There was a time where people thought it was not necessary to educate a girl. Now, the modern world has understood that it is essential. However, in some parts of the world, there are many who oppose a girl’s education. They say that the proper place of a girl is the home and it should be kept that way. They say it is a waste of money because they won’t amount to anything. But they are dead wrong because a girl’s education can bring about a silent revolution in society. This is my personal reflection of the importance of a woman’s education in these neglected and often exploited societies.
And I am sure for the lovely ladies that are reading this now they can definitely agree with me when I say this and they know deep down themselves that they can achieve and impact society in any way they want to because of their education ( whatever certification that they have). I also believe that the wonderful gentlemen that so happened to chance upon this writing, do share in the belief that their sisters, friends, girlfriends and future wife and even their daughters in the future can contribute significantly to society and should be educated according to their academic desires and calibre.
Unfortunately, not all of us have this luxury.
In South Sudan, 73 per cent of girls aged 6 to 11 are not in school. 12 % of the teaching staff are females and this unfortunately low numbers do not motivate many of the girls to continue their education by staying enrolled which is necessary to eradicate poverty in their societies. An estimated 130 million girls are not enrolled in a school worldwide and about 15 million girls do not have access to at least a rudimentary primary school education. I don’t know how to tell you how distraught I am to hear that!
Thousands of girls are kept from school due to poverty, early marriage, dangers in travelling to class and having too many chores at home, according to UNICEF. In Mali, 75% of women are not educated and are made to do chores or work in the gold mines. Additionally, an estimated two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people worldwide are female.
Harmful gender norms mean that, in many families, a boy’s education is prioritized over a girl’s and is seen acceptable only for a few years before puberty. In Afghanistan where a third of girls marry before age 18, child marriage forces many girls out of school . However, attitudes towards education for girls are starting to change across these societies – as more parents, especially the mothers, see that sending their daughters to school not only give them a chance to improve their futures but also to boost the family’s fortunes and their own economic empowerment.
Main reasons as to why girls in neglected societies are kept out of school:
- Early marriage and pregnancy
- Child labor which ties in closely with poverty
- The cost of education
- Gender-based violence in school – which are based on social and cultural factors
- Gender norms that places them at a disadvantage as compared to their male counterparts
- Lack of trained and professional female teaching staff
Now, the quality of a country’s education is linked to the resources that the governments invest in it , and unfortunately in these societies , they just don’t.
I think a possible option is to setup a non- profit organization that aims to bring education to girls at their doorsteps in developing societies. If people or organisations could band together to built temporary schools that house hundreds of students free-of-charge, where girls can pursue their education without financial and safety risks that would be life-changing . These initiatives could possibly help these girls graduate high school by helping to cover tuition and boarding costs, as well as offering individual guidance and providing essential resources like uniforms and medicine.
There are initiatives like the Millennium Villages (MVP) that provide textbooks , school materials, sanitary pads (so that they don’t have to skip classes), raise awareness about the importance of a girl’s education as well as offer scholarships. Educate Girls is another organization with similar goals based in India, which collaborates with government schools to develop educational models and access in “educationally backward” regions of the country. They have a vision to provide at least 2.5 million girls with the necessary quality education to be ready for the workforce. Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) is a pan-African nonprofit that is instrumental in allowing access to education more probable to girls and spearhead initiatives to provide training to teaching staff in teachers training colleges in Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania. Despite these wonderful initiatives, the staggering numbers of illiterate girls speak for itself that more needs to be done and that we have just barely scraped the surface.
I believe that these women need to be seamlessly integrated into the social and political fabric of their countries. Children of educated women are less likely to die before their first birthday. Educated women have a greater chance of escaping poverty, leading healthier and fruitful lives, and raises the standard of living for their children, families, and communities. Education reduces child marriages which usually results in an illiterate young mother without sufficient resources to build a healthy, and educated family.
If I have the necessary resources such as labour, knowledge, network and capital, it is my heart’s utmost desire to kick-start a movement like this in my life. However, I think the first step to all of this is to actually acknowledge that there are girls neglected and we ought to change that. I personally feel that the women’s rights movement outside of these societies does not highlight the predicament of girls in these societies and rather it has become something of a rigmarole that devalued the concept of equality that was so promising initially. I am a pessimist so forgive me for that but these again are just my thoughts on the matter. You are free to have your opinions as I lay mine down here.
There are over 60 million girls around the world who share a thirst for education, yet do not have the opportunity to go to school or who have to drop out too soon. I seriously believe we can change that.
Injustice is telling them education is the KEY, while the world continue to change their locks. Let’s put everyone on an equal playing field and allow these girls to unlock their destiny