Across the world, women and girls are the least educated group. That’s a result of a number of factors, including the belief that women don’t need to be educated, economic barriers, and accessibility. However, if all women were educated, it would change a lot of things very significantly. Here are the top ten reasons why education for women is so important:
#1: Reduced infant and mother mortality
When women are educated, both they and their babies are more likely to survive. According to information from the United Nations, the children of educated women are twice as likely to live past 5-years old. As a woman is more educated, the likelihood of her babies surviving goes up. Women themselves are also more likely to survive their pregnancies and deliveries when educated. They have better knowledge of health care, fewer pregnancies, and when women are educated, there are more female health providers who focus on prenatal care, labor, and follow-up care.
#2: Better nutrition
Speaking of children, nutrition is extremely important for development. Women who are educated know more about good nutrition and how to get the support they need. They are also more likely than men to use family resources for their children’s health. According to UNESCO, if women in low and lower-middle income countries finished secondary school, the number of children who are small for their age reduces by 26%.
#3: Reduced rates of HIV/AIDS and malaria
Studies show there is a strong link between educating girls and a reduction in HIV/AIDS cases. If all young adults, including girls, finished their primary education, it could reduce cases of the disease by 7 million over a decade. Malaria cases would also go down in children. If women finished secondary education, the chances of their children getting malaria parasites goes down by 36%.
#4: Less support for terrorism
One of the less obvious reasons for female education is that it reduces support for terrorism and militancy. According to a survey from the University of Maryland, more educated women are less likely to support terrorist activities than men with the same education. On the flipside, women who are uneducated are more likely to support terrorism. This matters because in many extremist groups, male recruits are required to get their mothers’ blessing, and women who don’t support terrorism are more likely to raise children who also don’t support it.
#5: Potential for better income
Poverty is a huge problem worldwide, and women often struggle the most. When educated, a woman significantly increases her options. According to UNESCO, just one year of primary education increases a girl’s future wages by 20%. With better income, a woman is able to better provide for her family and escape the cycle of poverty.
#6: Less human trafficking
Human trafficking is a billion-dollar industry and many victims are girls and women. Uneducated women are the most vulnerable. They are frequently tricked into the industry with promises of better pay or education. If a woman were already educated, she’d have more options and wouldn’t fall prey to the lies of human traffickers.
#7: Better political representation for women
Women worldwide are underrepresented politically. When educated, women are more likely to engage in political conversations and run for office. This balances the scales and ensures that women’s issues are given the attention they deserve. According to research, educating women reduces government corruption and helps institutions work more effectively.
#8: Fewer child brides
Child marriage remains a frequent occurence around the world. The girls who are married off are not educated and left with little to no autonomy. According to research by the United Nations Population Fund, it looks like when girls get 7+ years of education, it pushes her wedding date by four years. Those years are important for her to build her own identity.
#9: Less domestic and sexual violence
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, uneducated women are more likely to experience domestic and sexual violence. This is because they are more likely to be isolated, with fewer financial options. They might be seen as an economic burden, prompting violence, and if they experience violence, they aren’t able to leave because they can’t provide for themselves. This changes when she’s educated and has better income potential.
#10: Stronger economics
When women are educated, a country’s GDP goes up. According to research, if just 10% more women were educated, GDP can increase by 3%. The fact that educated women are also more likely to have fewer children than uneducated women, and those children are healthier, is also good for a country’s economy. A culture of educating women means less population explosion within a country, so it doesn’t buckle under the strain of trying to provide resources for all the people.