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Girls’ Education

My work and my research as well as the research of many international education experts has proven that girls’ education is one of the main drivers of the social and economic advancement of countries.

If girls are not supported to pursue quality education not just at the primary level, but also at the secondary level and the tertiary level, then countries cannot fully advance with only half of their human resources educated and skilled. The higher girls reach in their education the more able they become to contribute to their communities and countries. Girls like boys need to complete primary and secondary education and then chose the most appropriate path for their higher education. In many developing countries, however, the percentage of girls completing secondary education is lower than 25%.

When a high percentage of girls participate in, or ideally complete, secondary school, their life expectations change as does their behavior, and many benefits will accrue to them, their families, and their communities. The outcomes of girls’ secondary education are many, among them:

  1. The percentage of girls who are married of at the ages of 12, 13, or 14, will decrease, and the age at which they marry will be delayed.
  2. Once married, the young women will have a say in how many pregnancies they should have resulting in a decrease in the number of pregnancies.
  3. Educated mothers worldwide with functional and analytic literacy have lower infant and child mortality rates;
  4. Educated mothers with fewer pregnancies also have lower percentages of maternal mortality;
  5. Educated women are empowered to access additional opportunities and are almost always more engaged in the activities of their communities;
  6. Educated women assume more responsibility in the decision process within their households;
  7. Often, educated women are not limited to traditional labor that is often unpaid: they look for, and find, paying jobs or run businesses;
  8. Educated women use their income to lift their families from poverty;
  9. Research on women with more education indicates they have more decision power over their own earnings; and lastly
  10. By completing secondary education, the vulnerability of girls and young women is reduced, as are abuses and gender-based violence, at home and within their societies.

In summary, a girl that completes secondary education is empowered in very practical ways and tends to assert herself and play a positive role in the social and economic decisions of her home, her family, and her community.

KeepingPromise2Keeping the Promise by May Rihani highlights the barriers and challenges that girls face when they decide to enter secondary education, and the five main benefits that accrue to them and their families if and when they enter and complete secondary education. It was published by the Academy for Educational Development in 2006.

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