A girl’s income will increase by 25% for every year she stays in school.
Imagine if you were never given the opportunity to go to school? Your brothers got to go, so did your father and uncles and grandfathers before that. But you…you instead have a different path. You stay at home and look after your family, work in the quarry or the fields, collecting food and water. You can’t read a book or write your own name, and chances are you never will.
This is the reality of life for many girls in developing nations.
Imagine your daughter, your niece or your god child being denied education, never learning to read or write…do you think she would be ready to face the world?
Across Africa, 28 million girls between the ages of 6 and 15 are not in school and will most likely never step foot in a classroom.
While learning to read and write is a fundamental human right, statistics from UNESCO show that 38% of African adults (153 million) are illiterate, and two-thirds of these are women.
Why does this matter?
Not only does education pave the way to future employment and economic empowerment, it gives people the skills they need to raise themselves out of poverty and into prosperity.
Educated girls result in educated women, and educated women are better equipped to care for themselves, their children and their communities. Recent reports show that every year a women stays in education, infant morality rates decrease by 5%-10%. Women who stay in education longer then six years are more likely to seek prenatal care, assisted childbirth and postnatal care. Greater female education also leads to productive farming and accounts for over 40% of the decline in malnutrition.
How can we help?
While we all know how vital education is in the battle to reduce global poverty, it’s difficult to see how we as individuals can help, or make a difference. While organisations like UNESCO and the World Bank invest huge amounts of time and money to help change the status quo, there is still a long way to go.
So what can we do at a grass roots level? We may not have the reach of the World Bank, but we can make a difference.
Think global…act local. That’s our top tip.
By being aware of where the products you buy – particularly clothing and accessories – are made and asking questions about the wages and working condition those making them receive, you can make an impact.
By becoming a socially conscious consumer you can help empower disadvantaged women across the globe. Empowered women have the strength and means to start accessing education for themselves and their children.
Let’s all set ourselves a challenge this week – to make one socially conscious choice when shopping. Because small steps make big impacts.