women and girls can do for a country…
Why educate girls?
The answer is obvious: educate girls so they have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, educate girls so they feel empowered to change the status quo, educate girls because it is the right thing to do. And, there is concrete evidence that girls’ education positively impacts a wide range of issues, from poverty alleviation to better maternal and child health.
- Education boosts income growth. Women who have an additional year of schooling can earn between 10% and 20% more on average. Countries also benefit from women actively participating in the workforce. If women were employed at the same level as men, almost every country in the world would experience an increase in gross domestic product.
- Infant mortality rates fall. Children born to educated mothers are 50% more likely to reach their fifth birthday.
- Education is essential to reducing child marriage and adolescent pregnancy. On average, a young girl with seven years of schooling will marry four years later and have 2.2 fewer children than those without schooling.
- Educated mothers are more likely to send their children to school, beginning a cycle of prosperity instead of poverty.
- Education betters maternal health by empowering women to seek health care information and make informed decisions about the health of their families and themselves. Women with higher levels of education are more likely to delay pregnancy until adulthood and space their pregnancies.
But for too many girls around the world, poverty, school fees, chores, early marriage, safety and sanitation combine to prevent girls from achieving their potential. Specifically, in the past five years there have been attacks on girls and their right to education in no less than 15 countries. These barriers do more than deprive young girls of their potential, they contribute to the belief that girls are inferior and less worthy of investment than their brothers.
Current projections show that it will not be until 2086 before all African girls graduate secondary school. In response to the myriad challenges that girls face, Hillary Clinton announced a $600 million effort to enroll girls in secondary school in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southwest Asia during the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. During a time when girls’ education is becoming increasingly dangerous in some areas, as evidenced by Boko Haram’s kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls earlier this year, it is reassuring that these issues receive global attention.
DFID/UK Department for International Development. 2011. Sadia, a teacher in Abbottabad, Pakistan. [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/c7GYYS.*
Arian Zwegers. 2013. Pattadakal, school class. [Photograph.] Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/fZM6Bo.*
*In no way does the licensor of this image endorse SCIWHF, the content of this post, or the use of this image on this website.