One of the biggest questions facing our world today is, “How do we empower women?” As has been the case for hundreds of years, women are overall the most disenfranchised group, though significant strides have been made in many areas. However, when you look at the world as a whole, women are still affected most by issues like war and poverty. What can be done? The role of education in women empowerment can’t be overstated.
Education = better livelihoods and less poverty
When women are educated, they are less likely to get stuck in the cycle of poverty. This is because they’ll be able to get the jobs that are out of reach for uneducated women. According to sources, a single year of primary education increases a woman’s future wages by 20%. Education has the added bonus of keeping women out of dangerous situations. Human trafficking, which targets women for sex work, will often find victims who are poor and desperate for opportunities. Traffickers will promise good jobs, only to enslave the women. If women were given better education, they wouldn’t be as vulnerable to these promises.
According to global stats (though exact numbers vary), women are poorer than men. If that changed, it could lift entire economies up. If 10% more women were educated, it could raise a country’s GDP by 3%. Why? Educated women have fewer children, which helps prevent population explosion from draining a country’s resources.
Women’s education saves lives
Women’s education and empowerment is directly related to quality of life. In research from the United Nations, children of educated women are twice as likely to live past 5-years old than the children of uneducated women. These educated women are also more likely to survive their pregnancies and deliveries, as they have more knowledge on nutrition and healthcare. The benefits of education continue as empowered mothers are more likely to raise children with reduced rates of HIV/Aids and malaria. They are also less likely to support terrorism, which claims hundreds of lives a year, depending on the area.
As for domestic and sexual violence, studies show educated women are less likely to be victims. This could be because income opportunities are better, so women can be choosier about their partners, and they’re able to leave if violence begins. It should be noted that this is only true in certain areas and under certain circumstances, and it isn’t as if educated women are somehow invulnerable to domestic violence. Research shows educated women may also be less likely to report violence, so that affects the stats.
Building a better future for everyone
When women are educated, they are more likely to get involved in politics. This has widespread effects that empower other women and girls. More women run for office or work towards their dreams when they see other women achieving it first. More women in politics can also change a culture, so there’s empowerment in more areas than just income opportunities. When women are able to access their power through better education and put their beliefs into action, an entire country progresses.