“If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” – African Proverb
Education should not be a privilege, it is the right of every human being.
Living in the 21st Century, education is still an opportunity. There are countries where it is hard for children to attain an education. The lack of education for young girls is more prevalent and this is true for most rural areas or developing countries. According to UNICEF-Education is a powerful tool for breaking the cycle of poverty; supporting child survival, growth, development, and well-being; and closing the gap in social inequality. The data below shows we still have miles to go in the area of girl education in order to minimize social inequality.
Countries With Lowest Literacy Rate Amongst Girls
The top 10 countries where it is most difficult for girls to attain education are South Sudan (15.93%), Central African Republic (17.75%), Nigeria (21.5%), Afghanistan (23.51%), Chad (26.16%), Mali (29.28%), Guinea (30.35%), Burkina Faso (33.03%), Liberia (36.2%), and Ethiopia (36.79%).
Reasons for Low Literacy Rate Amongst Females
Certain overwhelming economic and cultural factors stop young girls in both rural and urban areas from pursuing the same educational aspirations as their male counterparts. Some of the factors that serve as a barrier for women to pursue their education in rural areas are poverty, culture and tradition, child labor, early marriage, violence at school, and more.
- Child Labour
Girls from rural areas who discontinue their education, take part in household chores with their mother or take part in domestic labor to earn a living. They cannot pursue their secondary education or higher education due to poverty. Many girls work as domestic servants or in the agriculture field as early as five years old. Approximately 64 million girls globally are victims of child labor.
- Early Marriage
In some cultures and traditions, early marriage for young girls is seen as an accomplishment and is given a higher priority than completing one’s education. Child marriages can occur anywhere globally. However, it mostly affects developing countries such as the Central African Republic (68%) and Nigeria (76%).
Girls who aren’t educated are more likely to become child brides or slaves. According to UNICEF, approximately 21% of young women are married before their 18th birthday. 650,000,000 million girls and women alive today were married as children. One of the best ways to avoid early marriages of young girls is to educate them. For more information about the percentage of women aged 20 to 24 years who were first married or in union before age 15; percentage of women and percentage of men aged 20 to 24 years who were first married or in union before age 18- read the latest UNICEF data and also the child marriage data published by Unicef
- Violence at School
Gender-based violence in academic institutions is negatively impacting the education of billions of young girls and boys globally according to a report by the Commission on the Status of Women, by the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO, and United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI).
School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) includes sexual abuse, bullying, sexual or verbal harassment, and corporal punishment. Gender-based violence in academic institutions can result in depression, school dropouts, pregnancy, poor performance, low self-esteem, absenteeism, and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. The aforementioned side-effects can prove to be detrimental to the physical, emotional, and educational well-being of a girl.
According to UNGEI, more than 115 million adolescents and children experience some form of sexual, emotional, and/or physical violence every year. SRGBV prevents children, especially young girls, from discontinuing their studies which can ruin their career aspirations and discourage them to further enroll in any academic institution.
- Periods and Puberty
A girl starts her menstrual cycle (periods) once she hits puberty. Periods are a normal part of a female’s body. However, in certain countries, females face period shaming from their community members, family members, or even loved ones. Periods shaming can lead to mistreatment, early marriage, ostracism, health problems, leading to an endangered and marginalized future for women and girls. Lack of sanitary products in academic institutions could also lead to young girls dropping out and being forced to stay at home. In certain developing countries and rural areas, a lack of private toilets for females makes it difficult for young girls to go to school due to a lack of comfort and security.
This is a rising concern in both developed and underdeveloped countries. A survey conducted in Scotland revealed that many girls missed out on school during their monthly menstrual cycle because they couldn’t afford to purchase basic sanitary products. Females from rural areas of Nepal are often forced to stay out of their homes and are forbidden to remain in contact with people, plants, and even animals. This practice can prove to be lethal for a girl’s mental, emotional and physical health.
Side-Effects of Low Literacy Rates Amongst Females
Girls who aren’t educated are likely to become victims of domestic or intimate partner abuse. A woman who is educated is financially stable. And a financially stable woman is financially independent. A financially independent woman is less likely to bear abuse at the hands of her partner, father, or anyone else. With proper education from a young age, children get support and find solutions to manage their life. A financially educated mother will nurture her daughter and teach her to get basic education herself so she can become a financially independent individual and thrive confidently in the ever-changing society.
What Can You Do To Help?
We at Ann Foundation aspire to bring the basic right of education to children and young people across the world because we believe that education creates a better tomorrow for everyone. Our volunteers offer tutorship to students more than 6 times a week. If you wish to help provide educational facilities or necessities to our students, then donate now or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.