For a large number of girls, getting a good education can be a matter of life or death. For many others it affects their health and that of their families, their rights to equal employment opportunities and pay, and their chance to marry later and to choose when and how many children they have.
“Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process.” —The International Conference on Population and Development ‘Programme of Action’ 1994, paragraph 4.2 (Source: https://www.unfpa.org/gender/empowerment2.htm)
Women and girls are very often denied the right to attend school and of those that do make it through to high school are very seldom offered an opportunity to attend college or university. A lack of literacy and general life skills in women limits the future prospects of their families. Young women are exploited and the economic advancement of their communities is limited.
Women are key members of any family and the positive effects of education can create new opportunities and positive change for all. Education is a starting point for improving the lives of many women and their achievements can have a huge impact on their family now and for future generations.
It is generally believed that access to education to young women, if they are given the opportunity, is a key factor in reducing poverty.
Girls and women who are educated have greater awareness of their rights, and greater confidence and freedom to make decisions that affect their lives, improve their own and their children’s health and chances of survival and boost their prospects. Educated women often marry at an older age and have smaller families. They have a better understanding of knowledge of good healthcare. Empowering themselves with knowledge about their rights and gaining self-confidence also enables them to make informed choices. With greater earning capacity and capability, they have more say in the household and tend to influence decision making in the home.
An educated woman is more likely to ensure that her own children are also enrolled at school so that knowledge and the opportunity for personal improvement grows within the family. They’re also more likely to realise that there are benefits to having a smaller family – such as less mouths to feed, the importance of choice through birth control and being able to attend equally to each child.
“There are 600 million adolescent girls in the developing world. They are an undeniable force for social and economic impact. But only if given the opportunity. Around the world, girls are denied a formal education because of social, economic, legal and political factors. And in being denied an education, society loses one of its greatest and most powerful resources.” (Source: https://malalafund.org/)