Education is very important for every child whether boy or girl. It is sad that some communities still discriminate against the education of the girl child. About 57million children around the world are not going to school, and a greater percentage of them are girls.
For over a decade, education for girls has been identified as one of the best solutions to reversing the relentless trend of poverty and disease devastating large portions of sub-Saharan Africa. Not only does ensuring access to education for girls directly improve the feasibility of SDGs 4 and 5, it also has a positive impact on the other six Goals.
Below are some reasons why we should advocate for education, especially that of the girl child:
1. FUTURE EDUCATED GENERATIONS – An African proverb says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.” By sending a girl to school, she is far more likely to ensure that her children also receive an education. As many claim, investing in a girl’s education is investing in a nation.
2. DECREASE INFANT MORTALITY: Children of educated women are less likely to die before their first birthday. Girls who receive an education are less likely to contact HIV & AIDS, and thus, less likely to pass it onto their children. Primary education alone helps reduce infant mortality significantly, and secondary education helps even more. Some reports say that when a child is born to a woman in Africa who hasn’t received an education, he or she has a 1 in 5 chance of dying before 5.
3. DECREASE MATERNAL MORTALITY: Educated women (with greater knowledge of health care and fewer pregnancies) are less likely to die during pregnancy, childbirth, or during the postpartum period. Increased education of girls also leads to more female health care providers to assist with prenatal medical care, labor and delivery, delivery complications and emergencies, and follow-up care.
4. DECREASE CHILD MARRIAGE: Child marriage – in some cases involving girls as young as 6 or 8 – almost always results in the end of a girl’s schooling. The result is illiterate or barely literate young mothers without adequate tools to build healthy, educated families. On average, for every year a girl stays in school past fifth grade, her marriage is delayed a year. Educated girls typically marry later, when they are better able to bear and care for their children.
5. DECREASE POPULATION EXPLOSION: Educated women tend to have fewer (and healthier) babies. A 2000 study in Brazil found that literate women had an average of 2.5 children while illiterate women had an average of six children, according to UNESCO.
6. INCREASE INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICAL PROCESS: Educated women are more likely to participate in political discussions, meetings, and decision-making, which in turn promotes a more representative, effective government.
7. DECREASE DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Educated girls and women are less likely to be victims of domestic and sexual violence or to tolerate it in their families.
8. DECREASE SUPPORT FOR MILITANCY: As women become more educated, they are less likely to support militancy and terrorism than similarly educated men.
9. IMPROVE SOCIOECONOMIC GROWTH: Educated women have a greater chance of escaping poverty, leading healthier and more productive lives, and raising the standard of living for their children, families, and communities.
These and many more are some of the valuable reasons why we should all support education for girls. For every boy that is educated, every girl should be educated too.