Education has remained one of the most critical ways to empower girls and women. Exposing young girls to basic education is one sure way of giving them much greater power and enabling them to make genuine choices over the kinds of lives they wish to lead. Education is a basic human right as affirmed by the Convention on the Right of the child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Educating the girl child, therefore, refers to all aspect of education and learning that seek to inform, transform girls and women to be better managers, leaders, and professionals in the society.
However, women and girls continue to face barriers to education such as poverty, cultural norms and practices, gender-based violence, limited access to educational facilities and child marriage. In some communities, schools do not meet the hygiene or sanitation and safety needs of girls, as well as teaching practices, are not gender-responsive. According to UNICEF; more than half of the 100 million children around the world not in school are girls. In recent years, the number of girls attending primary schools around the world has grown, but the disparity between the number of girls and boys in secondary school remains high – especially in the world’s poorest countries. Also, UNESCO estimated that 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary-school-age with half of them in sub-Saharan Africa who will never enter a classroom.
Further, giving priority to girls and women to access all forms of education is of countless importance. Educating the girl child result to; improved life, economic empowerment of women, improved health, reduced infant mortality, reduced maternal mortality, quality life, reduced child marriage, decreased malnutrition, increased women’s involvement in political processes, increased in the number of educated children, and reduced gender-based violence.
Furthermore, investing in girls’ education transforms families, communities, countries and the world at large. Having more girls and women educated strengthens economies and reduces inequality, support women to earn high incomes, increase women’s participation in decisions that most affect them, and build better futures for themselves and their immediate communities. Education for girls and women is not only about access to school, but it’s also about girls and women feeling safe in educational setups (schools, classrooms, university campuses) and on their way to school. They equally need to be supported by parents and community in the career and subjects they choose to pursue especially those in which they are often under-represented. Free or low-cost basic education enhances girls’ education especially for families that cannot afford education.
In conclusion, girls’ education contributes to a more stable, resilient society, allowing all persons including boy and men to fulfil their potentials. More girls and women should be encouraged to attend school to ensure gender equality and balance in society.