Top 5 Reasons to Educate a Girl

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Three female students sit under a tree outside their school in Liberia. Access for girls education has been prioritized and now 47% of students enrolled are female. (Photo: Liberia, Concern Worldwide)

By educating a girl, the overwhelming benefits extend far beyond the classroom.  The impact of giving a girl in a developing country a quality education can be felt in families, communities, and future generations.  We’ve dedicated August to exploring the theme of “going back to school.”  Yet for millions of girls, going to school is a very distant dream.

For economic, social, and political reasons, stepping foot inside a classroom is out of the question.  However, in this list below, we explore why it’s vital that girls have the opportunity to receive an education.

    1. Reducing Fertility RatesThe World Bank cites that when girls receive an education, they’ll have “fewer and healthier” babies.  In fact, one year of formal education can result in a 10% decrease in fertility.  Why is this? Women who receive an education are better informed about family planning, and are more likely to marry later.
    2. Lower Maternal and Child Mortality Rates – Girls who receive an education are less likely to contract HIV & AIDS, and thus, less likely to pass it onto their children.  The Comparative & International Education Society writes that their children are more likely to be vaccinated, and educated mothers will be better informed about proper nutrition and health practices.  The Girls Global Education Fund reports that when a child is born to a woman in Africa who hasn’t received an education, he or she has a 1 in 5 chance of dying before 5.
    3. Future Educated Generations – An African proverb says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person.  If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.” By sending a girl to school, she is far more likely to ensure that her children also receive an education.  As many claim, investing in a girl’s education is investing in a nation.
    4. Higher WagesThe Girl Effect states that if a girl attends an additional year of primary school, she’ll see her wages increase up to 20%.  Furthermore, if she attends an additional year of secondary school, her wages could increase by 25%!
    5. Investing in the Family – With these additional wages, research shows that women are more likely to invest in their family.  In fact, the Basic Education Coalition claims that women will reserve 90% of their income to better their families.  This economic savings will result in the betterment of not only individual families, but entire communities.

For resources on teaching about the global education crisis, check out our Education Toolkit!