Politics, News

This HUGE issue’s holding back half of the world – and we can’t ignore it anymore

There would be 64% fewer marriages if all girls had secondary education.

More than 60 million girls around the world are not in school.

There are thousands of girls and women around the world who need access to education. According to the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, there are still 31 million girls of primary school age out of school. Education could lessen their chances of becoming child brides and mothers. There would be 64% fewer marriages if all girls had secondary education.

It lowers the chance of dying from starvation or malnutrition. Education helps ensure the health and well-being of families by teaching appropriate health and hygiene practices and giving women more power in their homes.

Despite how far women’s rights have come, gender disparities remain in many areas, especially education. There is still a wage gap, with women making only a fraction of what men make for performing the same job. Millions of girls are left uneducated in developing countries all over the world. One-third of girls in the developing world are married before age 18, and one-third of women in the developing world give birth before age 20.

Education is a basic human right, but unfortunately, many girls are kept home instead of being allowed to go to school. Girls are raised to stay home, clean, take care of siblings, and cook. Boys will go to school if families are able to send them if they can, but they too miss out on learning if they are able to work and bring in much-needed income. The boys of the family don’t get married till they are much older, usually to much younger girls.

Privileged people need to stand up for those whose voices have been silenced; to listen to them and help them gain access to resources like education. The chance to study and learn is a blessing everyone deserves to have. It is a privilege to live in a society where education for all is prioritized, and it is the cultural norm for parents to encourage their children to seek that knowledge.

Like many Americans, I know from personal experience that growing up in a family who taught me that my education is the key to everything, and in a culture that fosters my personal growth, is something to be thankful for. But that wasn’t always the case. I lived in Lahore, Pakistan till about the age of three, when my dad decided that me, my sister, my brother and I would have a better chance at a successful future if we moved to America. He and my mom packed up our little family and moved to a country where they didn’t know anyone, had no family and didn’t speak the language.

Part of me misses home, but when I think about what could have been, I know that this move was for the best. There are girls all over the world who have never had the opportunity at a solid education, which is why I can’t waste mine. If education disparity worldwide was more of a concern to wealthier nations, young girls could follow their dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers, teachers, and much more.

As people who benefit from privileges not given to everyone, we have a responsibility to help others.

We must stand up for women and young girls everywhere who want to learn, and be independent and want to accomplish all their goals.