#DYK: This is the State of Girls’ Education Worldwide

All over the world millions of girls are denied an education and face major, sometimes insurmountable odds, to be able to learn in schools.

In recent years the most visible activist for girls’ education has been Malala Yousafzai, who was shot as a teenager after she spoke out in favor of girl’s education and against the Taliban. Her voice has never wavered however, and she has continued to advocate for girls’ education after the assassination attempt; as the Encyclopedia Britannica notes, she co-won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on children’s rights in 2014. Malala and other activists at the grassroots, local, national, and international level have already made a positive impact on issues like access and learning conditions for girls all over the world, yet more needs to be done. See the state of girls’ education on a global level below.

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There are multiple benefits that improvements, and ultimately parity, in girls’ education could have worldwide. Multiple governments are working to lessen the education gap, and studies show that doing so can be positive on a national level, in addition to helping individuals, families, and communities. According to an article in Bloomberg, girls’ education can positively impact nationals GDPs, improve public health, and lessen infant and maternal mortality rates, among other national benefits. In other words, the investment in girls’ education is worth it. girlygoingawayparty

There are many spheres in which gender equality is not yet a reality for women all over the world, including equal pay and the small number of women that hold top positions in government, business, and sport. What is crucial to note, is that girls’ education is part of the foundation for girls to have more opportunities as they grow older and become women. How can increasing numbers of women enter the labor force and rise through the ranks, shattering glass ceilings, when they are at an educational disadvantage? When formal education is considered an asset internationally, how can women without a formal education compete?

Education is a fundamental right, and is recognized as such by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in Article 26 that:

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Girls’ education matters, and when half of the world is subject to discrimination in education, inequality will always be an issue.

Main image from huffingtonpost.com. Graphics by Mariela S.M. via Canva.