Girls’ Education- Barriers and Solutions
Girls’ Education- Barriers and Solutions
Education is globally acknowledged as the most powerful means of empowering girls and women and protecting them from the violation of their human rights. Investing in girls’ and women’s education can transform, and even save, lives—the lives of girls and women, and the lives of their families and communities. It is one of the most effective ways to achieve positive, sustainable change in the world, for everyone.
Girls’ Education- Barriers and Solutions 2013 (VOF Week One Assignment) By Stella Danso Addai Majority of girls in Africa face many challenges with respect to the right and access to education right from the point of enrollment, retention and completion of their education. A little over 6 out of every 10 men, but only 4 out of every 10 women are literate. 59 percent females compared to 17 percent males are said to be involved in trade apprenticeship since they are not encouraged to further their education. According to a World Bank report published in 2012, the Ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education (%) in Ghana was last reported at 96.38 in 2011. The graph below provides a historical data for Ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education (%) in Ghana.
It is unfortunate that most girls’ education is not a priority to many African parents. However, it is well noted that educating girls proves to be the most cost-effective measure a developing country can take to improve its standard of living. Educating girls is very important since they have the potential to impact positively on society due to the dominant role they play. As one Ghanaian politician once said “if you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman you educate a nation”.
In Africa, Ghana to be precise, most girls continue to face challenges that prevent them from getting access to formal education. There are numerous reasons that explain why girls in Ghana particularly those in the Northern regions are mostly illiterates. Some of the common reasons include poverty and burden of cost, sexual harassment, and a cultural mindset that devalues female education.
Other factors such as child marriage and teenage pregnancy also prevent girls from getting access to education. As a result of abject poverty among most parents in Ghana, the Northern community in particular discourages higher career pursuits for women.
Although Ghana’s 1992 Constitution has made it clear that each child has a right to free, compulsory primary education, the funding does not cover most expenses like books, pens, uniforms among others.
Traditional Ghanaian culture as well doesn’t always have a positive view on females who advance into higher educational levels, especially in the rural northern Islamic areas.
The Way Forward
One way to change the negative attitude towards girl child education is through education and awareness creation among traditional and religious leaders, as well as disadvantaged communities regarding the importance of girl child education. This could change their perception that the role of women in the society is limited to being home-makers who are expected to cater for and serve the men at home, and that the rightful place for a woman is the home or kitchen
This strategy should be backed by putting in place an incentive structure or package to support those who are able to send their female children to school.
The Government can also create a fund to support needy families who cannot afford the cost of sending their girls to school. The cost of educating girls should be affordable to all.
Better education on sexual health information, increased access to contraceptives, in order to discourage early marriage and pre-mature pregnancy would also help alleviate this barrier.
Since sexual harassment is reported rampant in the classrooms as well as over sexist bias from teachers, it is suggested that teachers and students should be counseled to be gender-sensitive.
Both government and Non-governmental Organizations should join hands to establish Girls Clubs, to raise the self-esteem of female students and thereby reduce sexual harassment to the barest minimum.
Another means could be the empowerment Camps and prosecuting the perpetrators.
By; STELLA DANSO
Some facts About Improving Women’s Education
- Emphasizing the need for ensuring the continual empowerment of women worldwide, the United Nations made equal access to education for girls a central focus of its Millennium Development Goals. The U.N. has made the elimination of gender disparities in primary and secondary education its third goal. Furthermore, it sought to reconcile the injustice that limited women’s opportunities for both education and, by extension, employment. Since the completion of the Millennium Development Goals, women have constituted 41 percent of paid workers in fields outside of agriculture. This is a tremendous increase from the 1990 rate of 35 percent.
- Educated women are likely to marry at later ages and consequently have fewer children. In fact, by simply providing girls with an extra year of schooling, nations can reduce a woman’s fertility rate by 5 to 10 percent. Limiting the number of individuals present will ensure improved accessibility to resources and better opportunities for all people, particularly in countries struggling with overpopulation, such as Nigeria and China.
- Girls who stay in school longer lower their probability of contracting HIV, thereby adding securing their health and wellbeing. In fact, the Girls Global Education Fund has reported that in Africa, children born to mothers who have not received education have a one in five chance of dying before age 5.
- Improving women’s education promotes continued education for whole families. In sending women to school, they are likely to encourage their children’s educations. This chain reaction illustrates the ways in which educating a girl improves an entire nation’s access to education.
- For each additional year that a girl spends in primary school, her wages increase by up to 20 percent. By continuing with her education through secondary school, her wages increase by 25 percent. Improving education for girls therefore ensures their socioeconomic stability and successes worldwide.
- By providing women and girls access to education, the probability of their involvement in the political process increases. Through education, women are more likely to participate in civic engagement and decision-making. Consequently, this promotes a more representative government. In fact, the average proportion of women in parliaments across the world has doubled over the past 20 years. This is a direct result of the success of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals in reducing the gender disparity in primary and secondary school education.
- In recent years, young women accounted for 59 percent of the total illiterate population. By providing women and girls with an education, illiteracy rates worldwide will inevitably increase, suggesting the overarching trend of global educational success.
- Educational depravation for women and girls has proven costly for the global economy. By refusing to give women and girls education, individual economies suffer as much as a $1 billion loss in revenue. Throughout the world, this constitutes a $92 billion loss each year. This suggests that investing in women’s education is a lucrative decision for all nations to make.
- Girls’ education has a tremendous impact on the environment. According to the Brookings Institution, secondary educational opportunities for women remain the most cost-effective investment against climate change.
- When girls are educated, communities maintain their stability at higher rates and can recover faster from conflict. By providing women and girls with secondary educational opportunities, nations also reduce their risk of war substantially and secure limitations on terrorism and extremism.
Ultimately, girls’ education holds significant implications for the global community. By improving women’s education, the world thrives both socially and economically. It is critical for nations to invest in women’s education in order to guarantee both individual and global success.
– Emily Chazen