The empowerment of girls in education is an essential step towards achieving gender equality and sustainable development. Despite considerable progress in recent years, girls and women around the world still face significant barriers to education.
The Importance of Empowering Girls in Education
Education is a fundamental human right, and empowering girls in education is essential for achieving gender equality and sustainable development. It has been proven time and time again that educating girls has a positive impact not only on the girls themselves but also on their families, communities, and the world as a whole. Here are some facts and figures that illustrate the importance of empowering girls in education:
- According to UNESCO, one additional year of education for girls increases their lifetime earnings by 10-20%.
- Educated girls are more likely to marry later, have fewer children, and provide better health care and education to their children.
- A study by the World Bank found that every year of schooling for girls increases their country’s annual GDP by 0.3%.
- Educating girls is also essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality).
Challenges Faced by Girls in Education
Despite the benefits of education, many girls around the world face significant barriers to accessing and completing their education. Here are some of the challenges faced by girls in education:
Girls from poor families are more likely to drop out of school or never attend school in the first place.
- Child Marriage
Girls who marry young are less likely to attend school, and child marriage is still prevalent in many countries.
Girls are often the victims of gender-based violence in and around schools, which can deter them from attending.
- Gender Stereotypes
Societal expectations of girls can limit their educational opportunities and lead to discrimination.
Inspiring Advice on Empowering Girls in Education
While there are still many challenges to overcome, there are many inspiring examples of girls and women who have overcome barriers to education and made a significant impact. Here are some pieces of advice for empowering girls in education:
- Encourage Girls to Dream Big
Girls should be encouraged to dream big and believe in their own potential. They need role models who have achieved success in traditionally male-dominated fields to show them what is possible.
- Create Safe and Inclusive Learning Environments
Schools need to be safe and inclusive spaces where girls feel comfortable expressing themselves and learning without fear of violence or discrimination.
- Provide Mentorship and Support
Girls need mentors and support networks to help them overcome challenges and stay on track towards their educational goals. Programs that provide mentorship and support to girls have been shown to be successful in increasing girls’ enrollment and completion rates.
- Advocate for Change
Everyone has a role to play in advocating for policy changes and societal shifts that promote gender equality and empower girls in education. This includes parents, teachers, policymakers, and civil society organizations.
Soroptimist/LiveYourDream.org’s Dream It, Be It program empowers girls in the ways mentioned above. It gives girls, ages 14-17, the tools to achieve their education and career goals, empowering them to overcome any gender-based obstacles that may stand in their way, including poverty, violence, and abuse.
Within a safe space, girls learn about topics like self-care, stress management, how to handle peer pressure, how to set SMART goals, and how to move forward after setbacks. They also meet local women who serve as role models and share their career experiences to inspire the girls to dream big.
Empowering girls in education is essential for achieving gender equality and sustainable development. Despite the challenges that girls face, there are many inspiring examples of girls and women who have overcome barriers to education and made a significant impact. By providing girls with access to education, mentorship, and support, we can help them achieve their dreams and build a brighter future for all. Let us all take part in this journey towards a better world for girls and women.
UNESCO. “Girls’ education.” UNESCO, 2021. https://en.unesco.org/themes/girls-education
World Bank. “Girls’ Education.” World Bank, 2021. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation
UN Women. “Girls’ Education.” UN Women, 2021. https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/education/girls-education
About the author: Muhammad Hakim is an English education student at Mataram University in Indonesia. Fluent in both English and Indonesian languages, Muhammad is passionate about enhancing language acquisition and pursuing a career focused on improving the four key skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. As a writer, Muhammad delivers content for articles, blog posts, and social media for diverse audiences.