Good morning, friends. Today I wanted to highlight a problem that desperately needs an effective solution and since you all are global problem-solvers, I knew this was the best space to share it! That problem is how many girls don’t have the access to a high-quality education they deserve. I discussed previously why girls aren’t in school, but today I wanted to go deeper into the reasons they should be. This is a revised version of a speech I delivered in public speaking class this week. I thought these three key points deserved to be shared in this space as well, so I adapted them for the bloggy. I hope you feel empowered after this with the knowledge and action-based steps to effectively advocate for girls’ education!
Here we go!
In 2012, a brave young Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for her outspoken criticism against their ban on female education. Malala, who later became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in history, stated,
“I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls.”
According to the Malala Fund, a non-profit Malala created to promote girl’s education, 130 million girls worldwide are not in school.
As I learned more about the lack of access many girls have to a high-quality education, I became determined to not only seize the opportunities I was lucky enough to have but to learn more about why female education is valuable, which is what I’m excited to share with you today.
Girls’ education transforms entire communities through the dignity, security, employment, and stability this fundamental human right provides.
It does this in three keys ways:
- by creating meaningful employment
- fostering security and stability
- promoting the health and safety of communities.
Let’s break those down, shall we?
- Girls’ education creates meaningful employment, breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering communities. According to UNICEF, in Pakistan, working women with high levels of literacy skills earned 95% more than women with weak or no literacy skills. When women are educated, they are often employed and, furthermore, women use this money to then financially empower their neighbors and communities. According to the Global Partnership for Education, educated women are empowered to take a greater economic role in their families and communities, and they tend to reinvest 90% of what they earn into their families. This can lift whole communities, states, and nations out of poverty. According to the Malala Fund, if all girls went to school for 12 years, low and middle-income countries could add $92 billion per year to their economies. Educated girls are often employed girls, who support and empower those around them. In this way, girls’ education promotes economic growth and breaks the cycle of poverty.
- In addition to the meaningful employment, education provides, girls’ education adds to the security and stability of communities, nations, and the world. According to the Central Asia Institute, as women become more educated, they are less likely to support militancy and terrorism than similarly educated men. This is important because when young men and boys are recruited by extremist groups they are required to get their mother’s’ blessings before joining such an organization, or going on a suicide mission. So, girls who are educated, especially those who complete secondary school, grow up to be mothers who are less likely to give their sons permission to pursue violent solutions. Educating girls is therefore crucial to prevent the rise of extremism and promote security and stability.
- Furthermore, educated girls are healthier and safer. According to UNESCO if all girls had a primary education, there would be 14% fewer child marriages and if all girls had a secondary education, there would be two-thirds fewer child marriages. This is significant because, according to Girls Not Brides, girls who marry as children are at a higher risk of maternal mortality, contracting HIV/AIDS, and suffering from domestic violence. Since girls with an education are significantly less likely to get married at an early age and child marriages have harmful implications for young girls, educated girls are healthier and safer. Girls’ education not only promotes knowledge, it also deters many of the risks uneducated girls are subject to.
There is overwhelming evidence for how crucial girls’ education is in international development efforts, in the global fight against extreme poverty, and in creating healthier and more stable communities worldwide. The time is now to invest in girls’ education and through donating, supporting legislation, and volunteering, we all can do our part to put a pencil in every girl’s hand. Together, we can change the world.