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Online Contemporary Social Issues
April 3, 2014
Education is Empowerment:
Girls’ Education in Third World Countries
When girls are given access to education, they
become empowered to create their own futures and
have independence over their own lives.
• What the issue is, and the three main causes:
Marriage and Motherhood, Violence, and Poverty
• Who is helping to find a solution: Malala
Yousafzai, and 1GOAL
• What education can allow girls to do and the role
What is the issue?
Girls, mainly those who are living in developing
(Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc.), are
being denied access to education.
1 in 5 girls, or approximately 65 million girls are
out of school today (Because I Am a Girl, 2014).
Instead of going to school, these girls are being
forced into marriage and childhood
motherhood, thrust into violence, or are suffering
Every day 39,000 girls under the age of 18 are
getting married (Plan Limited, 2013).
Girls are often taken out of school for preparation
for a wedding, and once they are wed, they are
not allowed to continue school.
Girls with no education are three times more likely
to marry before 18 than those with a secondary or
higher education (Plan Limited, 2013).
The Effects of Marriage on Girls
Worldwide, nearly 50 percent of all sexual assaults are against girls
15 years or younger (GirlUp: United Nations Foundation, 2012).
Girls who are married younger than 18 have a higher risk of
contracting STDs, and HIV.
Girls who complete high school are 6 times less likely to become
brides (CARE: Child Marriage, 2013).
Marriage should not be an alternative to education. Girls should
be given the privilege and opportunity to better their own
lives, and feel ready for motherhood, as opposed to being forced
“I was broken inside, as my dream to educate myself
remained unfulfilled, and on top of that, I started to doubt
my abilities to change my life.” – Lutfa, a young woman who
was married at 17
7.3 million girls under the age of 18 give birth every year, and 2
million of these births are to girls under the age of 15
70,000 children die every year due to pregnancy and childbirth.
Girls face potential complications for childhood motherhood:
obstetric fistula, and maternal death during birth.
Babies are more likely to be unhealthy, or born prematurely.
Is it really fair that both the mother’s, and the baby’s health are at
risk if a girl is forced to become pregnant as a child?
UNFPA Executive Director
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin says:
"Too often, society blames only the girl for getting
pregnant. The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is
most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but
rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances
beyond a girl's control. It is a consequence of little or
no access to school, employment, quality
information and health care”
(The Girl Effect, 2013).
Violence Against Girls
Most violence against girls is sexual in nature:
1 in 3 girls have an unwanted sexual experience before the
age of 18 (The Girl Effect, 2013).
However, many girls are in fear of violence in their day to
day lives: many avoid going to school for fear of being
kidnapped or attacked, and harassed.
Effects of Violence (UNAIDS: Together
for Girls, n.d.)
Poverty is a downward cycle: many girls face it because there is
not enough clean water, food, money, etc. to go around to
support their families.
Poverty can be described as the lack of basic human necessities:
food, clean water, shelter, healthcare and education.
200 million children suffer from malnutrition, and sadly 3.5
million die every year (CARE: Child Nutrition, 2013).
A girl is more likely to succeed in life if she is not facing poverty!
Effects of Poverty
Malnourished childhood mothers are more likely to
die in childbirth.
Any of these children have an increased risk of
contracting diseases and death.
The impact of poverty is so severe, that in 1000 days
any effects are irreversible.
(CARE: Child Nutrition, 2013).
Malala was 15 years old when she was shot in the
head by a Taliban member during a bus raid in
Malala had been working for the BBC under a
guise, and was journaling about her experiences at
school in Pakistan; the Taliban were targeting her for
Malala was hospitalized in the UK, and became an
She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in
2013, for her efforts in defending the rights of girls to
go to school, but did not win.
“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if
they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to
do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”
- Malala Yousafzai
Is run by the Global Campaign of Education, and brings together
football (soccer), and was created to help uphold the United
Nations’ Millennium Goals of having every child attend primary
school by 2015.
1GOAL was launched at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and has
gained the support of over 200 athletes, and of April 2, 2014, 18
million supporters from across the globe.
They have raised over $4 million to support the goals.
Mission Statement: 1GOAL is a campaign seizing the power of
football to get all children into school and learning. Raising our
voices all over the world we believe that, together, we can make
education a reality for the millions of boys and girls who remain
out of school.
“With your help, we could have billions of fans cheering not just for
their teams, but for one team: 1GOAL. This is our moment to shine;
we can bring millions of children in from the shadows of
ignorance, and light up their lives with the legacy of education.”
- Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah Co-Founder and Global Co-
Chair, 1GOAL, and Queen of Jordan.
What Girls are Capable of
Education is truly empowerment!
If a girl receives an education:
Her income, will be 10-20% higher for every year she completes
of school (CARE: Girls Education, 2013).
If every Ethiopian girl completed secondary school, half a billion
dollars would be added to the country's national income every
year(Eitel, M., 2013).
If 10% more girls attend school, a country’s GDP increases by an
average of 3% (Plan International, 2014).
And so, so much more!
The Role of Feminism
Education allows for opportunity, preparedness, and empowerment.
For girls, the need for education is high: without it, they are
susceptible to harsh conditions, and higher risks of
disease, death, and childhood motherhood.
Women and girls are viewed as ‘lesser’ in society within these
developing countries: their education is of no value to members of
However, girls are capable of so many things! They are continuously
proving that they are the solution.
Educating girls, as aforementioned, allows them to become
stronger, earn significantly more money to support themselves, avoid
violence, and be able to have the right to choose what she wants for
herself, without intervention.
The solutions to this problem are many in numbers, but may not
have the desired immediate effect.
Awareness is the number one way of solving this problem: the
more people who are aware of the unfair conditions that girls
are facing, the more will actually be done about it.
Donations are appreciated, but to companies like The Girl
Effect, or Because I am a Girl, as they are directly helping, and
proving that they are, girls from all developing countries
succeed. Donations of books and school supplies, as well as
money are great!
Sharing is Caring: is an adage which everyone heard as kids: it’s
true - by sharing information and stories to people, more can be
done to fix the problem.
Empowerment: proving to these girls that they are the solution
themselves, but only if they continue through strife and
believing that they have the power to beat oppression!
“If you change the prospects of an adolescent girl on a
big enough scale, you will transform societies.”
- Mark Lowcock
1GOAL. (2010). About 1GOAL. Retrieved from http://www.join1goal.org/about-1GOAL.php
CARE. (2013). Child Marriage. Retrieved from http://www.care.org/work/womens-
Eital, M. (May 2, 2013). Girls are the Key to Solving Poverty: The Girl Effect. Retrieved from
GirlUp: United Nations Fund. (2012). Safety and Violence. Retrieved from
Moloney-Kitts, M. (June 18, 2013). How to Tackle the Root Cause of Violence Against Girls: The Girl
Effect. Retrieved from http://www.girleffect.org/explore/breaking-the-cycle-of-violence-against-
Plan International. (2014). Why Girls? Retrieved from http://plan-international.org/girls/why-
Plan Limited. (2013). A Girl’s Right to Say No to Marriage. Retrieved from http://plan-
The Malala Fund. (2013). Who Is Malala? Retrieved from http://malalafund.org/#section-02
UNAIDS: Together for Girls. (n.d.) Issue. Retrieved April 1, 2014 from
United Nations Population Fund. (December 11, 2013). UNFPA State Of World Population Report
2013: Motherhood In Childhood. Pp. ‘Overview’, 18.