The first time Priti held her new uniform, she smelled it. She couldn’t believe she wasn’t going to drop out of school just because she couldn’t afford to pay for a uniform. For Priti, a young girl from rural India, the uniform wasn’t only some piece of clothing to dress properly at school, but the key to her freedom. Unlike her sisters, who married or had babies at a very young age, she could continue her studies and even attend college. Her future definitely looked brighter thanks to an education.
Priti was a lucky girl if we think that there are 120 million girls in the world between the ages of 6 and 15 that don’t attend school, according to UNESCO. This is a major challenge once we stop to consider that one of the Sustainable Development Goals that must be met by 2030 is to provide a free education for everyone on primary and secondary school levels.
“Education is not a privilege. Education is a right. Education is peace. Dear world leaders promise us that you will keep your commitments and invest in our future. Promise that every child will have the right to safe, free and quality primary and secondary education,” Malala asked world leaders at the United Nations.
Priti’s empowering story was shared in an episode of Global GoalsCast, a podcast hosted by Claudia Romo Edelman and Eddie Lush that inspires and empowers listeners to make the world a better place. On each episode, they talk about all of the goals to be achieved under the Sustainable Development Goals.
So what happen when girls are able to attend school? Here are some of the things that change when girls have access to education.
Child marriage reduces by two thirds
More than 700 million girls around the world, mainly in Asian and African countries, are married before turning 18. A research in Bangladesh found that when girls attended math and English classes, life skills and gender training, and were given mobile phone services, they were more likely to understand and pursue new opportunities in life other than marriage at a young age.
Population growth rate decreases
Part of the virtuous circle of girls having access to education results in a decrease in the world’s population growth. As girls develop other interests and acquire more knowledge, they no longer get married at a young age and therefore don’t have babies so soon. This is also tied to health risks, because in some of these communities where girls are forced to marry before 18, their bodies are still not mature enough to produce and safely carry a healthy baby to term. By curtailing their reproductive rights, their opportunities diminish and they and their offspring are likely to live in poor conditions.
Earnings of women would rise
By receiving an education from early childhood, women entering the workforce might be able to obtain higher payrolls, as well as have enough information on how to prevent abuse or exploitation. Unfortunately, many women living in developing countries can only find opportunities in the informal sector, and sometimes they aren’t remunerated for their work. This is why it’s important for girls to acquire useful skills so they can face life head on.
We often take for granted what we have in life, be it a warm bed at night, a delicious breakfast in the morning, or the t-shirt we are wearing today. We often forget that not everyone enjoys the same privileges we do, and amongst those there are thousands of girls that don’t have any access to education and whose voices deserve to be heard by all.
Learn more about the importance of girl’s education in this podcast from Global GoalsCast.
Don’t miss this:
Here’s Why Claudia Romo Edelman Believes You Can Change The World