4 Reasons Why Educating Women Benefits Everyone

Educating Women of All Ages

Educating girls goes beyond just learning the curriculum and completing grade 12. Gaining an education means girls can learn to be safer inside and outside of school, gain confidence to be able to lead healthy and thriving families, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and contribute meaningfully to their societies. It is the reason why the United Nations has strategically included the education of women as a factor contributing to sustainable development. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #4 aims to give quality education for all.   

UNESCO estimates that 132 million girls are out of school. In countries affected by poverty and conflict, girls are more than twice as likely not to attend school. In many other countries, girls in elementary school may not reach secondary school or graduate. 

With millions of girls not getting an education, that has significant implications on other aspects of daily life, such as economic development, health, and well-being of families. 

Here are some reasons why educating women is a win for everyone:

1. Economic growth

Did you know that when the education rate of girls in a community increases by 1%, the Gross Domestic Product of a country increases by 0.3%? An educated girl is likely to increase her earning potential and improve her community. Educated women can work as entrepreneurs or enter the workforce, bringing home a larger income to support families. 

However, when girls stay at home, they complete 2.5 times more unpaid domestic work than their male counterparts, which keeps them out of the labour market and making a living for themselves. Educated women are women that can improve the lives around them. They are building incomes to support their families and empowering other women to do the same. 

2. It reduces the number of child marriages and pregnancies

It is estimated that due to COVID-19, up to 10 million girls are married before the age of eighteen over the next ten years. That is in addition to the 100 million girls already projected to be child brides. When girls stay at home due to poverty, school absences or reasons such as a pandemic, they are more likely to be picked up to be married off and continue to stay home. These girls will not continue their education and perpetuate the lack of education for their future children. 

Education is one of the most powerful tools to prevent child marriages and adolescent mothers. The longer girls are in school, the longer they are put off being at home and married. This requires an investment in schools to be a safe space for girls to attend.

3. Educated girls contribute to better health outcomes

It has been proven that educated women have improved the health outcomes of not only themselves but their families as well. Women who complete secondary school are more likely to delay giving birth, getting their children vaccinated and giving birth at a healthcare facility rather than at home. 

What’s Stopping Girls from Attending School?

1. COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is a general catastrophe to the global education system. Due to full or partial closures of schools starting in 2020, an estimated 101 million children have fallen below the reading proficiency level. The UN notes that literacy rates have dropped from 54% to 45% worldwide and have wiped out 20 years of gains in education work! Children most affected by this do not have access to remote learning and live in poverty or conflict areas. 

2. Lack of proper facilities and infrastructure

Many areas where girls are likely not able to attend school have poor school conditions. According to the United Nations, only 56% of schools have clean drinking water. That means girls are likely taken out of school to find water in those communities. Electricity is only available in about 33% of schools, and 40% have handwashing facilities. Many schools also lack the infrastructure to allow girls to feel safe at school. These schools have limited or no private washrooms for girls to use, especially when menstruating. This forces women to either be humiliated and go to the bathroom in public areas, or stay at home. Urgent investment is needed to ensure these places are safe spaces for girls to continue to attend school. That is why the Water for Life projects aim to ensure that facilities are available to prevent girls from dropping out of school early.  

3. Poverty

Poverty is one of the most critical factors that determine if a girl can gain an education. Families who cannot afford the costs related to schools, such as tuition, transportation, uniforms, school supplies, and textbooks, may choose to send only some of their children. Often, girls are kept at home to help with household chores and care for younger siblings. Girls who live in remote areas where a school is not nearby or have a disability also face significant challenges going to school and gaining an education. 

4. Violence

Gender-based violence is a major contributing factor to why women in vulnerable communities are not attending schools. Many girls on the way to school, or even at school, succumb to sexual exploitation and harassment. These mental and physical consequences of violence against girls result in many absences and higher drop-out rates. Complications from teen pregnancies hinder girls’ chances at completing their education and contributing to their communities. 

International Day of the Girl is on October 11 this year. In honour of this day, why not contribute to making sure girls go and stay in school? 

Visit Human Concern International’s Giving Back program to see how you can keep girls in school this year.

HCI has been proudly serving the Muslim community for 40 years, and through your generosity and support, our programs are continuously improving the lives of many vulnerable people. Each donation made enables us to further the mission of taking impoverished people from crisis to sustainability.

October 4th, 2021

Human Concern International

Ottawa, Canada

In The Field

Human Concern International’s staff, volunteers, and partners actively take photos of their time and their work in the field with our beneficiaries as they receive food baskets, medical care, warm meals, and more. To see the latest photos from the field, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

In The Field

Get In Touch

For more information on Human Concern International’s work
please contact us on: info@humanconcern.org