On October 10th, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen while she was on a bus on her way to her home from school. You may have heard this incident either online or on the news. Malala Yousafzai is a young fourteen year old advocate for girl’s education. November 10th, 2012 is officially declared a global day of action for Malala and for millions of girls.
Malala Yousafzai is from the northwestern Swat district in Pakistan. In her district, the Taliban edict had banned and condemned girl’s education. Many schools were burned down or closed by the militant group. Despite the ban, Malala still attended school to learn. She begun as a young activist at age eleven, and she had blogged under a pen name for BCC News sharing her experiences living under the ban. Her dream is to see all thirty-two million girls in her home country of Pakistan to go to school and be educated. Fortunately, Malala survived the assassination attempt. She is currently recovering and is receiving medical treatment in the United Kingdom under tight security. This incident has opened everyone’s’ eyes from top leaders to activists. People are around the globe are finally discussing and supporting girls’ right for education. Malala Yousafzai has been known around the world for her determination to learn and to receive an education in a developing country. Now, she has become the symbol of the movement to push for girls’ education in all developing countries.
It is surprising that even in the twenty-first century, we are still fighting for education to be right, not a privilege for the few. Why is it such a problem that girls are in school and learning? That they are improving their families’ futures? I really do not see any negative consequences associated with learning how to read, calculating equations, or writing. Educating girls is not only beneficial for the girl, but her entire community benefits from it. Here are my top three reasons why girls’ education is a good thing:
1. A woman with education is more likely to have healthier children. Child and infant mortality are big health issues in developing countries. Children and infants in these countries often die due to preventable causes. A study done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Michigan reported that every year a woman increases a grade level, the infant and child mortality decreases. Years of education and mortality are proportional. About fifty-one percent of decline in infant mortality is due to girls’ education. Also, a child born to a mother who can read is fifty percent more likely to survive past age five. Educated women are more likely to have less children, therefore this improves the chances of their children surviving to live past their fifth birthday.
2. An educated woman is able to make more informed health decisions. She will know about family planning and its benefits. She will be more likely to receive maternal health care during her pregnancy. Educating women around the globe can increase contraceptive use by four times to prevent adolescent maternal deaths. Her family will also be overall much healthier compared to other families.
3. If a woman is educated, she will able to bring more economic prosperity at home and to her community. She would be in control of the money and will able to spend the money wisely. She is also more likely to save money than her husband. For example, she is more likely to reinvest 90% of her income into her family. In contrast, her husband will only reinvest 30-40%. When 10% of girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases an average of 3%. Imagine if 100% of girls went to school, how much will a country’s GDP increase?
There are a lot more reasons why girl’s education is a good thing for advancing not only women’s rights but to also enhance the quality of life for her family and community. It is important we advocate now for girls’ education because we cannot have another Malala suffer again.