Because boys have more opportunities for schooling, men around the world typically contribute more to economies than women. But what if educational opportunities were equal between genders? How can women be empowered through education?
Many families in the third world simply can’t afford to send their children to school. The majority of those who can educate a child elect to send a son rather than a daughter. What if girls were afforded the educational opportunities that boys have? What if they were not discriminated against and were assured safety in school? The possibilities and positive outcomes in a world like that are immeasurable.
Just as boys do, girls have an inherent right to education, and girls’ education is a critical lever to achieving other development objectives. Educated women have a smaller chance of marrying early or against their will. Educated women also have lower rates of diseases such as HIV and AIDS. Educated women die less often in childbirth and are more likely to birth healthy children. Perhaps most important, educated women are more likely to send their own children to school.
Equal education is often the key to improving conditions for entire communities. Women who are small business owners are shown to be more responsible with money and use the money they make to invest in their businesses and provide for their families and community members. Educated women have the skills and can recognize the potential of owning their own businesses. A child who isn’t exposed to the idea of having that kind of future often won’t realize it independently.
Any developing country in any part of the world has a single most important investment opportunity: educating girls and women. The effects are vast and important, including increasing economic development, reducing poverty, and improving health.