A&F NEWS - APR 1, 2018
On this day of celebration, remembrance and reflection, it is important to remind ourselves that our work is not done. While womens' rights have come very far in our world, there is a lot left to be achieved globally and we must continue to fight for equality and empowerment. Today we would like to talk about one area we can focus our efforts in the continued fight for women's rights, the education of young girls everywhere.
Today, more than 130 million girls are denied the fundamental right to attend school and lay a foundation for their lives.
Economic barriers include lack of family funds for school fees and uniforms, as well as prioritizing the more immediate benefits of having girls fetch water or firewood, or work a market stall or a plot of land.
Cultural barriers encompass traditional beliefs that girls should tend the home rather than learn to read and write, should be married off at a young age, and, when resources are slim, should be skipped over so boys can be sent to school instead.
Schools that are farther afield put girls at risk of gender-based violence on their way to and from, while other dangers and discomforts are present at school itself. Disability, pregnancy, childbirth, and violence against women can all be deterrents as well.
The education gap also matters for global warming and women’s health. Women with more years of education have healthier children and actively manage their own reproductive health.
Nobel laureate and girls’ education activist, Malala Yousafzai, has famously said, “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” An enormous body of evidence supports her conviction. For starters, educated girls realize higher wages and greater upward mobility, contributing to economic growth. Their rates of maternal mortality drop, as do mortality rates of their babies. They are less likely to marry as children or against their will. They have lower incidence of HIV/AIDS and malaria. Their agricultural plots are more productive and their families better nourished. They are more empowered at home, at work, and in society.
Education is the most powerful tool available for breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty
interestingly enough, education also helps in the fight against climate change. A 2013 study found that educating girls “is the single most important social and economic factor associated with a reduction in vulnerability to natural disasters.” This decreased vulnerability also extends to their children, families, and the elderly.