A sense of excitement hangs in the air as new pencils are purchased and backpacks selected… It’s back to school season here in the States, but for millions of children across the world education is not a given or even an option — especially if you’re a girl. That’s a situation we need to change. Here’s why:
1. Education can improve a girl’s health — and her children’s health, too
USAID found that girls with a basic education are three times less likely to contract HIV, and are generally more aware of sexually transmitted disease prevention and safe sex. It also found that the children of educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of five.
2. A girl who is educated tends to delay marriage and have a smaller family
According to UNFPA, one in every three girls in developing countries is married before the age of 18. But did you know that when a girl receives seven or more years of education, her wedding date is delayed by an average of four years?
Studies also show that educated women tend to have fewer children and have them later in life, which generally leads to better outcomes for both her and her kids.
3. A girl who is educated has greater earning potential
Educated women are more likely to work and own their own businesses, and they generally earn higher incomes throughout their lives. According to UNESCO, a single year of primary education can increase a girl’s wages later in life by up to 20%.
Studies also show that when women have more money, they tend to invest it back into their family. The UN found that increasing the share of household income controlled by women changes spending in ways that benefit children.
4. Educating a girl makes her whole country wealthier
It’s not just a woman’s immediate family that benefits from her education. Studies have shown that when 10% more girls in a given country attend school, its gross domestic product is increased by an average of 3% — which can make a huge difference in a developing economy.
Concern’s work in education
Concern Worldwide has worked to promote education in developing countries for over forty years. During that time we have built hundreds of schools and renovated thousands of classrooms, while supporting millions of children in accessing primary education. Find out more.