A healthy world is a balanced world and our world is currently off balance. Supporting girls’ education is key way to bring some much needed equilibrium.
Education perpetuates wellbeing. Women and girls are often the leaders within many villages and homes while the fathers are away; be it temporarily or permanently. When these women are educated, this knowledge trickles down and is instilled in these homes and communities, bringing them strength, wisdom and increasing their chances of survival.
In the words of CAI Co-founder Greg Mortenson, “ to empower societies, reduce poverty, improve basic hygiene and health care, fight high rates of infant and maternal mortality, the answer is to educate girls.”
A few other ways that education for girls betters our world include:
Reducing Child Marriage.
Eduacation can delay the all too common and premature child marriage. On average, for every year a girl stays in school past fifth grade, her marriage is delayed a year. In Afghanistan and many impoverished countries girls are married as early as 6 years old, (35% of Afghan girls are married before the age of 18 and 9% are married before their 15th birthday),which typically results in an end to their schooling. The result is illiterate or barely literate young mothers without the tools needed to build healthy, functional families. Educated girls typically marry later, when they are better able to bear and care for their children.
Reducing Domestic and Sexual Violence.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations. “In poor areas where women have little education and are isolated within their communities, girls and women are often regarded as property or as an economic burden because they cannot earn as much as men, and sometimes they must suffer deliberate neglect or outright harm.” Conversly, when women and girls are educated, they are less likely to be victims of domestic and sexual violence or to tolerate it in their families or communities.
Reduce Militancy Support.
According to Central Asia Institute, young men and boys recruited by extremist groups are required to get their mother’s’ blessings before joining militancy or terrorist organizations, 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.
In addition, CAI notes that, uneducated women are more likely to support militancy and terrorism. As women become more educated, they are less likely to support militancy and terrorism than similarly educated men, according to a University of Maryland School of Public Policy survey.
Increasing socio-economic growth.
According to the The Global Partnership for Education, The power of girls’ education on national economic growth is undeniable: a one percentage point increase in female education raises the average gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.3 percentage points and raises annual GDP growth rates by 0.2 percentage points.
Improved literacy can have a remarkable effect on women’s earnings. As stipulated in the 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, in Pakistan, working women with high levels of literacy skills earned 95% more than women with weak or no literacy skills, whereas the differential was only 33 % among men. 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.
The UN World Food Program states that in subsistence farming communities, educated farmers are more efficient and their farms are more productive, which leads to an increased crop yield and declines in malnutrition.
Educated females channel more of their resources to the health of their children than their male counterparts.
USAID’s Initiative for Hygiene, Sanitation and Nutrition project helped to educate many Afghani mothers, including Fatima Sanawbar, a busy mother of six children. She shared,“ I realized that I should cook and feed my family with all types of foods available in our village,” she said. “I also learned that I should have a proper feeding schedule for my children. Above all, I learned that hygiene is directly linked to the health of my family members, and if we keep our environment clean and wash our hands properly after using the toilet and before cooking the meal and feeding the children, then we would be able to fight against several diseases that affect the growth and health of our children and families.” Educated women “learn what their children need to stay healthy and how to secure necessary support for their children,” including health care, better nutrition and sanitation, according to the book, “What Works In Girls’ Education,” published by the Council on Foreign Affairs.
Increase Population of Educated Children.
Educated women more likely to insist on education for their own children, having experienced the effects and benefits of education first hand. They are especially likely to insist that their own daughters are educated. Their children study as much as two hours more each day than children of illiterate mothers and also stay in school for longer.
Reducing Population Explosion.
Traditional respect for large families, especially sons, is deeply embedded among Afghans. Urbanization has reduced somewhat the economic need for large families, yet the practice remains widespread. 6.6 children are born on average to every Afghan woman. Among many Muslim believers, having a large number of children is even perceived as a religious duty.
“People feel the bigger the family, the more influential you are and the greater the number of children to work and earn an income,” said Dr. Nasrat Rasa, a reproductive health consultant with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Kabul.
Educating women and girls allows potential mothers to understand beyond traditional values, and the effects of population control by and large. Educated women have been shown to have less children and to take better care of them as well. The children of educated women tend to also be educated.
By doing our part to foster any system or opportunity for women and girls to be educated, which is a basic human right, we communally build a scaffolding which enables them to rise up and take their own course within their own communities and thereby changing the world at large.
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