We take it for granted that girls have the same right to education as boys, but for 130 million girls around the world, this simply isn’t true.
This is a bigger problem, and an easier fix, than most of us are aware. Countries that don’t invest in education for girls are twice as likely to experience war, and poverty and disease are vastly more prevalent. If this sounds hyperbolic, note that these claims are backed up by large amounts of evidence and touted by the prestigious Malala Fund, named after Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai.
“But shouldn’t we promote education for everyone, and not just focus on girls?” skeptics might ask.
The fact of the matter is, even in developing nations men are much more likely to be educated and women more likely to be marginalized.
Furthermore, as microfinance organizations have known for years, supporting women is simply a more reliable way to raise the living standards of a family or community as women are more likely to reinvest their successes into their children and society.
Modern economies are also in desperate need of educated women. UNESCO estimates that there will be 40 million vacant jobs in 2020, but too few educated people to fill them. This shortage could easily be filled by investing in education for girls.
It is further true that countries where girls have more educational opportunities are safer and more productive. The Malala Fund provides evidence of this, but all you really need to do is look at the wealthiest countries in the world and note the degree to which women have access to education. For example, in America, women are more likely than men to have a bachelor’s degree.
When women are empowered by an education, they empower their children, their families, and their communities. Nations with a greater emphasis on female education are better places to live, experience less poverty, war, and disease, and are even more environmentally friendly.
What do you think? Shouldn’t we be ensuring women receive equal access both at home and around the world? Let us know in the comments.