5 Reasons to Invest in Girls’ Education
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”
― Brigham Young
March marks Women’s History Month, a time where we celebrate the achievements of women and the strides we have taken towards equality. While there is much to celebrate, there is also much to be improved. Currently, there are 132 million girls who are out of school and do not have access to an education. Moreover, two thirds of all illiterate adults are women. It’s time we start investing in girls’ education, as the success of young girls and women leads to the success of society.
Here is a list of 5 reasons we should invest in girls’ education:
1. Educating girls improves the lives of future generations: Statistics show that educated women have fewer children than uneducated women, and they invest more resources on these children. Educated women invest 90% of their wealth into their families, more than double that of their male counterparts. Additionally, women who received an education are literate and can therefore make more informed decisions for their families.
2. Educating girls reduces infant and maternal mortality rates: Girls who receive an education are less likely to get pregnant and give birth as teenagers, reducing their risk for complications. They are also more likely to seek out medical help and are better able to articulate their symptoms, helping doctors provide the care necessary to treat both the mother and the child.
3. Educating girls helps prevent child marriages: Compared to girls who have completed secondary education, uneducated girls are six times more likely to end up as a child bride in countries with the highest rates of child marriage. Child marriages are often the result of a lack of options and education. Each year of secondary education a girl attends decreases her chance of ending up in a child marriage by 5%. Investing in girls’ education provides these girls with alternatives, decreasing the rate of child marriages and subsequently teenage pregnancies.
4. Educating girls reduces rates of HIV/AIDS: Worldwide, the HIV/AIDS rate among women is increasing. In Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, young women are twice as likely to have HIV/AIDS than their male counterparts. Education, however, is a social vaccine that can help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. When girls are educated on sexual and reproductive health, they engage in safer sex practices such as using condoms, preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
5. Education empowers women: Girls who received an education have greater agency than those who did not. Their education gives them options in both their work and personal lives. Educated women are less likely to accept domestic abuse and are more likely to have more likely to have decision making power at home.
Education is the key to improving the future of young girls everywhere. This must include sexual and reproductive health education – child marriages, teenage pregnancies, and getting their period are leading factors preventing girls from enrolling and staying in school.
Impact Network works in rural Zambia to implement a wide-range of educational and technological innovations. We aim to holistically address critical issues facing girls and women in Zambia – primarily, a lack of power to make decisions about their own education, health, bodies, and lives. We currently operate in over 40 schools, impacting 6,000 students each year and have impacted 25,000 lives to date. Our schools set girls and boys up for success -- results from a large-scale randomized controlled trial evaluation conducted by American Institutes for Research show that our schools doubled the literacy scores and increased numeracy scores by 55% compared to the control group after just one year.
Our student population is 60% female, and we employ a number of strategies in the classroom to ensure our girls can continue learning: private latrines and handwashing stations for adolescent girls, pad-making workshops, counseling services, financial literacy workshops that specifically target to out-of-school girls and women, a girls’ netball league, and more. Learn more about Impact Girls on our website.
Girls are our future, so let’s start investing.