The Importance of Girl Child Education
More than 31 million girls of school going age are unable to access education around the world. In addition, two-thirds of the world’s population of illiterate people is female (Why Girls 1). These are grim statistics considering the fact that education is paramount in helping people achieve improvement of welfare and development (Orji 1). Furthermore, promoting education parity has been a major goal for the 21st century but it is yet to be convincingly accomplished as access to education continues to be a major point of discrimination against girls and women. Gender equity in access to education and female education are inherent human rights that should be afforded to every girl in the world (Watkins 10). The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of girl child education not only for the girls involved but also for the welfare of the entire nation.
Importance of Girls’ Education
The main argument against the education of girls is that educated girls do not make good partners and child-bearers. Most traditionalists believe that the role of the woman is in the house, giving birth, taking care of her husband and children, and adhering to every rule that her husband creates. Those who opine in this manner believe educating girls is removing them from performing their natural roles, which are being a mother and a wife. They believe that if a girl gets an education, and then a job, she will not prioritize having children and a family. They also contend that educated women are disobedient to their husbands and see themselves better than their male counterparts. This perceived lack of subservience to one’s husband is what makes most traditionalists abhor the notion of educating the girls in their communities.
The traditionalists’ argument lacks merit as many women across the globe have proven that you can be educated, still have, and maintain a family. There are numerous and credible reasons for educating the girls in our societies. The following are some of the major reasons for granting access to education to all the girls around the world.
a). National responsibilities
Women who are educated are at a much better position to help with national responsibilities such as paying taxes and creating employment (Orji 3). Educated women are able to get good paying jobs in both the formal and informal sectors. The government is then able to increase its revenue collection by taxing the salaries of the women who are employed. In addition, women who are educated can also delve into entrepreneurial ventures thereby increasing the taxes the government can collect as well as providing job opportunities for other people. With more women employed or owning their own businesses, the government will have a wider pool to collect taxes from. The additional government revenue can be channeled towards development projects that will benefit the entire nation.
Educated women are also in a better position to make learned decisions on whom to vote for. They are also enabled to hold government positions that will provide them with the opportunity of making informed choices that can benefit the nation and future generations. The presence of educated women in government usually promotes a more effective and representative government that is beneficial to the populace.
b). Contribute to the economy
Education is one of the key eradicators of poverty in any given nation. Educated women are able to acquire good jobs and even start businesses that can help lift their families from abject poverty. Studies have shown that an extra year of schooling for women can increase their future earnings by approximately 15%. With higher incomes, women can invest in their children’s education and improve the quality of life for their family members (Why Girls 9). In addition, the work they do significantly increases the country’s national income and gross domestic product thereby guaranteeing that the country’s economy is thriving.
Orji also asserts that educating the girl child can transform the nation into a knowledge-based economy (4). The higher the number of educated women in a country the bigger the number of skilled people entering the workforce. A skilled workforce can be an integral source of competitive advantage for a nation due to a larger number of technical innovations that lead to economic gains for the nation. Furthermore, educating the girl child leads to higher productivity in the economy as education has been seen to improve the productivity of workers.
c). Better Health and Life Style
There is no denying that education has had a profound impact on female health especially reproductive health. Studies have shown that child mortality drops dramatically with an increase in female education (Why Girls 5). The children of educated mothers are less likely to die before they turn one because their mother knows how to feed them and take care of them. These mothers also take their children for immunizations and provide their kids with better nutrition (Fischetti 1; Watkins 9). Moreover, educated women are less likely to contract HIV/AIDS, which means they are less likely to pass on the deadly disease to their infants.
Madu postulates that an increase in girl education in the country will result in a decrease in maternal mortality (4). Educated women are less likely to have multiple pregnancies, which significantly increases their chances of not dying during pregnancy, childbirth, or childrearing and significantly contributes to the birth of healthy babies. Studies have indicated that if all mothers around the world had a chance to complete primary school then maternal deaths would decrease by a staggering two-thirds (Why Girls 7).
With education, more women are able to train as female nurses and doctors, which positively translate to more professionals available to handle prenatal care, delivery complications, and related emergencies. Maternal mortality decreases because of the increased number of trained health care professionals in the country.
d). Female Empowerment
Educating girls and women leads to female empowerment. Women are in a better position to fight for their inherent rights thereby reducing the cases of discrimination against them in the country. Female empowerment is especially important in the workforce whereby education enables women to fight for equal pay with men in the same office positions. Educated women are also enabled to fight for promotions and leadership positions that were traditionally designated for men.
Furthermore, educating the girls helps women fight against some of the social and cultural ills that have plagued them for several decades. The fight against female genital mutilation has been propelled by making education accessible to girls in the communities where FGM is still practiced.
Educating women also leads to a substantial reduction in early child marriages (Madu 5). Educated women prefer marrying later when they know they are economically stable enough to bear and rear their children. Education empowers women to fight against early marriages even when it is a common practice in their respective communities.
e). Broadening their horizons
The fact that education boosts a girl’s self-esteem cannot be underestimated. Educated girls have higher self-esteems and are usually more ambitious than illiterate girls are. They aim to make a better future for themselves and their offspring by investing further in their education to get promotions and higher paying jobs. They respect their bodies, which in turn assists them in avoiding dangerous habits such as unprotected sex, drugs, and alcohol. Higher self-esteem also pushes these educated girls to clamor for jobs and promotions in male-dominated fields, which results in the breaking of such glass ceilings.
The education of girls should be paramount for any nation because of the all-round benefits that a country can acquire from having a literate female population. Educated girls are better mothers because they know how and when to seek help before, during, and after giving birth. They are also informed on how to cater to theirs and their offspring’s nutritional health when they give birth. The education of women thus leads to lower child and maternal mortality. Educated women also increase the number of skilled workers in the nation leading to technical innovation and higher levels of productivity in the nation. The government is also incentivized to promote female education because educated women increase the number of employed people whose taxes the government can collect as revenue. Furthermore, educating the girl child leads to female empowerment, economic parity, and the inclusion of women in government that ultimately leads to better governance. Female education should be a top priority for every government as it promotes national welfare.
Fischetti, Mark. “Female Education Reduces Infant and Childhood Deaths.” Scientific American (n.d.): n.pag. 7 Jul 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
Madu, Chima, F. “Why We Should Support Girls’ Education.” Voices of Youth. UNICEF. 22 Jun 2013. Web. Accessed 21 Nov 2016.
Orji, Ifeoma. “Importance of Girl Child Education to Nation Building”. Gender Issues. Blogger. 25 Mar. 2011. Web. Accessed 21 Nov 2016.
Watkins, Kevin. “When Learning Saves Lives: Education and Child Mortality.” World Education Blog. Global Education Monitoring. 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
“Why Girls: The Importance of Girls Education”. Inspired Adventures. Inspired Adventures. 25 Sept. 2015. Web. Accessed 21 Nov 2016.